Red Wings disappointed with schedule

Updated: May 29, 2009, 8:26 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun |

DETROIT -- With just two full days to recharge before the Stanley Cup finals begin, the injury-riddled Detroit Red Wings were not hiding their feelings about the finals schedule being moved up.

"We're not happy, I have to be honest," Wings GM Ken Holland told from his office Thursday. "We're disappointed that we haven't had an extra day's rest. It's a double-whammy, the quick turnaround and back-to-back games [to open the finals]. We're disappointed because we think when you win a series in five games or less, that you have earned an opportunity to have a few more days of rest.

"But at the same time, we understand and we're not going to dwell on it. Because we don't want to lose our focus with the job at hand. It is what it is. Let's play."

The NHL originally put out a release saying the finals would begin June 5 unless both conference finals were sweeps and then changed its mind mid-stream when it realized a nine-day break would be a killer for fan interest.

Starting the series with back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday and having three games in four nights, when you factor in Game 3 Tuesday in Pittsburgh, will be a tough challenge for the beat-up Red Wings.

Nicklas Lidstrom (lower body), Pavel Datsyuk (foot), Kris Draper (groin), Jonathan Ericsson (appendectomy), Andreas Lilja (concussion) and Tomas Kopecky (orbital bone) all sat out of Wednesday night's clinching Game 5 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Marian Hossa also banged up his right knee Wednesday night.

Thursday's practice indicated that the Red Wings may have some of those players back in the lineup for Game 1.

"I saw Lidstrom today, he's planning on playing Saturday night," Holland said. "That's what he told me. He skated today, he said he felt ok. Another 48 hours he expects to feel better. So we'll see."

Datsyuk, out since Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, also skated again Thursday.

"He's going to be more of a game-time decision," said Holland.

Ericsson did not skate Thursday.

"He was at the rink today, he was feeling a little tender from surgery," said Holland. "Lilja has basically the same surgery earlier in the year, had it on a Wednesday and played Saturday in Nashville. But our trainer said everybody's body reacts a little differently and heals a little differently so we're going to see how Ericsson feels Saturday morning. But he's day to day."

Draper skated Thursday.

"He just wants to make sure when he comes back that he's 100 per cent," said Holland.

Hossa said afterwards he was fine, although his right knee was wrapped up in ice.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer