Drew Miller hasn’t played since breaking his thumb against Vancouver on Apr. 20 but, if he’s ready to go for Game 2 on Saturday, Mike Babcock won’t hesitate to put him in the lineup.
“If Drew Miller is in a position to help our team, he’ll play,” Babcock told the Detroit Free Press after Friday’s practice.
Miller missed the final four games of the regular season and Detroit’s eight playoff contests thus far.
The speedy forward isn’t sure how much hand strength he’s recovered, but has been practicing and feels his skating is far enough along that he could help the Wings erase their one games to none series deficit against Chicago.
“I wouldn’t say it’s 100% percent, but I wouldn’t say it’s far off,” Miller said. “I think I can play. I’m comfortable with it. I thought practice today was the big step to see how it was. I got through practice and I felt fine and everything, I had no pain.
“I feel like I was able to perform what I need to perform to be able to play.”
Miller, normally a center, would draw into the lineup as a winger, according to Babcock. It’s likely one of Patrick Eaves or Todd Bertuzzi would be dropped, as both have been skating as fourth-line wings.
Miller had 4G-4A in 44 games this season and averaged close to 14 minutes a night. He’s coming off a solid 2011-12 campaign in which he posted career-highs in goals (14) and points (25).
Miller also has a wealth of playoff experience, having played 42 career playoff games. He also saw spot duty with Anaheim during the Ducks’ Stanley Cup victory in 2007.