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Red Wings without several regulars at practice

by Dan Rosen

DETROIT -- Two of the three star players missing from the Detroit Red Wings practice Wednesday are expected to play in Game 4 on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, NESN, FS-D). The other is in question.

The Red Wings trail the Boston Bruins in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series 2-1 after a 3-0 loss Tuesday.

Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk and defenseman Niklas Kronwall missed practice because they were on baby duty. Datsyuk's wife recently gave birth to a girl, and Kronwall's girlfriend was in labor at the time of practice.

Forward Daniel Alfredsson, who missed Game 3 because of an upper-body injury reportedly related to his back, was not on the ice, and Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he did not have an update on the veteran's condition because he didn't ask for one from the team doctors Wednesday.

Alfredsson has not practiced or played since Game 2 on Sunday.

"You know what, I made it a point that I didn't ask anybody [Wednesday] on purpose," Babcock said. "I figured if I didn't ask anybody any questions it buys me until [Thursday] to decide what I want to do first."

Babcock said he would assume Datsyuk and Kronwall are playing Thursday because, "Why wouldn't they? They're not giving birth."

The Red Wings called up defenseman Xavier Ouellet from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to take Kronwall's spot. Injured captain Henrik Zetterberg was skating in Datsyuk's spot in practice on a line with Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi.

Bertuzzi has not played in the series, but his spot on a line with Zetterberg and Abdelkader might be an indicator he could play Thursday.

Here is how the Red Wings skated Wednesday:

Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Todd Bertuzzi

Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco

Johan Franzen - Darren Helm - Gustav Nyquist

Drew Miller/Joakim Andersson - Luke Glendening - David Legwand

Xavier Ouellet - Brendan Smith

Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Missing: Daniel Alfredsson (upper body), Pavel Datsyuk (personal), Niklas Kronwall (personal)

Injured but skated: Daniel Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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