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Cleared to play, Commodore looks to crack lineup

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

To Mike Commodore, it probably seems a lot longer than it has been. But finally, after 30 days, the veteran defenseman was cleared to return to action by team doctors.

Mike Commodore was brought to Detroit to compete for a spot on the Red Wings' third defensive pairing. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

Commodore, who suffered a Grade 1 sprain to his left MCL last month, won’t play this weekend – tonight against San Jose nor Saturday in Minnesota. However, he’d like to make his Red Wings’ debut sooner than later, but he understands that certain obstacles are in the way.

“Hopefully we keep playing well, and if it takes a while for that opportunity then so be it,” said Commodore, 31. “That's fine. I just need to focus on myself and be ready when the time comes around.”

The Wings brought Commodore in during the off-season, signing the 6-foot-4 physical force to challenge for the sixth defensive spot. But in his absence, Jakub Kindl has played admirably while collecting two points with a +3 rating.

This is the first time that the Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, native has had to deal with a knee injury of any kind. He was recently fitted with a brace, which has taken some time getting used to, but for nothing more then piece of mind, he’ll likely wear it for the rest of the season.

“For the rest of the year for sure,” he said, “if not for the rest of my career. I don't actually mind it. First game I'll probably hate it, but it's been fine in practice. Some guys get used to is easily and keep wearing it in practice. Other guys hated it.”

The way the defensive corps is currently playing, cracking the lineup for Commodore won’t be easy, coach Mike Babcock said.

“Commodore's cleared healthy now, he's got to win a spot in the lineup,” the Wings’ coach said. “So the first step's getting healthy always and then you got to take someone's job.”

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