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Wings split Pav, Homer for now

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – All good things must come to an end – even for Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk.

For most of the All-Star forward’s 10-season NHL career, he has skated along-side linemate Tomas Holmstrom. While it’s possible that the pair still may be reunited for the upcoming season, coach Mike Babcock is splitting the pair in training camp, which started today, at Centre I.C.E. Arena.

Saturday morning, Datsyuk anchored a new look line, flanked by forwards Danny Cleary and Patrick Eaves. Whether that line sticks, only time will tell, Babcock said.

“The bottom line is we’re going to do whatever we can to help our team be successful,” Babcock said. “Dan Cleary – in our opinion – is a top-six forward on our team. We’ve used Dan Cleary in many ways over the last (few) years; he’s just an easy guy to move.”

Each player brings a different aspect to the line: Datsyuk is a play-maker, Cleary likes to shoot, and Eaves is a hardworking, grinder-type.

The training camp roster (see below) is split into three separate squads with Team Lindsay, Team Delvecchio and Team Howe. Datsyuk’s line is on Team Delvecchio. Meanwhile, Holmstrom is paired with forward Drew Miller and center Cory Emmerton on Team Lindsay.
But if Datsyuk has his way, he’ll eventually be rejoined with Holmstrom.

“I miss Holmstrom already,” Datsyuk said. “I’ve played with him for most of my Detroit career. We’ll see how the season goes.”

Training camp and the preseason are the best time of year to tinker with line combinations and defensive pairings. And while Babcock remains non-committal – with three weeks to go before the start of the 2011-12 season – he has the luxury of having diverse players like Eaves at the forward position.

“Patty’s played on our fourth line. He played a little bit on the power-play when someone’s got hurt,” Babcock said. “He’s been a great penalty-killer for us. … I think he’s become a leader for us in the locker room, in the weight room, with his commitment to doing things right. To me, he’s kind of like a coach, the way he thinks the game, and if we can use his ability, and he can shoot the puck into the net enough for us, maybe he can play with them.”

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULING: The ‘real’ first day of training camp was supposed to be Saturday. But with a large contingent of players, coaches and management attending the funeral for former assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, the original on-ice schedule at Centre I.C.E. Arena was scrapped.

Those players, who attended the funeral, first skated 30-minutes in the morning before bussing to Cherry Capital Airport, where they boarded a charter plane for the flight down state. The funeral for McCrimmon, who was among 44 people killed earlier this month when a Russian jetliner crash among takeoff, was held in Farmington, Michigan.

Coach Mike Babcock said that by attending the funeral, it gave closure.

“I think it was real important for our team,” Babcock said. “When you’re making these decisions with what we’re doing with our training camp, those are big decisions. I’m thankful today that we did what we did, just because I think it’s real important.”

UP NEXT: The Wings will practice Sunday at Centre i.C.E. Arena with all three scrimmage squads returning to the ice in the morning.

Team Lindsay will start off Sunday’s on-ice sessions with a 90-minute practice, which will cover offensive zone entries and special teams work from 9:30-11 a.m. Team Delvecchio will practice entries from 11-11:40 a.m., before taking on Team Howe in a 75-minute intra-squad scrimmage. Afterward, Team Howe will remain on the ice to practice entries from 1:05-1:45 p.m.

Here are the rosters for each of the three intra-squad teams:

Line Combinations
Justin AbdelkaderDarren HelmTodd Bertuzzi
Drew MillerCory EmmertonTomas Holmstrom
Tomas JurcoJoakim AnderssonTrevor Parkes
Brooks Macek – Zach Franko – Nick Oslund
Defensive Pairings
Jonathan EricssonJakub Kindl
Brendan Smith – Mike Commodore
Greg Amadio – Xavier Ouellet
Gleason Fournier
Jimmy Howard, Jordan Pearce

Line Combinations
Danny ClearyPavel DatsyukPatrick Eaves
Jiri Hudler – Ryan Johnson – Fabian Brunnstrom
Willie CoetzeeBrent RaedekeGustav Nyquist
Mitchell CallahanAlan QuineLandon Ferraro
Defensive Pairings
Niklas KronwallBrad Stuart
Garnet Exelby – Logan Pyett
Sebastien PicheRichard Nedomlel
Artem Sergeev
Ty Conklin, Thomas McCollum, Evan Mosher

Line Combinations
Valtteri FilppulaHenrik ZetterbergJohan Franzen
Tomas TatarChris ConnerJan Mursak
Andrej NestrasilJamie JohnsonFrancis Pare
Marek TvrdonLouis-Marc Aubry – Adam Estoclet
Chris Minard
Defensive Pairings
Nicklas LidstromIan White
Brian Lashoff – Doug Janik
Travis Ehrhardt – Bryan Rufenach
Ryan Sproul
Joey MacDonald, Petr Mrazek, Ramis Sadikov

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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