The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/09/11 at 06:13 PM ET
Updated 8x at 11:22 PM: Red Bird II landed at Metro Airport at 3:30 PM EDT, and the Red Wings exited the plane, spoke to the media and headed home to prepare for Game 6, and the news regarding Johan Franzen, via Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji, isn’t exactly a surprise:
Johan Franzen was only talking to someone on his cell phone, not to the media, as he left the private hangar at Metro Airport. Franzen’s status remains up in the air after he was unable to play in the third period Sunday night after tweaking his injured left ankle.
“I don’t know, I’m not going to worry about that much,” Babcock said. “We’ll see what happens. If he’s not ready to go, we’ll put (Mike) Modano in.”
That decision may not be made until the pre-game skate tomorrow, but if Modano has to play, Nicklas Lidstrom told Wakiji that the Wings are fully confident that Modano can bring significant offense to the table:
“If that’s the case (Franzen can’t play), Mo’s got a lot of experience,” Lidstrom said. “When he had a chance to play in Phoenix, I thought he played real well. He had a lot of jump, he used his speed and if he’s in, that’s what we expect from him, too.”
Pavel Datsyuk also offered reassuring news regarding his sore left wrist…
“What wrist? I’m OK,” Datsyuk said. “At playoff time, nobody have injuries. Everybody still plays. This is like, why NHL good.”
And the Wings mostly talked about their optimism while approaching a must-win Game 6 tomorrow at the Joe:
“We’re still down in the series, even though we won two games,” captain Nick Lidstrom said. “We’re still down. We still have an uphill battle to face. That’s been our approach. You’ve seen a lot of momentum swings back and forth, even in the game last night.”
“It’s kind of a like another Game 7 for us,” Kronwall said. “We can’t think further than that. We know we have to come out and put all the energy and all the effort we have into Game 6 to be able to play another game.”
Update: The Wings’ website just posted a few photos of the Wings’ tarmac interviews to their playoff photo gallery;
• The Free Press’s Helene St. James took note of a Babcockian guarantee...
As exhausting as such travel is, the Wings are eager to make a return trip to San Jose on Red Bird II.
“Oh, we’re getting on it,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said this afternoon.
First, they have to win at home Tuesday night. They still trail the second-round playoff series against the Sharks, 3-2.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Every game is Game 7 for us now.”
The Wings may play Game 6 without forward Johan Franzen, who reinjured his ankle during Sunday’s game and didn’t play at all in the third period. The Wings expect to have a better handle on Franzen’s health Tuesday morning. Mike Modano is on standby if Franzen can’t play.
“I’m not going to worry about that much,” Babcock said. “We’ll see what happens. If he’s not ready to go, we’ll put Modano in.”
• The Detroit News’s Chris McCosky confirms that Franzen’s suffering from a “tweaked” ankle suffered when Joe Thornton pitchfored Franzen into the boards...
Coach Mike Babcock had no further update Monday on the status of Red Wings forward Johan Franzen. Franzen tweaked an already-injured right ankle during the Wings’ 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal series. He did not play in the third period.
“We’ll see where Johan is (Tuesday morning),” Babcock said Monday. “But if he can’t play, we’ll go with (Mike) Modano.”
Modano has played in just one game this postseason, in the first round against Phoenix.
• Amongst Wings social media director Jake Duhaime’s Tweets:
News crews are waiting for the Wings flight to arrive from San Jose. http://t.co/L1s00wT
Babcock is first off the plane. http://t.co/HHg97qj
Babcock with praise for his defense, Zetterberg and Datsyuk, as well as Howie for keeping them in the game.
Zetterberg talks to the media. http://t.co/HFw9XSO
Lidstrom: We’ve seen a lot of momentum shifts in this series and even within games. Our goal is to be relentless in Game 6.
Pav answering questions from Jennifer Hammond. http://t.co/TzmTA5p
Abdelkader: The crowd really willed us to a victory in Game 4, we’re hoping they can have that same type of impact in Game 6.
http://twitvid.com/UUMRD - Footage of our plane landing at DTW.
Update #2: Here’s the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s tarmac report:
If Johan Franzen (ankle) is unable to play in Game 6 Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena, Mike Modano will be inserted into the lineup according to Wings coach Mike Babcock. When asked after the Wings arrived back in Detroit Monday afternoon about Franzen’s status for Game 6 Babcock said, “I don’t know. I’m not going to worry about that much. We’ll see what happens. If he’s not ready to go, we’ll put Modano in.”
Franzen has been bothered by an ankle injury he suffered in Game 2 of the Wings’ opening round series with the Phoenix Coyotes. He didn’t play at all in the third period Sunday night in San Jose.
Modano has been in a healthy scratch in all but one game this postseason. He replaced Franzen in the lineup in Game 4 against the Coyotes and recorded an assist.
“We have the players who can come in and play good hockey,” Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “We have a lot of good depth.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said “we’re getting on it” when asked if he hoped to get back on plane for Game 7 in San Jose
Babcock says Modano will play if Franzen can’t.
The beginnings of Lage’s off-day report have already hit the wires:
The Detroit Red Wings are back home and liking their chances against the San Jose Sharks.
When asked Monday if he hoped to get back on a plane for Game 7 in San Jose, Detroit coach Mike Babcock said, “We’re getting on it.”
First, the Red Wings must avoid elimination again with a victory Tuesday night in Game 6 of this Western Conference semifinal. Babcock says Mike Modano will be in the lineup if Johan Franzen isn’t healthy enough to play.
Detroit has won two straight games, including a comeback 4-3 victory Sunday night on the road. The Red Wings are trying to become the fourth NHL team to win a series after losing the first three games.
Wings landing at the airport http://lockerz.com/s/100273211
Mike Babcock getting off the plane http://lockerz.com/s/100273456
Ken Holland grabbing his luggage http://lockerz.com/s/100273618
Nick Lidstrom taking to the media http://lockerz.com/s/100273795
Henrik Zetterberg just off the plane takes time to talk with the media http://lockerz.com/s/100273985
Mike Babcock was not sure if Franzen could play but said Modano is ready if needed.
Nick Kronwall has landed http://lockerz.com/s/100278620
• MLive’s Ansar Khan filed the following tarmac report:
The status of Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen remains in doubt for Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks. Franzen didn’t play in the third period of his team’s 4-3 win on Sunday due to an ankle injury that’s hobbled him since the first round of the playoffs.
Coach Mike Babcock said he doesn’t know if Franzen will be ready but has decided that Mike Modano, not Jiri Hudler, would be his replacement.
“I’m not going to worry about that much,’’ Babcock said. “We’ll see what happens. If he’s not ready to go, we’ll put Modano in.”
Modano has appeared in only one playoff game—Game 4 vs. Phoenix. Franzen has no points in this series and isn’t able to skate like he normally does.
“He has to be better than he was (Sunday) because he wasn’t able to finish the game,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “Modano is chomping at the bit.”
Update #3: No comment;
• Also, no comment;
And EJ Hradek rambled about Pavel Datsyuk on NHL Live:
• Cool: the Jackson Citizen-Patriot’s Zeke Jennings reports that Jackson’s Michigan Theatre will broadcast Game 6;
• Technically speaking: ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun: Patrick Marleau blah blah blah; Ray Ratto: if the Sharks lose game 6, panic panic blah blah blah;
• Alanah posted a very spiffy interview with Jimmy Howard regarding his mask;
• Via Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, Patrick Marleau, Jeremy Roenick, blah blah blah:
And Late Night Confidential makes its return:
• Via TSN, Marleau and the Sharks weigh in, whoopdeedoo, and Joe Thornton very simply told the media, “It doesn’t matter. We’re in control of this series: we’re going to win one game and advance.”
• The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch is still peeved that the Sharks didn’t sweep the Wings, so he offers five suggestions so that he and the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell can book their flights for Vancouver:
1. TAKE THE CROWD OUT OF IT: The Sharks have been outscored 13-5 in the first period of their playoff games this spring. That has to stop Tuesday night if they’re going to stand a chance of winning this in Game 6. Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart said he has never heard the crowd at Joe Louis Arena as loud as it was Friday night in Game 4. The Wings fans are raucous and the Sharks have to find a way to take energy out of the building. Getting the first goal, and more, is key.
3. GET TO JIMMY HOWARD: Might be time for the Sharks to bring back the old snow-showers tactics. They did it in the first two games and were successful in frustrating the Wings and goalie Howard. Nobody liked Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and others spraying Howard with ice chips in the crease when they were battling for loose pucks. For the most part, the Sharks have stopped doing that and they’ve lost a bit of an edge. San Jose has to get back to the point of making the Wings frustrated.
5. FORGET WHAT HAS HAPPENED: The Sharks have to put their Game 5 meltdown behind them, and quick. They were the better team for 40 minutes, they had lots of chances on Howard and just didn’t score. They can take a few positives from that game, but they have to clean up their act in their own end. Goalie Antti Niemi wasn’t at his best. He faced only 22 shots and allowed four goals. He can’t take all the blame, as the Sharks did get running around in their own zone. Closing this out in Detroit isn’t impossible for San Jose.
Neither impossible nor improbable, but snow showers? Really? The media insisted that it pissed off the Red Wings. Howard played damn well when he was snowed and he simply took out his frustrations on the Sharks’ players—and his timing was good when he did it, too.
• And NHL.com’s Brian Hedger filed a tarmac report as well:
Standing in front of the team plane, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was asked how much he wanted to get back on it Wednesday for a return trip to San Jose to play a Game 7 at HP Pavilion.
“Oh, we’re getting on it,” Babcock said, matter-of-factly.
Detroit General Manager Ken Holland was only slightly less confident when asked the same.
“That’s what’s got us to this point,” Holland said. “When we were down 3-0, nobody wanted to go home. We plan to be flying back for Game 7.”
“There’s a calmness,” second-year goalie Jimmy Howard said of Detroit’s mood when falling behind 3-0 in the series. “There’s a lot of experience in our dressing room and when your leaders have been through a lot, you just look to them. When you see (Lidstrom’s) face and see how calm he is, it just trickles down.”
When asked about getting back on the plane for a possible Game 7 in San Jose, Datsyuk looked at the plane, smiled and said: “Of course … I’m happy. Have good seats there.”
Update 3.5: Here’s Griffins GM Bob McNamara speaking to WBBL’s Huge Show:
Update #4: Here’s Bob Duff’s take on Pavel Datsyuk’s exchange with the media:
“At playoff time, nobody have injuries,” Datsyuk said. “Everybody still plays. This is like, why NHL is so good.”
He is like, why the Wings weren’t coming home on a morbid final flight Monday. Down 3-1 in the series and on the scoreboard early in the third period Sunday, Datsyuk stepped up his game and reopened the debate as to where he ranks among the world’s greatest players. Most hockey people will still put Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby at the top of that list, concussion or no concussion, but with Crosby out of action and Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin banished to Slovakia for the world championship, the Stanley Cup has been Datsyuk’s show to steal. And he’s making off with it like a bandit.
“He doesn’t look hurt to me,” suggested Henrik Zetterberg, Datsyuk’s teammate and frequent linemate.
The Wings met the media Monday at Detroit Metro Airport, in the hangar where their private plane, Redbird One, is stored.
“I’m looking forward to playing again with our fans,” Datsyuk said of tonight’s Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena. “It’s nice, exciting that we’re still alive. Right now, we’re just looking to win one game and then fly back to San Jose.”
Datsyuk was among the players who advised the airline staff to get the plane serviced and ready for that Game 7 return trip.
“Of course,” Datsyuk said, pointing toward the plane. “I have good seats there.”
• And I’m not buying into the Franzen-versus-Modano-versus-Babcock drama that Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon is selling. As Ken Holland suggested, it’s not just Babcock or Franzen’s decision here, and as Babcock has repeatedly suggested, this isn’t personal when it comes to benching a player who Babcock says is tremendously difficult for him to tell he’s not playing.
Update #5: Oh goody, more from Garrioch:
The question remains as this series rolls on: Do the San Jose Sharks lack a killer instinct? Having jumped out to a 3-0 series lead against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinal, the Sharks had hoped to be resting and relaxing by now.
But instead of shaking hands Sunday night, the Sharks were left shaking their heads after a 4-3 loss to the Wings in Game 5. Both teams boarded planes bound for Detroit Monday to prepare for Game 6 Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.
The Sharks had a two-goal lead in the third period, looked like they were sitting pretty and then let it slip away to give the Wings new life. Suddenly, the Sharks are clinging to a 3-2 series lead and nothing is written in stone.
“We worked hard all year to prepare for these moments,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Monday. “When you are up 3-0 you expect to feel like you want to win it in Game 4 and Game 5, but when you revert back to the beginning you expected a six- or seven-game series. That’s what we have.
Read: Garrioch was hoping to be resting and relaxing;
• From the Mercury News’s Tim Kawakami:
Oh yes, there’s now a Game 6 in Detroit on Tuesday. There is no way the Sharks want this to get to a Game 7 back here-not with Jimmy Howard capable of shutting them down again, and certainly not with Datsyuk and Zetterberg ready to fire it up again.
The Sharks want to end it Tuesday. Maybe have to end it Tuesday. And my point is that it’s not on Marleau-the Sharks have been better the last few years because they’ve stopped being dependent on him (or Joe Thornton, for the most part).
They can win Game 6 and I actually think they will win it. And they can do it without Marleau being dominant or even scoring, though I do believe the Sharks will be happy if Marleau gets off the goose egg on Tuesday.
• And in the “FYI” department, the Western Michigan Youth Hockey Examiner’s Cean Burgeson reports that the Grand Rapids area has been awarded an AAA hockey program, the Michigan Nationals, whose directors include former Grand Rapids Griffins captain Travis Richards, and via the Grosse Pointe Patch’s Lucy Ament:
Two Grosse Pointers—one a professional hockey employee—are preparing to open a specialized hockey services and goods store in Grosse Pointe Woods later this month. Opening May 23, Precision Blades is the brainchild of Paul Boyer and Tom Gebeck Jr. Boyer is the head equipment manager for the Detroit Red Wings and president of the Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers. Gebeck, Jr., is an orthodontist practicing in Birmingham who is the son of longtime Grosse Pointe orthodontist Tom Gebeck, Sr.
Update #6: Boy howdy, have these stories rolled in. I’m sorry for the initial delay—I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for 3:30 PM as Flightaware.com’s Red Bird II page suggested that the Wings would land at 4:30 PM EDT, and the Wings landed at 3:30 instead. I had to go out the door and keep my appointment, so the Franzen update came about 45 minutes late.
Anyway, here’s DetroitRedWings.com’s Michael Caples’ Datsyuk story:
Datsyuk leads the Wings in face-offs this postseason, having taken 139 in the first eight playoff games. However, the veteran forward insisted that he is fine, and anxious to get to Game 6.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’ll be nice to play again with our fans, it’s nice, it’s exciting, and we’re still alive.”
Zetterberg took 25 face-offs in Game 5, after only taking 51 in the first four games against the Sharks. However, Zetterberg said it wasn’t a big deal that he carried the majority of the face-off responsibilities, taking more than 42% of the 59 total draws.
“Well, actually I didn’t even know that he didn’t want to take face-offs yesterday,” said Zetterberg, who won 16 of 25 face-offs Sunday. “So, I don’t think that had anything to do with it actually. If I play center, I take the face-off.”
Wink wink, nudge nudge…
• And here’s Caples’ story about the Wings’ day-after take on Game 5:
“We didn’t play as well as we had to against a good team like the Sharks in the first two periods,” [Nicklas] Lidstrom said, “and [Jimmy Howard] made some big saves and kept us in the game. We really rallied around him in the third period.”
However, Howard was giving all the credit to the veterans in the Wings’ locker room for getting them back into the Western Conference semifinals series – most notably to his 41-year-old captain.
“There’s a calmness,” Howard said. “There’s a lot of experience in our dressing room, when your leaders have been through a lot, you look to them and when you see Nick’s face and how calm he is, it just trickles down.”
And it’s intercepted to some extent by Zetterberg and Datsyuk…
“I thought Zetterberg was great all night long,” Babcock said, “but I thought Pavel really got involved in the third period, and it was great to see it happen.”
“I think we showed that we’re not giving up,” Lidstrom said. “We’re digging in and clawing, and doing whatever we can to score goals or stay in the series, and that’s really what showed up in the third period last night.”
“I think we said the same thing after our Game 3 loss, ‘We have to win a game,’ ” Babcock said. “That’s what we have to do again tomorrow. We’re excited to be coming back. We had a real good third period the other night; we’ve had a lot of good games. I think we should have won Game 3, and they could have easily won Game 5, so I think we all kind of deserve what we got, and here we are.”
Aaaaand, via the Wings’ website, here are Lidstrom, Zetterberg and Babcock’s comments to the media:
Update #7: Via the Sharks’ website, here are the coach and players “travel day” comments:
• Garrioch had to get in on the Roenick-Marleau tiff. Remember Roenick’s insistence that Chris Chelios was feuding with Mike Babcock when the Wings and Hawks tangled in 2008? Yeah, this is like that. Bunk and somebody holding a grudge against an ex-teammate. Whoopdeedoo. Ditto for yet another CSN Bay Area video;
• Shifting focus back to the Wings, WXYZ just posted its Wings tarmac video…
• And the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell took the dueling quotes approach:
“We’re confident,” said Sharks forward Joe Thornton, who has seen San Jose’s 3-0 series lead trimmed to 3-2 following Sunday’s 4-3 home loss. “We’re a very confident team. We played well. We’re still feeling good about ourselves. Yeah, it’s a tough loss, but we have to go into Detroit and win like we’ve done in the past.”
However, one cannot call upon history as a source of confidence on one hand while ignoring the failures of post-seasons past on the other. Dominant through two periods, leading by two goals with a little more than 16 minutes left in the third period, the Sharks looked like a team ready to move on. Instead, after a shocking third-period collapse, San Jose has left the door open to questions about whether they’ve learned how to win.
“They’re still in the driver’s seat,” Detroit’s Dan Cleary said. “We understand that, but we’re going home with a chance to force it. They believe they can win at the Joe, so we got to go in and use the advantage of last change, our fans, the atmosphere.”
“Giving up two-goals leads is tough, especially in the third period,” San Jose’s Joe Pavelski said. “That’s why we play the game. We’ve been on the other side of it and it feels good. It’s a bounce here or there and we’ve got to find a way to win.”
That lament sounds suspiciously like what the Wings were clinging to heading into Game 4 after the wreckage of losing the first three games of the series. The onus is now on the Sharks to regain the momentum in the face of a team that simply has proven more desperate when the game has been on the line in the past two third periods.
“Just says a lot about the nature of the room,” said Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who has clearly raised his game in the second round. We have that presence, guys with a lot of leadership. Nick (Lidstrom) never gets riled and I think that trickles down through the team. There’s a lot of character on our team and never any quit. Our season was on the line in the third period and we found a way.”
“We’ve got character in here,” Sharks defenceman Niclas Wallin said. “We’ve shown that before. We came back last game (from a 3-0 deficit before losing Game 4 4-3). They did that and obviously won the game. We’re still in control. I like where we are. We have to regroup and come back.”
• Amongst the CBC’s series blogger’s off-day notes:
San Jose still leads the best-of-seven series 3-2 with Game 6 slated for Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena, but with two successive wins, the Wings look to be the team that’s suddenly on a roll.
“You’ve seen a lot of momentum swings back and forth, even in the game last night,” Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “They had the lead, they were up 3-1 early in the third period, then we found a way to battle back, come back and score some big goals. I think that’s what you’re going to see the next game as well.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock viewed the see-saw affair that was Game 5 as an example of what a fickle mistress momentum can be.
“That’s what sport is,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s a momentum thing. In the first and second [period] at times you’d say, ‘Geez. This team looks out of shape. They’re exhausted.’”
Babcock felt that the series scoreboard was being true to the outcome of the games.
“I think we should’ve won Game 3, and they could’ve easily won Game 5, Babcock said. We all kind of deserve what we got.”
• And Lage’s story was updated with quips and quotes from the Sharks’ players:
“You try to eliminate teams when you have a chance to,’’ San Jose forward Joe Thornton said. “So we’re going to go in there and try to eliminate them. That’s the game plan.’‘
San Jose’s chances to end Detroit’s comeback will probably improve if Patrick Marleau and Thornton, its top two scorers during the regular season, lead the way. Marleau is pointless through five games and Thornton has been held to a one assist since the Sharks surged to a 3-0 series lead in the second-round rematch.
“I think I’ve done some really good things,’’ [Marleau] said “They haven’t showed up on the score sheet, but there’s another game to play.’‘
The Red Wings hope there are two more games, giving them an opportunity to do something for the first time in their storied history. Detroit has never won a series after losing the first three games, but only three NHL teams have: Philadelphia last year, the New York Islanders in 1975, and Toronto in 1942. The defending champion Chicago Blackhawks won three straight to force a Game 7 in Vancouver in the first round this year, but then lost to the top-seeded Canucks.The second-seeded Sharks and third-seeded Red Wings have combined for an entertaining, highly competitive series in which the difference in each game has been one goal. San Jose has lost the past two games 4-3, blowing a 3-1 lead at home in the third period on Sunday night after rallying to win Game 3 in overtime in Detroit.
“It was tough to go to bed (Sunday) night knowing we gave one away, but it’s a new day,’’ Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said Monday morning, when the team flew from San Jose into gloomy skies. “I guess you have to try to be positive and look ahead, and that’s what we’re going to do.’‘
One more update:
Let’s see here…
• Kerry Fraser on Joe Thornton, via TSN:
I have one question that has been bugging me all year and I just had to ask. In Sunday’s Sharks vs. Red Wings game - near the end of the first period - Johan Franzen goes off for slashing, but Joe Thornton also goes off for diving (unsportsmanlike conduct). If the referee knows that Thornton dove, then why did Franzen also get penalized? If you could clear this up it’d be great!
Thanks - Kevin G., Louisiana State University
As I watched the play I saw Joe Thornton place his stick in the feet of Franzen causing the Red Wing to fall awkwardly into the boards. Knowing that Franzen is dealing with an ankle sprain and judging by his reaction with a solid swing of his stick to Joe’s leg, it really hurt him. The fact that Franzen attempted to play after that tumble but couldn’t is further evidence to the damage that was done by Joe. This doesn’t excuse Franzen’s stick swing but only helps to understand it better.
Joe deserved a tripping penalty for his action. Franzen certainly deserved a slashing penalty for his retaliation. I have to believe that the referee did not read the trip as it occurred and that he must have thought that the slash hit Thornton in a protected area of his shin pad and as such Joe’s reaction was one of embellishment (diving). This certainly wasn’t the case as a camera shot showed Thornton’s face in the penalty box. Franzen’s slash obviously carved some meat off the ham bone. Joe is really a tough guy and I saw pain on his face as tried to shake it off in the penalty box.
So in a perfect world let’s deal with a legitimate penalty that is observed by the referee. He identifies it as a penalty by raising his arm to signal the delay. At this point the player that was legitimately fouled just wants to make sure that the ref got a good look at it so he embellishes his fall or end result of the play. It is at this point Kevin that the referee will assess the initial infraction and also an unsportsmanlike penalty to the actor for his poor performance in what should have been just a one act play. The message is then clearly sent that the referee identified the initial penalty so don’t attempt to embarrass the referee or the game by diving. The coach and teammates of the diver are never too happy with their player that took away a power play through such a needless penalty. Hope this helps…
• The Free Press’s Michael Rosenberg got in on the blather train, suggesting that the Sharks are “flopping” in the figurative sense;
• Take this mysterious comment from Sharks coach Todd McLellan, noted by SanJoseSharks.com’s Allison High, as you will:
Sharks head coach McLellan knows just what he’s going to tell his troops to prepare them for Game 6. But he’s not about to spill that to us. Prior to the Sharks departure for Detroit on Monday morning, McLellan addressed a dozen media members about the Sharks performance in Game 5 and what he plans to do for Game 6.
“I have a pretty good idea what I’m going to share with our club later on today,” said McLellan. “We’ll have a meeting and we’ll keep that inside the locker room. We worked hard all year to prepare for these moments. We’ll make sure that we take it up a notch higher than we did last night.”
In order to beat the Red Wings in Detroit, every member of the Sharks needs to play better. Although the Sharks put 42 shots on goal in Game 5, they failed to score on their four power play opportunities and had 20 giveaways.
“We need more out of everybody,” added McLellan. “We had a relentless attack five-on-five. It wasn’t relentless when it came to five-on-four and that has to change.”
“We missed some chances early and ended up making a few mistakes in the end,” said defenseman Dan Boyle. “But it’s a new day and I guess you have to try to be positive and look ahead. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
“You knew it was going to be a great series and we’ve had success in Detroit so we’re going to just go in there and try to win a game,” added Joe Thornton.
• I like this, from the Free Press’s Helene St. James, who penned an “on the tarmac” story for USA Today:
“Every game you win,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said, “makes you feel a little bit better, but we know we haven’t done anything yet. We have to focus on what we need to do. We didn’t play well enough the first two periods. That’s something we want to look after. We feel good, but at the same time, we’ve been put in a position: Either you win, or you’re going home for the season. It’s as simple as that. It’s basically like playing Game 7 every game now.”
• St. James also penned an article about Datsyuk’s “Drivetrain”;
• MLive’s Ansar Khan noted the following:
It is difficult to beat a quality team four times in a row without having your goaltender steal at least one of those games. That’s what the Red Wings said Jimmy Howard did for them Sunday. Howard was especially strong early on, when the Sharks dominated territorially, limiting the damage to give his team a chance to win.
“(Sunday) was another example of the way he’s been able to give us a chance,” defenseman Brad Stuart said. “That’s all you can ask for from a goalie. That’s what you need this time of year, a guy that kind of holds you in there sometimes when you’re not on top of your game as a team.”
Howard has allowed three or fewer goals in eight of nine games. His playoff statistics (2.59 goals-against average, .922 save percentage) show much more consistency than he had in the regular season (2.79 GAA, .908 save percentage).
“Howie was big for us, especially the first two periods,” Lidstrom said. “He kept us in the game. I thought we rallied around him in the third period.”
But, Lidstrom added, “We don’t want our goalie (to) have to play like that every night.”
• And finally, in video form, from TSN:
2. There is a lovely 1:55 clip about Niklas Kronwall “Kronwalling” people, with Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom and Kronwall himself talking about his hard-hitting play, and the Wings talk about their offensive contributions from the blueline, too;
3. And in case you didn’t already know it, Pavel Datsyuk is a fantasy hockey “stud.”
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About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.