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Callahan latest Red Wings rookie to debut

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Left wing Mitch Callahan appears set Tuesday to become the eighth Detroit Red Wings player this season to make his NHL debut when the Red Wings face the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Callahan was called up Monday from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, while rookie center Landon Ferraro was sent down.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock hedged in committing to play Callahan in the key Eastern Conference showdown at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets trail the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs by two points for one of the Eastern Conference wild-card spots into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We'll see what's available here [Tuesday], but that's my plan," Babcock said after the morning skate. "He's got some goals in the minors. He's a tough kid. He seems to know how to play. He's a good penalty killer. We're going to watch him, give him an opportunity and see how he does."

Callahan said he was told he would be in the lineup.

"As of right now it looks like I am," he said. "I don't want to jinx anything."

Callahan, the Red Wings' sixth-round choice (No. 180) in the 2009 NHL Draft, has 25 goals and 40 points for the Griffins this season and was excited to see many of his Grand Rapids teammates in the Detroit locker room.

"There's been some familiar faces so it's loosened up the nerves a little bit," he said. "This could be my only game I ever have [in the NHL], so I'll take it all in and try to remember the most I can of it."

Babcock also said right wing Todd Bertuzzi will play after missing the game Sunday against the Minnesota Wild because of the flu.

The slumping Blue Jackets have had trouble scoring, but the one change in the lineup Tuesday will be on the defense when Nick Schultz, acquired at the March 5 NHL Trade Deadline from the Edmonton Oilers, replaces Nikita Nikitin.

Schultz played his first four games with Columbus but has sat the past five after defenseman Fedor Tyutin returned from an injury.

"These are the games you want to be playing down the stretch and giving yourself an opportunity to make the playoffs," Schultz said.

His one assist since joining the Blue Jackets came March 11 against the Red Wings in a 4-1 victory.

The Blue Jackets have lost two straight and are 2-3-1 in the past six games. They have scored six goals in the past five games.

Nikitin leads the Blue Jackets with a plus-12 rating in 63 games. He also has two goals and 13 assists.

"It's a chance to get Nick Schultz in the lineup, a guy who's been around," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "He can provide some new, fresh legs."

Here are the projected lineups for the Red Wings and Blue Jackets:


Johan Franzen - David Legwand - Daniel Alfredsson

Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Gustav Nyquist

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Todd Bertuzzi

Joakim Andersson - Darren Helm - Mitch Callahan

Niklas Kronwall - Brendan Smith

Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Injured: Jonathan Ericsson (broken finger), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Henrik Zetterberg (back), Justin Abdelkader (leg), Tomas Jurco (ribs), Daniel Cleary (knee), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia)


Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Nathan Horton

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

RJ Umberger - Artem AnisimovNick Foligno

Derek MacKenzie - Mark Letestu - Blake Comeau

Fedor Tyutin - James Wisniewski

Jack Johnson - Dalton Prout

Nick Schultz - David Savard

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Corey Tropp, Nikita Nikitin, Matt Frattin, Jared Boll

Injured: Ryan Murray (knee)

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