Chris "Icewater in his veins" Tanev was demoted today, partially to make room for the pending return of Ryan Kesler to active duty. But truthfully Tanev had a rocky start to the season (looking especially poor in the Detroit loss) and fell out of favor quickly, seeing his ice time sliced down nearly a 1/3 in just three games. In truth it's not all Tanev's fault as the entire defense has been suspect so far, but nevertheless the rookie is currently the most expendable man on the roster (cue Marco Sturm barbs here).
Your new defensive pairings at practice: Ballard/Bieksa, Alberts/Edler and Hamhuis/Salo. We'll check back into what the pairings are tomorrow before the game with the Rangers. That first pairing didn't work out so well in the post season, but it's a brand new Ballard we're looking at now so why not?
Ian Walker had this to share about Kesler's role at practice today:
Judging from Kelser's workload -- back on top unit PP, centering 2nd line -- I'm going to go out on limb & say return is imminent.
Walker was spot on: just a few minutes ago word came down from the scrum that Kesler says he'll play tomorrow. This is excellent news considering how October has started for the team offensively.
For the record, Kesler was centering Higgins and Hodgson at practice suggesting the Franchise won't be bumped to the checking line, but rather Samuelsson will slide down alongside Malhota and Hansen. The odd man out as of now: Sturm.