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Rafalski out indefinitely following knee surgery

by Brian Hedger
DETROIT -- Rather than playing the waiting game, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday afternoon on his knee.
Rafalski, 37, underwent the scope to repair a knee that he originally injured when he was 18. Rafalski underwent back surgery in the offseason, which prevented him from working on his legs in the weight room as much as he normally does. Detroit coach Mike Babcock thinks that might have contributed to the lingering pain.
Babcock didn't know how much time Rafalski would miss, but said following Tuesday's pre-game practice a timetable would become clearer following the procedure.
"He had a little pain and just decided that it hadn't reacted the way it had in the past," Babcock said. "They just decided they need to have a quick look and clean up whatever they need to clean up. They didn't think it (would be) very long, but who knows once they get in there?"

The Wings called up defenseman Doug Janik from Grand Rapids of the AHL to fill Rafalski's spot. Babcock said Janik will be paired with Niklas Kronwall for Tuesday's game against Colorado at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN2, RIS). Janik, 30, has played 174 NHL games over parts of seven seasons after being drafted in the second round (No. 55) by Buffalo in the 1999 Entry Draft.
His experience made him an attractive replacement option for the Wings.
"That was the idea," Babcock said. "We think Janik's a stable D-man who can play in the NHL. He played real well for us last year. He comes up and knows what we're doing."
Janik, who signed with the Wings in July 2009, was pleasantly surprised by the call-up.
"You never know when you're going to get a call," he said. "You never really expect it or know when it's going to come, but I'm definitely excited and ready for it."
Bad blood gone, not forgotten -- The fact that Adam Foote is the lone remaining active Avalanche player from Colorado's 1995-96 Stanley Cup championship team is evidence the bitter rivalry with Detroit is pretty much history.
Memories from those feuds remain fresh in the minds of players from both teams, though -- even if most of the Avs players were just kids watching on TV. The goalie fights between Patrick Roy and Mike Vernon and Roy and Chris Osgood are particular favorites in both rooms.

"I know the history of these two clubs. (My favorite memory) is probably Roy fighting. That was pretty cool to see a goalie fight. Roy was like my hero growing up, so that was pretty cool to see that." -- Matt Duchene

"I know the history of these two clubs," 19-year old Avs center Matt Duchene said. "(My favorite memory) is probably Roy fighting. That was pretty cool to see a goalie fight. Roy was like my hero growing up, so that was pretty cool to see that."
Wings veteran defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who was on the ice for those battles, also is fond of the goalie fights as memories -- along with some other big hits and fisticuffs. Asked what it would take to reignite the rivalry, Lidstrom pointed toward the postseason.
"If you see them in the playoffs and see them every day, that really builds it up quick," he said.
Draper remains day to day -- Wings forward Kris Draper will not be in the lineup against the Avs and technically is on the injured-reserve list with a groin injury.
He skated Tuesday morning and said he could return any time he's called upon after already sitting out the required seven-day period that comes with being put on IR.
"I don't know if I'd call it a setback," he said of not playing against Colorado. "I got another good skate in. I'm still kind of playing catch-up with these guys, missing all of training camp. Every day I'm going out and pushing it and seeing how it responds. It's been good. When I come back, I want to make sure it's not just to come back and play a couple games and aggravate it. I want to come back and stay healthy."
Avs staying motivated -- A season after taking the League by surprise and making the playoffs with a roster full of youngsters, Colorado is out to prove it wasn't a fluke.
"I think people are still saying they don't think we'll make the playoffs, so we can just use that as fuel again like we did last year," said Duchene, a Calder Trophy finalist last season. "At the same time, teams aren't going to take us lightly. We've got to be ready to compete every night."

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