Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/16/08 at 03:13 PM ET
Today, some interviews with the Detroit Red Wings. Q&A’s featuring coach Mike Babcock, Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom.
Q. A Franzen update? But can you also talk about what this has been like for him for him to be playing as well as he was and then have to watch.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Obviously it’s real difficult for him. It’s part of playoff hockey, though. Things like this happen. You know, the bottom line is you just got to overcome it. Every team gets injured.
I think the hardest thing for the Mule situation is it’s day to day all the time. Doesn’t sound like it was day to day, sounds like it was week to week. That’s what we’re dealing with. He’s not available for the next game.
We’re optimistic, getting prepared to look after the next game, so we can continue to play. Therefore, you’d like to see him back.
But it’s got to be frustrating for him, I’m sure. Drives you crazy. You feel pretty good, and yet you’re not allowed to do nothing.
Q. Your team has always been good at turning the page, not dwelling on a loss. Talk about having to do that.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I mean, if you’re going to be in the playoffs very long, you’re going to lose some games. The other teams are good. They want to win bad, as well. I thought this series has been real fair that way. I thought the team that played the best won their games. I thought they were better than us last game.
So, you know, give them credit. Let’s get prepared.
Q. Obviously in the last game they were focused on your guys in front of the net, specifically Holmstrom. I’m guessing that doesn’t change anything that you guys do.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: No. I mean, we’re going to the net, and we’re going to go there as hard as we can. Never got to the net enough last game. That’s always been our focus as far as getting prepared in one area. That’s what we try to do and we’ll continue to do that.
Q. Do you think a lot of the calls against Holmstrom, some of them, are reputation calls?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Yeah, but I mean last game for sure. It’s over with and done with now, though. We’re moving on. But he’s going right back to the spot. He did it right. Any way you look at it, they’ll do a video this summer, they’ll say, This is how to do it right. They’ll have that clip on it.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about how well Dallas Drake is playing, the importance he is to the team.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: That’s why we signed Dallas. I remember when Kenny called me, he said, Dallas Drake is available, he wants to be a Red Wing. I said, Let’s sign him. Kenny was excited about him.
We didn’t get Dallas to play for the regular season. I think at times this year it probably was hard for him. He has four kids, his wife living in Traverse City. I’m sure she has given it to him a few times about, What are you doing down here and I’m up here driving the kids to activities?
He’s got an opportunity right now. He’s been important. We didn’t give those guys the opportunity last game. We took three penalties in the first period. Dallas wasn’t able to be on the forecheck hunting D down. We had four finished checks in the defensive zone total in the first period. That just can’t happen. That’s what happens when you’re killing penalties.
Q. A couple of your players in the locker room today told us the loss was kind of a reality check to them. They got to where they almost felt invincible. Did you feel you were a little flat last game?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: No, I didn’t feel we were flat. But I think reality checks are real important in life. I think sometimes it’s just natural, you look ahead.
I saw the mirror image. When I watched the game last night on TV, I thought I just saw this game get played. The bottom line is this is a game of hunger and desire and will. If you don’t have enough of it, you’re not going to win.
Q. I don’t think ‘desperation’ is the right word. At what point does the urgency of wanting to get this done, not travel any more, move on to the next round sink in with you and the rest of the guys?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I think it sunk in before last game. No one wanted to be doing this day, I can tell you that. But the reality is that’s the situation we’re in. We’re excited about playing tomorrow. It’s been a good situation for us in the fact we’re coming home to play in our building. We’re excited about it. We think we can be way better. Not ‘think’, we know we can be way better than we were last game. So that’s what we have to do.
I’m not trying to take anything away from Dallas and their effort. But we evaluate what we do. We weren’t good enough.
Q. Homer told me he’s got to lose a little weight but that doesn’t change his approach.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t know if he’s got to lose weight about (smiling). But, no, he’s just going to do what he does. Why wouldn’t he?
Q. What have you felt about Samuelsson, Cleary and Filppula? Do you need more from them tomorrow?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: No, I thought they fit in good with our team last game, which we were all the same. Prior to that, they’ve been excellent. I think they have got good players, they’re playing against good people. I’ve been real impressed with Filppula. Sammy was leading us in finished checks in the first three games. Didn’t get much done last game in that area.
I just think they got to keep going about their business. It’s a grind. I don’t think anyone at the start of the series picked, say, this line here is going to carry the whole thing. That’s not how it works. Datsyuk and Zetterberg weren’t the same as they were the game before. That’s part to do with them, that’s part to do with the other team. That’s just how it goes. That’s what it is in team sport, we have to pick one another up.
Q. Do you change your approach to the Game 5?
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: No. I have to go to the net, do my job around the net.
Q. Do you think there’s such things as makeup calls?
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: I don’t know. I have no idea.
Q. Do you think anybody singles you out?
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: Yeah, sometimes it feels like that, for sure. But I hope not, yeah.
Q. Do you guys almost have to go to the net even more tomorrow?
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: No, we just have to play the same game as we do. It’s not going to change anything. The goal was called, it was a good goal. You know, something happens out there, you know, everything happen so fast. But, you know, it’s bad when it has to happen in the playoffs.
Q. Have you heard enough talk about your backside the last couple days?
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: Yeah (laughter). Campbell’s soup from now on.
Q. You need to lose some weight?
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: No (laughter).
Q. The referee at the time, was he yelling, talking?
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: Yeah, sometimes he yell, You got to get out of the crease. It’s not that easy. You get pushed in. Seems likes defensemen, they can do it more than I can do it around the net. I get pushed in, then it’s my fault, into the crease. Have to see how I get there, too.
I think the goalies are pretty good, too, to fake when they get hit and stuff like that. Of course, they have their blue paint to be in. But, you know, sometimes they fake it well, too.
Q. Do you think they can do anything they want to you or anybody in front of the net?
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: That’s how it’s always been, so… Nothing change there.
Q. (Question regarding rule changes.)
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: Take away the crease rule. I fight for my spot, fight for my space. Sometimes you’re in the crease, sometimes you’re outside. If you’re not sure, why not go upstairs and make the right call?
Q. Do you think that’s something that should be for review?
TOMAS HOLMSTROM: Why not?
Q. (Question regarding home ice advantage.)
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: We are confident playing here. We know we have to show up to play. We have to play a lot better than we did in Game 4 in Dallas, come out with a better effort, try to stay out of the box a bit more, too. Too many penalties in that first period.
Q. Power play has been a little off.
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I think our entry hasn’t been as good as it was the first couple games. They’re playing real well through the neutral zone. Once we get in, I think we had some chances in that last game.
We have to have more motion on the power play. If we’re standing still, not passing the puck around, we have to have some more motion.
Q. What do you have to do going into Game 5?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: We have to play with a little more intensity, especially in the first period. We can’t get our lines going, can’t get the rhythm going with the whole team getting a chance to play. That’s one of the things.
Just come out with a better effort in that first period.
Q. Homer said he has to lose some weight.
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Maybe take just half a step more outside the crease (laughter).
He’s doing a tremendous job in front of there. Sometimes he’s right on the line or borderline. But he’s going to be there. That’s his spot. He’s so good in front of the net. He knows he has to be just outside of that crease, tipping pucks, being there for screens.
Q. With Franzen being out, he has to do more, you need him?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Yeah. I think Cleary is doing a good job, too, when he gets a chance to be in front of the net, do the same job as Mule and Homer is doing. We need to have players in front of the net, too, create some chances and be there for rebounds, too.
Q. We saw in Game 4 how the start didn’t happen for you guys. You paid for it at the end of the third period.
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Yeah, we got into some penalty problems that first period. That backed us up. Couldn’t get the rhythm going with our lines. That’s going to hurt us when everybody doesn’t get a chance to get out there on the ice. That’s something we have to do a better job at.
Q. Could something you need to do better be to find more balance in scoring?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Yeah. You can’t rely on that first line all the time. You have to have other players step up. We had that previous years in the first couple games, as well. You have to find ways to get more pucks to the net, create more scoring chances that way.
I think we have to play better in the neutral zone when they have the puck, too. We let them come through the neutral zone with speed. That makes the D back off. They’re creative when they get a chance to have some time with the pucks. We have to do a better job through the neutral zone, too.
Q. You’ve had some intangible contributions from many players.
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: You can’t expect it to happen all the time for you, but you have to find a way to get back to getting goals, scoring from the other lines, as well, not relying on the top line, but finding some more balanced scoring to back their team off, too. You know you can’t just shut down one line.
Q. Thoughts on finishing this off, getting some rest?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: You want to win in Game 1 and Game 4, too. Playing here at home, we have played well at home. We know we have to come out with a strong effort. Can’t rely on being here, home ice, think that’s going to take care of it. You have to show up and play hard, too.
Q. (Question regarding Dallas playing with a sense of desperation.)
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I think we saw that in Game 4. They came out with a lot more intensity. You could tell they were a desperate hockey team. I’m sure that’s the way they’re going to play tomorrow as well. You have to be prepared for that, match that.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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