Red Wings' defense suffers another blow

11:07 AM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
Detroit Red Wings image from the Associated Press.
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DETROIT (USA TODAY) - Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith won't be back before the middle of February at the earliest.

Smith, a top-four guy, injured a shoulder during Saturday's 4-2 loss at Columbus and was placed on the injured list on Monday.

General manager Ken Holland had told the Detroit Free Press on Sunday that Smith "is going to see a doctor on Monday. Initial diagnosis is he's out minimum 10-14 days."

The Red Wings next play Tuesday against the Calgary Flames. Ian White might be ready to play that game, but if not, Brian Lashoff, called up last month from the minors, is in reserve.

Eight games into the season, the Red Wings already have seen more than half their blue line corps injured in one way or another. Jakub Kindl missed the first three games because of a pulled groin muscle. Jonathan Ericsson missed three games after hurting his right shoulder during a practice mishap Jan. 20. Carlo Colaiacovo hurt his left shoulder in the second game, and is out at least through mid-February. White suffered a deep gash to his left leg Jan. 22.

The injury to Colaiacovo prompted the Wings to bring in unrestricted free agent Kent Huskins; he suffered an upper-body injury Friday on a big hit but was able to play Saturday.

The only ones who've escaped dents are Niklas Kronwall, Kyle Quincey, and Lashoff.

Also Monday, the Red Wings called up forward Tomas Tatar and swapped backup goalies, calling up Petr Mrazek and returning Thomas McCollum to the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Griffins.

Holland said Tatar would play Tuesday in hopes of the Red Wings getting offense from beyond the top two lines.

"Our big guys have produced, but we haven't gotten much from anyone else," he said Monday morning. "Tatar has played real well in Grand Rapids. He had a hat trick. We'll put him in lineup tomorrow night, figure out a way to jump-start some offense. We're hoping he can come up and give us some jump and we can get some secondary scoring."

McCollum hadn't played a minute in relief. No. 1 backup Jonas Gustavsson dealing with a nagging groin injury and Joey MacDonald only just nearing being cleared after a long battle back from a back injury.

"At some point in time, this week, we have to play another goalie beside Jimmy Howard," Holland said. "McCollum has not played any games. He's here and here and here and hasn't played.

"Somebody is going to play a game this week besides Howard. Maybe it's Jonas, maybe it's Joey, maybe it's Petr Mrazek."



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