Wings getting Holmstrom back for Game 4

Tomas Holmstrom Holmstrom

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom is
expected to return from an eye injury Wednesday night for Game 4 of
Detroit's second-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.

Holmstrom has been out since April 22, when Calgary's Craig
Conroy hit him with his stick in Detroit's series-winning victory
over the Flames. The left wing had 30 goals and 22 assists during
the regular season, but missed the first three games against the

Holmstrom lost vision in the eye on the night of the incident,
and his sight remained cloudy for a few days while team doctors
evaluated him. He wasn't allowed to skate or work out because the
doctors feared the increased blood flow could cause further damage.

"Of course I was scared," said Holmstrom, who had just one
assist in six games against Calgary. "They didn't know how badly
injured the eye was. They didn't want to get the blood going and
hurt the eye."

Holmstrom, who hadn't decided whether he'll start wearing a
visor, skated Monday in Detroit for the first time since the
injury. Though his eye remains exceedingly dilated and sensitive to
light, the team is confident he avoided serious injury.

The Sharks lead the series 2-1, and Detroit's power play is
1-for-10 without Holmstrom in his usual spot in front of the
opposing net, where he screens goalies, redirects passes and
hassles opposing defenders.

"He's going to help us," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "He
does such a good job standing in front of the net."

An injured forward also plans to return for the Sharks. Center
Mark Smith is expected to be back in their lineup after a patient
rehabilitation from a groin injury.

Smith, who had 13 points in 41 regular-season games, spent the
final two months of the regular season on injured reserve. But the
scrappy forward has a history of playoff success, scoring three
goals in the Sharks' first-round series against Nashville last

"The rest definitely did it good," Smith said of his injury.
"They just wanted it to heal up as good as it can, and then get
out there and use it."

Coach Ron Wilson didn't say who will be scratched for Game 4 in
Smith's favor.

"Smitty will provide some energy," Wilson said. "This series
has been a real grind, and he deserves a chance. He's always played
well in the playoffs."