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The Return from the Injured Reserve

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How long would Lilja need to play at GR before he was ready and who would they cut, because once he returns from the LT inactive list his salary counts against the cap.

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Forgive me if this is common knowledge but are Kronwall and Holmstrom planning on playing for Sweden if they make it back to the NHL before the Olympics?

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Red Wings welcome Andreas Lilja, lose Kirk Maltby to surgery coming out of Olympic break | - MLive.com

Red Wings welcome Andreas Lilja, lose Kirk Maltby to surgery coming out of Olympic break

DETROIT -- While one Detroit Red Wing's season is ending, another's is just beginning.

The Red Wings will have defenseman Andreas Lilja back on their roster and presumably in the lineup Monday at Colorado, their first game after the Olympic break. But they will not have forward Kirk Maltby for at least the remainder of the regular season because he has opted to have surgery early next week on his chronically sore right shoulder.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Maltby will be placed on long-term injured reserve, which solves the club's salary-cap issues, and Lilja will officially be cleared to play before Monday, which would be his first game in one year and one day.

Lilja suffered a concussion Feb. 28, 2009, on a punch to the chin from Nashville's Shea Weber. If he can regain his pre-concussion form, he would provide a big boost in several ways.

"He brings a dimension with his size (6-foot-3, 228 pounds), he's a good shot blocker and penalty killer," Holland said. "I thought our penalty killing got dramatically worse last year after he got hurt."

Lilja played four games in a conditioning stint with the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins before the break and experienced no issues. He has been headache-free for several weeks and said he is ready to play.

"It's really exciting," Lilja said. "It's been a long journey, but it's a good outcome."

All the Red Wings' 16 non-Olympians participated in their first post-break practice Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.

Patrick Eaves said he is ready to play after missing the past three games with a sprained left ankle. Tomas Holmstrom, who was forced to withdraw from the Swedish Olympic team because of a bone bruise in his left knee, is ready to play, Holland said.

Maltby is not sure when he will be able to play, but estimated he will be out four to six weeks after surgery. He hopes to return for the playoffs.

"It kind of stinks, not how you want to finish a year, but when you can't do certain things and play the way you want to play on a consistent basis, it's something that had to be addressed, whether it was sooner or later," Maltby said. "I ended up playing with it all year. Now that the club's getting a lot healthier, it's an easier decision to do it now.

"Hopefully, there's no surprises when they (operate), which I don't expect there will be, and just take care of business, get it rehabbed as quick as possible, get back into game shape and hopefully be ready to help the team make a run in the playoffs."

Maltby, 37, said he has arthritis in the ball joint and AC joint and a couple small tears in the labrum.

Whether he is able to return for the playoffs, Maltby said he would like to play next season. He is in the final year of his contract.

"I still feel like I can contribute, I can still play. My legs felt great all year," Maltby said. "That's something that will be addressed at the end of the year.

"(His career) is going to come to an end sooner or later. Hopefully, I can plug out another year or so. Right now, I'm going to get the surgery and be the biggest cheerleader for the guys to make the playoffs."

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He's a fan favorite after being here for about 13 years, but I can't say I'd be too disappointed if we didn't bring him back next year. IMO, we've got plenty of guys who can do just as much, and in all honesty they can do more on the ice than Maltby, and they're all younger than Maltby as well.

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