Cleared to play, Commodore awaits opportunity

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com
DETROIT -- Detroit defenseman Mike Commodore (knee sprain) has been medically cleared to return to the ice in game action, according to Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

Now what the 31-year old veteran needs is an opportunity to crack the defensive-pairing rotation. Since he was hurt toward the end of the preseason, Commodore has seen 24-year-old Jakub Kindl play well in his absence as the team's sixth defenseman, paired with 27-year-old Jonathan Ericsson.

Kindl had a slip-up at Washington last weekend, finishing with a minus-3 in a 7-1 loss to the Capitals, but overall has been solid. Commodore, meanwhile, knows he needs to remain patient.

"I've had a couple of good practices lately, which is good because it's been awhile," he said following Detroit's Friday morning skate. "I just want to have good practices and then when the opportunity arises, be ready to go. If it takes a while for that opportunity, then so be it. That's fine."

Commodore is wearing a knee brace for the first time in his career, but said he doesn't mind it.

"I'll be playing with a brace for the rest of the season, if not the rest of my career," he said. "It's fine. I'm used to it now."

His knee is also feeling more stable now than it's been since his return to practicing.

"Every once in a while, if I get extended on that leg … if my weight gets extended out it can be a bit of a pain, but it's a lot better," he said. "It's gotten a lot better in the last week."