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Kronwall will be game-time decision

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – The Red Wings’ defense may get one of its own back in time for Wednesday’s playoff opener against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Niklas Kronwall skated with the Wings Tuesday afternoon and competed in team drills for the first time since he suffered an upper-body injury in practice last month.

“I’ve been on the ice a few times, but hadn’t skated with the team yet,” Kronwall said. “This was the first time. It felt really good, it felt a lot better than any of the other days. It’s definitely a good positive.”

In his seventh NHL season, Kronwall led the Red Wings in blocked shots (129) for the second time in his career. He also led the team with 36 blocks during the 2009 playoffs.

“You just want to play this time of the year,” Kronwall said. “It’s the best time of the year, and I’m hoping that I’ll feel just as good as I did today tomorrow. I’m hoping I’ll get the nod from the trainers, and from coach.”

 Wings coach Mike Babcock said that a decision on Kronwall will be made following Wednesday’s morning skate.

 “Kronner was real good today, but we always like to see what happens after some time on the ice,” Babcock said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow, and we’ll make that decision at game time tomorrow night.”

TUESDAY’S LINES – Here is what the line combinations looked like for much of Tuesday’s practice:

Pavel DatsyukJohan FranzenTomas Holmstrom
Justin AbdelkaderTodd Bertuzzi – Dan Cleary
Valtteri Filppula – Mike Modano – Jiri Hudler
Kris Draper – Darren HelmPatrick EavesDrew Miller
Nicklas LidstromBrad Stuart
Niklas Kronwall – Brian Rafalski
Jonathan Ericsson – Ruslan Salei
Jakub Kindl – Doug Janik – Brendan Smith
BlACK ACES ARRIVE – Three members of the Grand Rapids Griffins joined the Wings on the ice today. Forward Cory Emmerton and defensemen Doug Janik and Brendan Smith all participated in practice.
Emmerton, 22, was the Wings’ first selection of the 2006 draft, taken 41st overall. He posted 12 goals and 26 assists in 65 games with the Wings' AHL affiliate this season, along with one goal in his two-game call-up to Detroit.
Janik, 31, has played in 20 games with the Wings over the past two seasons. The Griffins’ assistant captain recorded five goals and 17 assists, along with 76 penalty minutes in Grand Rapids.
Smith, 22, has yet to play a game at the NHL level. The Wings’ first-round pick in 2007 played his first professional hockey game with the Griffins this season following his junior year at the University of Wisconsin. Smith, who was a Hobey Baker finalist last season, recorded 12 goals and 20 assists in 63 games.

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