Variety the spice of life for Lewis
January 22, 2004
BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Sometime in the second period Monday night at San Jose, Kris Draper stepped onto the ice with Henrik Zetterberg.
"Hank's looking at me, 'Who do you have?' " Draper said, smiling. "And then I'm looking at him, 'Well, what position am I playing?' "
Draper played all three forward positions in that game. After the Red Wings were a little flat in the first, coach Dave Lewis shook them up by shuffling his lines and defensive pairings -- more than ever, perhaps. He seemed to send out something different every shift until he settled things down in the third. The Wings responded by outshooting the Sharks over the final 40 minutes, 22-10, though they still lost, 2-1.
"Everyone has to stay alert," Draper said. "You don't know when you're going and who you're going with. I'm sure Lewi's the first one to say that he'd love to get three guys going and keep those line combinations and just roll it. But sometimes it's not there, and he tries to do different things."
Said forward Brendan Shanahan: "Players for the most part like to get used to linemates. But in Detroit we've always shuffled lines around a lot. . . . In a way, it's something that we've gotten a little familiar with."
Former coach Scotty Bowman was famous for shuffling his personnel within games, and Lewis said he learned from him.
"It stimulates them in different ways," Lewis said. "It works."
NOTEBOOK: Steve Thomas (knee) returned Wednesday night against the Mighty Ducks after missing 19 games. Kirk Maltby (leg) stayed in after sitting out Tuesday's practice. Darren McCarty (back) left Wednesday's morning skate early. Lewis said McCarty was just stiff. . . . Boyd Devereaux, Jamie Rivers and Jason Williams were healthy scratches. . . .
Devereaux, Draper, Zetterberg, Mathieu Dandenault and Nicklas Lidstrom visited the set of the television show "24" on Tuesday and met actor Kiefer Sutherland,a hockey fan who has narrated NHL productions featuring them. "The guys are obviously big fans of the show and have kind of been watching it all the way through, so it's pretty neat to just go on set," Draper said.