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Minus White, Babcock calls Wings defense ‘best group that we had all year’

Mar 1, 2013, 2:13 PM EST

Ian White Getty Images

It doesn’t sound like defenseman Ian White is on the verge of returning to the Red Wings’ lineup.

White has been a healthy scratch the past two Detroit games — a 2-1 loss Wednesday in Los Angeles, followed by a 2-1 shootout win last night in San Jose.

Meanwhile, Wings coach Mike Babcock is liking what he’s seeing from his blue-liners.

“I liked the fact that the D was big,” Babcock said, per MLive.com. “They could skate and they went back and got pucks and paid the price to move it and get it out. Did we make some mistakes? Absolutely. But I thought it was the best group that we had all year.”

That “best group” was as follows: Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff.

Even worse for White’s prospects of getting back into action, Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) could reportedly be cleared to play by Sunday.

White, 28, is in the final year of a two-year, $5.75 million contract.

Detroit hosts Chicago Sunday afternoon (on NBC).

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