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March 29, 2004 - Draper makes his case
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Monday, March 29, 2004

Red Wings: Notebook

Draper makes his case

Center, who has ailing left shoulder, is likely to return Wednesday

Wild vs. Red Wings

Face-off: 7 o'clock tonight, Joe Louis Arena

TV / radio: Fox Sports Net, ESPN2, WXYT 1270

Season series: The Wings lead, 1-0.

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DETROIT Center Kris Draper is pestering the coaching staff endlessly, but it doesnt appear as if it will be enough.

Draper wants to return to the Red Wings lineup tonight against the Minnesota Wild. But the Wings are likely to keep him waiting until Wednesday in Columbus.

Im still lobbying, said Draper, who has been out since March 3 because of a partially torn left rotator cuff. But I dont think Ill get my way.

Draper took part in the entire practice Sunday, not holding back from any type of shooting drill.

I felt pretty good, he said. The one thing you cant test is physical contact, and thats something you realize will happen only playing in a game.

Coach Dave Lewis has heard Draper plead his case. Lewis isnt backing down.

I listen to the doctors, not him, Lewis said. Thats (a Wednesday return) probably a realistic time frame.

Getting to play at least two games out of the last four of the regular season is an advantage, Draper said.

To miss five weeks and jump into the playoffs, that wouldnt have been easy to do, although I was prepared to do it, he said.

Draper also will have a chance to add to his 24 goals and 16 assists, numbers that should attract numerous voters in Selke Trophy voting for best defensive forward.

Draper is plus-21, showing he hasnt lost anything on defense while supplying career-high offensive numbers.