Wednesday, December 03, 2003

GameDay: vs. Anaheim (8-8-4-5), 7:30 EST

Tonight is the much anticipated return of Sergei Fedorov to Detroit and the rematch Wings fans have wanted ever since around 1:20 AM on April 14th. That's about the time the Ducks finished their sweep of the then-defending Stanley Cup Champions in just the first round of the playoffs. These two teams face each other just four times this season and strangely enough, the first two games are in Detroit and the second two are in Anaheim, just as they were for the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals. The Ducks had a slow start to the season but have started coming on lately. Before last night's 2-1 loss to Columbus, they have gotten at least one point in each of their past 11 games, going 4-0-3-4. The Wings seem to have recovered from their own slow start, winning five of their last four games and outscoring their opponents 15-2 in their last three. They are coming off a 2-1 win over the division rival St. Louis on Saturday. Detroit will be looking to extend its third three-game winning streak of the season and win four straight for the first time this year. Manny Legace, who has made three consecutive starts and stopped 66 of 68 shots, will start once again tonight. Dominik Hasek, who declared himself ready to go yesterday, will apparently start tomorrow night in St. Louis. Curtis Joseph was placed on waivers today and if no one takes him by noon on Friday, he will most likely be sent down to Grand Rapids. Ray Whitney skated on his own yesterday morning but will not play tonight or tomorrow. He may be ready for Saturday's game in Toronto, however. Dave Lewis said Henrik Zetterberg would skate on his own today and that he would do light workouts through the weekend. He also said McCarty is "recovering slowly." The Wings sent Nathan Robinson back to Grand Rapids in favor of newly-signed forward Blake Sloan, who they expected to clear waivers today. Surprisingly, the Stars claimed Sloan and he'll be returning to him old team. So the Wings recalled Robinson and he'll be back in the roster tonight. JS Giguere, probably the primary reason the Ducks won that series, is 0-5-1 on the road this year and 1-5-1 all time against the Wings. It is going to be very hard seeing Sergei in a Ducks sweater tonight, after so many years of seeing him wearing the Red-and-White Winged Wheel. I have purposely not watched any previous Anaheim games because I wanted tonight to be the first time seeing him play since he left us. The Detroit News says he expects cheers but I think he'll be a little disappointed in that respect. I used to think I'd boo him and generally be mad at him but now I feel different. I won't cheer him but I won't boo him either (not that I'll be there, so he won't hear me either way) because while I appreciate all that he did in his 13 years here in Detroit, I am still hurt by his decision to leave this city, his team and his fans. I expect the Wings to play a good game tonight. They have a chance at revenge over the Ducks and a chance to show Sergei just how wrong he was to sign with the Ducks. There's no reason why they should slack off tonight and make a poor showing in front of their fans. Hopefully, they'll be able to dominate Fedorov, who'll be sure to be fired up for his first game against his old teammates. It's an important game because we are now tied with St. Louis for the division lead with 30 points and a win tonight would automatically put us two points up on them going in to tomorrow's game because the Blues do not play tonight. These next two games are a great opportunity for the wings to pull ahead by four points. Sources: Freep, News and ESPN


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