The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings advanced in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And Pavel Datsyuk has been making his way through the EA Sports bracket, reaching the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year in the voting for the NHL game's latest cover athlete.
This story may have slipped through some radar screens, but the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek penned a really remarkable article about Henrik Zetterberg's leadership while comparing the Wings' undersized but ultra-competitive captain to Doug Gilmour, and Duhatschek's comparison struck one of Zetterberg's teammates, Mikael Samuelsson, as completely accurate:
There was unique pressure on Zetterberg this year because he was replacing the venerable Nicklas Lidstrom as the Red Wings’ long-time captain, but according to Samuelsson, that wasn’t how Zetterberg approached it at all.
“I think he sees it with joy,” said Samuelsson. “Let me see if I can find the right word. It was like a big honour for him. I don’t think he’s changed that much from the type of guy he was, or in his role in the locker room, even if he’s the captain. A great guy stepped down in Lidstrom and (Zetterberg) is still the same guy – and that’s how it should be, I think. The guys have more respect for that – you don’t have to change a whole lot just because you’re the captain. I just take the hat off to him. It’s not like he is super fast or has a super good shot. But he’s a hell of a player, just the way he protects the puck.”
My take on the Red Wings-Blackhawks series is pretty simple: by making the playoffs and having pulled off something of an upset against both the Ducks and the Wings' own relative youth, inexperience and mistake-prone tendencies, the team's at least met fans' expectations, if not exceeded them, by defeating the NHL's second-best team...
At this point, whatever the Wings can do to dent the playoff run of a team that's been widely hailed as on course for an inevitable Stanley Cup Final meeting against the Pittsburgh Penguins, well, given the Wings' awful regular season record against the Hawks over the past 2-3 seasons, and given the on-paper depth advantage the Hawks possess over the Wings, we're in "bonus hockey" territory.
According to MLive's Ansar Khan, the Red Wings may have another third-or-fourth-line option in Drew Miller, who believes that he'll be healthy enough to return to playing sometime during the Wings-Hawks series after suffering a broken right hand heading into the final week of April...
“I don’t have a timetable yet; I need to talk to the hand specialist and see how things go,’’ Miller said Monday. “I’m hoping to be in this series for sure.’’
Miller was injured when he was hit by a puck on April 20 in Vancouver. He was expected to be out four-to-eight weeks. He has been skating with the team and handling the puck for some time. He had his cast removed on Sunday.
This is a little different, per the Red Wings:
A limited quantity of Red Wings playoff tickets for home games 1 & 2 of the Western Conference semifinals with the Chicago Blackhawks will go on sale to the general public Tuesday, May 14, beginning at 10 a.m.
Red Wings fans will be able to purchase up to four (4) tickets per game for each of the team’s first two home games. Dates and times for home games 1 & 2 will be announced by the NHL.
Those dates and times are Monday, May 20th at 7:30 PM EDT and Thursday, May 23rd at 8 PM EDT...
The complete seven game schedule for the Wings/Blackhawks is listed below...
Mike Babcock spent seven minutes with the NHL Live crew after landing in Detroit today.
added 9:49pm, Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front talked to Drew Miller who had his cast removed yesterday and wants to play in the series and Babcock says no Helm.
Watch more videos from the Blackhawks as they discuss playing the Wings.
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
''It's a new season. We're starting even and clean,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ''I think we have to look at it one day at a time and one game at a time. You look at all the games this year, discounting the [7-1] game, every game was a close game and a tight game where anything could have happened.
''We were fortunate in the one game to tie it up late [on Kane's goal]. Probably the best game and the most exciting game we had all year was the one in Detroit ... which was an amazing game. But we expect that kind of pace.''
The playoff matchup against the rival Red Wings will bring plenty of emotion from both team's fans. And while the Hawks respect the firepower and history of the team that set the standard for excellence in the NHL, they still feel as the best team in hockey in the regular season that they control their own destiny.
''When we played Detroit and the teams in our division the intensity is right in place and the motivation's in place,'' Quenneville said, ''whether it's the tradition, the animosity, from the fans all the way to the players. It's a special history there. We want to make sure we take care of our own business. [Detroit is] a strong hockey team that plays with a purpose. We're going to have to be at our best. But let's welcome it and look forward to it.''
The next round, against Chicago, may be a lot tougher. The top-seeded Blackhawks are the darlings of the 2013 season, they are rested, they are deep, they are experienced, and they are really good.
And these are still the Wings. Criticize them all you want, but count them out at your own risk.
That's from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press where you can read more on last night's game but my question to you is, what kind of chance are you giving the Wings against the Chicago Blackhawks?
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.