DETROIT – Mike Babcock hinted Tuesday night, after the Game 2, 3-2 overtime victory against Chicago, that he might return Kirk Maltby to the lineup when the teams meet Friday night at United Center. Most likely, that would mean Justin Abdelkader will sit. But Babcock ducked questions Wednesday when asked about possible lineup changes.
"No, I'll just avoid that until (Thursday)," he said.
Maltby said he's been hitting the weights and the stationery bike to stay sharp. He also said he watches the games from the dressing room. It's too stressful to be around people when he's not playing.
"It doesn't mean you have to like it, but you still have to be professional about it and go about your business as far as being ready," Maltby said. "I've been just as much a cheerleader for the guys when they're playing, regardless of whether I've been in or out of the lineup. So, it's a team effort and everyone is going to be counted on sooner or later. Whether you're in or out, it's up to you to contribute any way you can."
Although Helm and Abdelkader are getting the ice time that might go to Maltby, the veteran is thinking of the Red Wings first, Draper said.
"He's sitting by Helm and Abdelkader and he makes sure he talks to those guys," Draper said. "When he gets in the lineup, he's going to be prepared to go. He's going to be working hard."