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Homer still out; Hartigan in the line-up again

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – Injured left wing Tomas Holmstrom skated on his own Friday morning, but will not be available when the Red Wings host the Florida Panthers on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

It will be the second straight game that Holmstrom will miss with a sore knee that he suffered in the Wings’ 5-2 win last Sunday. Despite the pain, he played more than 16-minutes in Nashville on Monday.

Doctors prescribed three days of rest for Holmstrom. Coach Mike Babcock anticipates that he’ll have Holmstrom back in time for Monday’s game against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

“I saw (Holmstrom) today. He says he’s got all of his Christmas shopping done,” Babcock joked. “He was seeing if anyone else had a list, and he would get ours done too.”

Babcock indicated that Holmstrom’s injury isn’t as dire as the lower back injury that continues to plague veteran forward Kirk Maltby, who has missed the last seven games.

“He’s got his shopping done too,” said Babcock about Maltby. “There’s no sign of him returning.”

Holmstrom will once again be replaced in the line-up by center Mark Hartigan, who was called up from Grand Rapids on Thursday.

Hartigan gave the Wings a 1-0 lead over Edmonton on Thursday when he took a Matt Ellis, beat a defenseman behind the net, stepped out on goalie Dwayne Roloson and popped a shot over the netminder’s glove.

“Ellis made a good play and took a big hit to get the puck in deep and I just tried to keep my speed going,” Hartigan said. “I was hoping that (Dwayne) Roloson would drop his shoulder, and he did. I was aiming for that spot, but I didn’t get it up as high as I wanted to, but it still went in.”

It was Hartigan’s first goal since Oct. 6 of last season when he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I thought Hartigan was good,” Babcock said. “I thought he came and played with some energy. Looks like he’ll be in the line-up again tomorrow, and we’ll see how it goes.”
For Hartigan, returning to his hotel after the game meant returning messages left by family and friends.

“It’s always funny when you get called up you get four or five text messages, but when you score you get 20-25 text messages after a game,” Hartigan said. “I was texting for about an hour last night to all of my buddies back home. . . . Then I checked my email and I got a bunch of those, too.”

Hartigan’s biggest fan is his older brother, Colin, who is a real estate agent in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

“My brother has always been a big Red Wings’ fan and he was almost in tears talking about how I’m kind of in the Red Wings’ history books now,” Hartigan said. “I think he was more excited than I was. He’s a diehard Steve Yzerman, Red Wing fan.”

This recent call-up is Hartigan’s second with the Wings this season. He came up Nov. 29 after Maltby and Kris Draper were injured.

The life of an up-again, down-again player can be taxing. For Hartigan, he’s just taking things in stride.

“I think it’s harder on the wife and the newborn,” he said. “It is tough, but every time you get called up there is a lot of excitement, so you don’t mind the travel or all of the movement. I’ve been getting used to get and I know how to handle it.”

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