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Babcock, snow make Friday's morning skate optional

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT – With the threat of 8-10 inches of snow forecasted for metro Detroit, coach Mike Babcock made this morning’s skate an option for the Red Wings, who host the Colorado Avalanche at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Joe Louis Arena.

There were no fewer than seven players in the Red Wings’ locker room this morning, including forward Kirk Maltby, who said, “There are no snow days in hockey.”

Depending on how well the team plays tonight, Babcock said he’d determine whether or not to give them optional skates when inclement weather is predicted.

“Everything in life is optional,” Babcock said. “You chose to come to work today, right? So did they. It’s just that we have our option after they have their option. We’ll see how they respond and if they respond well it may happen again. And if they don’t it won’t happen again.”

Matt Ellis, Derek Meech, Chris Osgood, Dallas Drake, Brett Lebda and Niklas Kronwall joined Maltby. Kronwall, who is nursing an injured clavicle, did some off-ice training, and did not participate in Friday’s morning skate.

Lebda, who missed Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Phoenix with a sore wrist, will be back in Friday’s lineup.

Dominik Hasek will start tonight against the Avs. Osgood will start Saturday’s game in Boston.

Many of the younger players didn’t view Friday’s morning skate as optional.

“Throughout my career I’ve never been one to take an optional off,” Ellis said. “I understand with what I do it’s an opportunity for me to get better. I was coming here rain, shine, snow or anything else. But that’s the way it should be for us younger guys.

The roads in metro Detroit weren't too bad, said Ellis, who gave himself 20 extra minutes to get to Joe Louis Arena.

“The roads weren’t too bad,” he said. “Obviously, the traffic was a little bit slower and you have to be a little more cautious. But what we’ve been getting here is almost a normal day in Grand Rapids with the lake-effect snow last year.”

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