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HockeytownRules19

Stuart eyes Thursday return

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Guest Howard He Do It?!

I can't wait until Thursday when someone in the GDT says Stuart sucks.

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Guest Crymson

Let's hope very little atrophy has set in, I've heard horror stories about massive weight loss from broken jaws.

I don't think he had his jaw wired shut as Cleary did.

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I don't think he had his jaw wired shut as Cleary did.

Regardless, if it's bad enough to keep you out this long, without playing with a jaw guard, it would have to have extensive damage to the jaw, which would make it extremely painful to eat and chew food.

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DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings are getting a big boost this week with the return of defenseman Brad Stuart, who has been cleared to play Thursday at Tampa Bay (7:30 p.m., FSD).

Stuart has missed 15 games since suffering a broken jaw on Jan. 7 on a hit that resulted in a six-game suspension for Calgary forward Tom Kostopolous.

“Probably a couple pounds (less than before), which isn't a bad thing. (Conditioning) is about as good as it's going to get without being in a game,'' Stuart said. "I feel like I'm ready. Game situation is a little different thing, but it's exciting to get back.

“Probably the first game will be a lot of adrenaline. A lot of times the first game ends up being the easiest. It's the second, third, fourth games you notice (the rust) a little more.''

Stuart will be reunited with Nicklas Lidstrom.

Also, center Mike Modano said he expects to return to the lineup on Feb. 26 in Buffalo. He has been out since Nov. 26, when he tore ligaments in his right wrist when cut by the skate blade of Columbus forward R.J. Umberger.

"That gives me two full weeks of still skating and working out and really being ready,'' Modano said. "I thought about Dallas (Feb. 24 at home), but too many little stories within the big story. Mentally and physically I just want to be ready, start on the road, in Buffalo.

“Probably a lot of distractions (vs. Dallas, his former team) for the first game back. You think with your head more than your heart, so that would be the smart issue.''

The team got in a 45-minute practice prior to flying to Tampa to start a two-day trip (they play at Florida on Friday), the club's sixth annual fathers/mentors trips.

Here are the lines they skated with:

Franzen-Zetterberg-Bertuzzi

Hudler-Datsyuk-Cleary

Draper-Helm-Eaves

Miller-Abdelkader-Holmstrom

Lidstrom-Stuart

Ericsson-Rafalski

Kronwall-Kindl

Ruslan Salei will join the team in Tampa, after taking a few personal days. Center Valtteri Filppula (sprained left MCL) hasn't resumed skating yet. He is going on the trip and might get into a practice, but he won't play until next week at the earliest.

Howard (starting Thursday)

MacDonald

Apparently he said he only lost a couple pounds which is awesome news, and Flip could be back next week. Things are really starting to look up right now, hopefully the Wings keep playing the way they played against Boston.

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