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March 4, 2004 - Dandenault and Draper join list
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Dandenault and Draper join list

March 4, 2004

BY HELENE ST. JAMES
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

The Red Wings lost forward Kris Draper and defenseman Mathieu Dandenault in a span of about eight hours Wednesday.

Draper will be sidelined a month after suffering a partially torn left rotator cuff when his stick clipped goaltender Curtis Joseph's mask in drills during a morning skate.

Dandenault suffered a broken right foot when he was hit by Robyn Regehr's shot 14:30 into Wednesday's game. Dandenault won't need surgery, but he'll wear a full cast and miss up to six weeks.

Coach Dave Lewis responded by inserting Mark Mowers into Draper's spot between Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty against Calgary. Defenseman Chris Chelios is ready to return from a sore shoulder, so he can take Dandenault's spot Friday against Vancouver.

Injured Wings also include Joseph (ankle), and defensemen Jason Woolley (back) and Niklas Kronwall (leg). Defenseman Derian Hatcher (knee) will return next week.

"We've got depth," Lewis said, "but you don't want to keep depleting it, because sooner or later, you'll run out."

What made Draper's injury frustrating was how it happened. Joseph called it "strange." He didn't think Draper was going to get another pass, and by the time he realized it, Draper was winding up for a one-timer.

"I put on the brakes a little bit, but his stick caught my mask," Joseph said.

Draper hadn't missed a game since Jan. 24, 2001, a stretch of 260 regular-season games. He has a career-high 24 goals among 40 points, leads the club with a plus-22 rating and is second in the NHL with seven shorthanded points.

Maltby spoke briefly to Draper after the accident. "He seemed a little upset about it," Maltby said.

Said Lewis: "You hate losing guys like that, and it seems to coincide with a lot of the injuries we've had this year -- they're not short term; they seem to be long term."

Defensemen Jamie Rivers and Jiri Fischer also blocked shots against the Flames, but they appeared to be OK.

For all the dreariness Wednesday, there were good moments for the Wings. In the third period, Mowers picked up Maltby's drop pass, threw the puck around defenseman Jordan Leopold, drove to the net and roofed a backhander past Roman Turek's glove side.

"It wasn't something I planned on doing," Mowers said. "I was just trying to get it on net. It was one of my better goals I've ever had, I would say."

Mowers was called up from Grand Rapids in mid-November to offset injuries, and has endeared himself to teammates and coaches with his hard work. They were happy to see it pay off with the game-winning goal in the 2-1 victory.

"Mo's been a big part of the team this year," goalie Manny Legace said. "He's played huge for us."