The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins begin their first-round war tomorrow evening (7:30 PM on FSD, NESN, NBCSN, TSN2 and 97.1 FM), and the Red Wings' PR department released their playoff theme earlier today (and we'll conveniently ignore the fact that committing the act in its literal sense will get you kicked out of the Joe):
‘OCTOPI HOCKEYTOWN’ PLAYOFF CAMPAIGN RETURNS TO DETROIT
... Lucky Fans Who Use the Instagram Hashtag #OctopiHockeytown Will Appear on Metro Detroit Digital Billboards …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings announced today the return of the ‘Octopi Hockeytown’ playoff campaign to encourage fans to connect and cheer on the Red Wings as the team embarks on its historic 23rd straight playoff run.
Here comes your wallpaper?
from Kevin Woodley at NHL.com,
When he's on -- It looks like Howard is gliding over top of the ice. He makes it look effortless but powerful, beating the play on his skates without retreating too far into his crease, locking in low and wide as the puck-carrier gets closer without committing to his knees too soon, and keeping his hands pressed forward and active.
When he's off -- The backward flow that is inevitable anytime a goalie starts as aggressively as Howard off the rush creeps into his game in other situations. He retreats too quickly and loses angle on rush chances, or shrinks back into the blue ice in traffic on end-zone play, dropping his hands and sliding into shots, playing down to his 6-foot size by exposing the top of the net and opening holes.
much more including an interest goal chart on where Howard is scored on plus a look at Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Julien was asked about holding too much respect for the Wings headed into their playoff series and he mentioned the “underdog card” he thinks Detroit is playing given some of their injuries.
“I don’t believe in never respecting your opponent," Julien said. "They’re in the playoffs because they’re a good team, and that’s the respect that you give them. But that doesn’t mean you play on your heels or at the end of your stick because you have respect for them. It just means you have to be ready. I think it’s pretty obvious to us that they want to play the underdog card, which is not surprising. We just have to go out there and not care about what they say.
“We’re not letting them fool us with that underdog card and that they don’t have the players. We’ll just go out there and play our game. I know he’s got players, and he’s got players that have done extremely well for him. The guy that right now is a question mark for them is [Henrik] Zetterberg, but other than that those young players have done a good job even if the [Dan] Clearys and the [Todd] Bertuzzis are question marks in the lineup. They’ve got a pretty good lineup with a lot of choices. That’s how I look at it.”
via Dana Wakiji tweets,
Franzen: Even if I’m not scoring that’s not what I’m doing for this team. It’s not why I go out and play games to score goals.
Franzen: I’ve got a lot of things to do before that. It’s not even fifth on the list, probably, when you go out to a game.
More to come as it is made available...
added 11:18am, via Pleiness tweet,
Practice lines: Datsyuk, Franzen, Abdelkader. Jurco, Sheahan, Nyquist. Alfredsson, Helm, Jurco, Miller, Glendening, Legwand. D pairs same.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
“Sometimes when you put kids in and they aren’t ready it turns out to be bad for the team and you start to lose your confidence as an athlete and you have to go backwards to regain that confidence,” general manager Ken Holland said. “Fortunately, the kids have played well. That’s not a concern for me.”
Said center Darren Helm: "The young guys add a big element to the team -- excitement, energy -- gets everybody going. They’re going to be important guys in the playoffs."
This is the youngest team the Red Wings have taken into the playoffs in a long time. Youth brings fresh legs and speed. That will be important against the big, physical, veteran-laden Bruins.
“All those kids just love to play hockey, they’re just having fun,” Red Wings forward Johan Franzen said. “They want the puck, they’re skating good and they’re strong on the puck.
“I think they’re ready for the playoffs. They’ve been playing great for us. It’s going to be fun to see what they can bring.”
23 minutes and 23 seconds of hits, all playoff hits.
23, that number keeps coming up.
Watch the video below, presented by awood40 again...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
“It was a lot of specialty teams today, that was our plan,” Babcock said. “We knew coming in we were going to grind yesterday and do a lot of team stuff and then the heavy lifting yesterday, the specialty teams today, and we’ll have a little more tempo and special teams tomorrow.”
He’s glad the series starts later the other seven first-round matchups.
“We needed the time, we need to freshen up some people,” Babcock said. “We had ground hard to get in. When (the Bruins) were in here (April 2) they gave guys days off and we couldn’t give anybody days off.
“The other thing about it is when you’re the lower seed, the more detailed you can be, the better off you can be. And so preparation time has been great for us. Ideally it will be an equalizer and give us an opportunity to really compete.”
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
Jonathan Ericsson will skate on his own Thursday for the first time since having successful surgery to stabilize his fractured finger and repair a partially torn tendon on March 19.
“We’ll see how that goes,” Ericsson said. “It’s been almost four weeks now.”
He still won’t be able to handle the puck due to the splint on his left hand.
“I think it’s too early to tell,” Ericsson said when asked if he could return sometime in the first round of the playoffs.
Dana Wakiji with some tweets,
via Ansar Khan tweet,
Lines juggled: Nyquist-Datsyuk-Abdelkader, Franzen-Helm-Alfredsson, Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Miller-Glendening-Legwand.
added 11:33am, via Chuck Pleiness tweet,
PP units: Franzen, Datsyuk, Legwand, Nyquist and Kronwall. Sheahan, Alfredsson, Tatar, Jurco and DeKeyser.
added 12:25pm, via Bill Roose tweet,
Jonathan Ericsson says tendon isn't healing as fast as the bone in his finger.
from Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston,
Bruins in six. This is should be an interesting and entertaining series. Of all the first-round matchups in the Stanley Cup playoffs, this one could be the most difficult to win. Boston’s reward for winning the Presidents’ Trophy will be one pesky opponent. Still, the Bruins will prevail based on their overall game.
from Matt Kalman of the Boston Herald,
Aside from harnessing their emotions, the Bruins also must find a way to counter Detroit’s speed and skill. Their game plan didn’t work out all that well in the regular season, as the Red Wings won three of the four meetings. Two of Detroit’s wins, however, were by one goal.
“We’ve played some fast teams before,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “And again, we can look at the record whichever way we want and see us 1-3. I look at the games we played against them, and there was one, the first one in Detroit, that we didn’t play very well. The other three we could’ve won the two that we had the lead. I don’t think it’s going to be that big of an issue as much as we may be an issue for them. Teams have strengths and it’s how you counter those things.
“I think our team can certainly skate. I don’t think we’re a slow team. Whether people underrate our skating or not, I don’t know. But we’ve shown that we can skate with these guys and certainly close a gap quick on those guys, too. And that’s what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to make sure you don’t give those guys too much room because they’ll make plays and they’ll take the ice that you give them.”
CSNNE with a 1 1/2 minute video breaking down the series...
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.