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Henrik Zetterberg a game-time decision for Red Wings in all-important Game 4

Harrison Mooney
Puck Daddy
NHL: Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings
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Jan 31, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) skates with the puck against the Washington Capitals at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Detroit Red Wings are bursting with new life in advance of Game 4.

On the ice, Henrik Zetterberg appears set to return, as coach Mike Babcock has him on the lineup sheet for Thursday night's pivotal contest.

"When I asked him this morning he said he's going to the doctor," Babcock said. "Because we were even talking about it I put him on a line, put him on a power play. The doctors decide, not me. I'm hopeful, but who knows. We'll know at game time, after warm-up."

If he goes, he'll be a welcome addition to a Red Wings' forward corps that's trying to stave off a 3-1 hole to the Bruins before the series returns to Boston. 

Zetterberg, who hasn't played hockey since he suffered a back injury at the Sochi Olympics that required surgery, could line up alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen. How much of an impact he'll be able to have in his first game back remains to be seen, but any boost is a welcome one. The Red Wings looked overmatched in Game 2, and they looked severely overmatched in Game 3, outpossessed handily by the Bruins. If Zetterberg can help them have the puck a little more, he'll have contributed immensely.

Same goes for Todd Bertuzzi, who comes into the lineup in place of Tomas Jurco.

Babcock knows the Bertuzzi move is a gamble. "We're taking out Jurco," he told the Detroit Free Press, "who's got great speed and plays real well. Why would you do that? That's a great question. I asked myself that 100 times yesterday and then, just before I was trying to fall asleep, I started thinking about it again, so then I didn't sleep proper. I don't know. I'm trying to do the right thing."

So that's the on-ice new life. Off the ice, both Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall spent Wednesday's practice away from the team dealing with family matters. Datsyuk's wife just gave birth to a baby, and Kronwall's is nearing the finish line as well.

After that practice, Babcock seemed confident that both his best forward and his best defenseman would be back for the game. "They're not giving birth," he quipped. "Their wives are."

On Thursday, however, he issued an apology for the remarks after being chided by his wife for being flippant in regards to the miracle of life.

"Just before we get started," Babcock told the assembled media, "I got an e-mail from my wife saying I'm not allowed to say the things I did yesterday about giving birth. So I apologize."

Apparently, one of Mrs. Babcock's friends tipped her off to what he said. According to Babcock, the new rule regarding these types of comments is, apparently, "talk to me first".

We now know the division of labour in the Babcock household. Lineup decisions are his. Childbirth quips are hers. Seems about right.

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