PITTSBURGH — Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom is still a game-time decision for tonight's Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Penguins.
Holmstrom participated in this morning's skate, but he’s still suffering from a hamstring injury, which came courtesy of a Hal Gill can-opening hit late in Game 3 on Wednesday.
“From the beginning, I was stiff,” Holmstrom said after the skate. “It went better the longer I skated and got warm.”
How did he look out there?
“Normal. Slow paced, though,” forward Dan Cleary said, cracking a grin. “I haven’t spoken with him, but I certainly hope he’s ready to go.”
Holmstrom received treatment after the skate, leaving reporters waiting for over an hour after he left the ice.
By playing, there is a possibility that the injury could worsen — hence the caution by Holmstrom and team trainers.
“That’s a little bit of concern right there,” Holmstrom said. “That’s why we try do the smartest thing and then figure out for game time.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock reiterated Holmstrom’s wait-and-see approach.
“He's going to come back for the game tonight, see how he feels,” Babcock said. “If he's ready to go, he's playing. If not, obviously he'll be scratched.”
Holmstrom shrugged off the possibility of suiting up just to be played in a limited role. If he can’t go, Darren McCarty will likely be his replacement in the lineup, and Cleary would move up to the top line.
Still, Holmstrom has seen a big improvement from Game 3, when he missed the last six minutes after the Gill hit. Holmstrom attempted to skate during the commercial breaks late in the third period, but couldn’t return.
“There’s no way when I hurt myself I could go out there,” Holmstrom said. “I couldn’t skate, really. So it’s been a big improvement for sure.”