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Mike Rupp, Ryan Whitney rave about Pavel Datsyuk while making playoff predictions

The Players Tribune's Mike Rupp and Ryan Whitney are picking the Tampa Bay Lightning to defeat the Red Wings' "perimeter players" in 6 games, but before they got down to previewing the Wings-Bolts series, both waxed poetic about Pavel Datsyuk:

Whitney: I’m so sad that this looks like it’s Datsyuk’s last run before heading back to Russia. I’ll never forget playing against him in the ’08 finals with Pittsburgh. Going into the series, we had our matchups all planned out, and the coaches wanted the Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill pairing on Datsyuk at all times. I was on a pairing with Kris Letang at the time.

So a few shifts into Game 1, I’m on the ice and I see Datsyuk hop over the boards. All of a sudden, I hear our assistant coach Mike Yeo screaming — I’m talking screaming at the top of his lungs — “Whitney! Whitney! Get the *#$%@& off the ice! Get the *#$%@& off the ice!”

It was total panic.

Rupp: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Yeah, I’ve been there. Whenever we would play the Wings, it was like, “Hey Rupp, be sure to cheer the boys on real good tonight.” I wasn’t playing much when Datsyuk was in town.

It’s funny because — I don’t know if this is a great comparison — but Datsyuk almost reminds me of Eli Manning. You know how Eli always kind of looks like he’s a little down? Kind of slumped shoulders. Datsyuk looks like that sometimes. You underestimate him, and he makes you look like a fool. You try to lift his stick — nope. It’s cemented to the ice. He’s so ridiculously strong and nobody realizes it.

The gents continue...

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 1 game-day articles: Wings hope Eurotwins will spark offense

Updated 7x at 2:31 PM: There were no surprises at the Red WIngs or Lightning's morning skates ahead of tonight's Game 1 (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).

It appears that Tyler Johnson will play for the Bolts, as the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith noted...

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 1 morning skate stuff: Bolts take an optional; no changes for Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) for Game 1 of the teams' first-round series.

The Lightning hit the ice first at Amalie Arena, or some of them did, per the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith...

Sounds like an optional skate for #tblightning


Tyler Johnson on ice for #TBLightning optional skate. Will be game time decision


Fourteen players on ice for skate. Vasilevskiy the only goalie. #TBLightning

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Bolts discuss the Magic Man

NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika penned an article in which Pavel Datsyuk's Tampa Bay opponents weigh in on the Magic Man's dominance:

"His edges are ridiculous," Boyle said. "His strength on his skates is off the charts. He makes it look like he's going that way and he goes the other way. … His legs and his upper body are completely independent, and then you have his hands, the third part."

Roman Josi is on [his highlight reel]. The Nashville Predators defenseman once held the puck behind the net. He thought he could use his body as a shield as Datsyuk approached from behind. Nope. Datsyuk put his stick to the left of Josi's body, then the right. He lifted Josi's stick, stole the puck and stuffed it into the net before goaltender Pekke Rinne could recover. Rinne had been looking the other way.

"Whenever I'm going into the corner or along the boards going in for a puck and he's on me, you have to be pretty smart with that, because he's very dangerous at lifting your stick or tying your stick up and getting the puck," Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison said. "He doesn't stop. He's deadly with his stick."

Logan Couture is on it. Datsyuk once held the puck in the corner to the right of the San Jose Sharks net facing the opposing center. He put the puck between Couture's stick and his feet, then yanked it back and stepped into the circle. Couture was so discombobulated, he fell on his butt.

Cotsonika continues...

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Audio/Video- Eight Minutes With Ken Holland

via Sportsnet,

Ken Holland joins Prime Time Sports to discuss the Detroit Red Wings making the playoffs for a 25th straight season, the coaching of Jeff Blashill and Pavel Datsyuk.


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Red Wings-Lightning series preview digest

I can only blame this mess on having one optic nerve that's larger than the other (which apparently OK; it just took a while to figure out why my eyeglass prescription suddenly changed), and the first real grocery shopping run that the mom and I were able to do in two months (for reasons beyond our control).

Long story short, Tuesday was "Playoff Preview Day" (and evening, and night), and the local and national media provided so many Red Wings-Lightning previews that our blog software wasn't able to accommodate both the game set-up and a digest of all of the Wings-Bolts previews out there.

What follows is a survey thereof, and I apologize that it's not all in one neat digest, but it still took me two-and-a-half hours to put this together and another hour to put the game summary together, so I hope you enjoy what follows. Some notebooks are sprinkled in as necessary.

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Prospect news: Ehn, Frolunda advance to SHL final; Svechnikov scores; Hicketts returns

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn played 14:04, winning 18% of his draws in the Frolunda Indians' 8-2 win over Lulea HC. Frolunda advances to the SHL Final in 6 games;

In the QMJHL, Evgeny Svechnikov scored a goal on 2 shots, finishing at +1 and winning 8 of 10 faceoffs as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 4-1. Saint John tied the second-round series at 2 games apiece;

And in the WHL, Joe Hicketts returned to the Victoria Royals' lineup with an assist and 4 penalty minutes, but his Royals lost 3-2 to the Kelowna Rockets. Victoria leads their second-round series 2 games to 1.

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Lightning Game 1 set-up

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference quarterfinal this evening (7 PM EDT start on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM); the Red Wings are hoping that reuniting the Eurotwins gives the Lightning a new wrinkle to chew upon as Tampa Bay bets upon Tyler Johnson's return to strengthen their lineup.

The Lightning were happy to see Johnson, a Wing-killer, return to practicing with the team, as the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson noted:

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Wings post 3-part series of videos chronicling the team’s 2015-16 campaign

The Red Wings kicked off the playoffs by posting a 3-part series of videos chronicling the team's 2015-16 season. It's 17-and-a-half minutes of must-watch viewing, starting with, "The Journey to the Joe"...

Continuing with, "Road Warriors"...

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Just Do It Detroit

Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings endured a season-long struggle just to stay afloat.

They had trouble scoring. Their power play was in shambles until the final weeks. Their defense was mistake-prone. Both goaltenders slumped badly at different times. Too many players regressed.

They lost games they should have won down the stretch and needed help on the final day to extend their playoff streak to 25 seasons.

They made it back, and they're not satisfied just being here, after getting eliminated in the first round in three of the past four seasons....

"We have a good team," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "We believe in ourselves. I thought we had a good process this year, but we know the first round is probably the toughest.

"We have a good enough team to do some damage and we're looking forward to doing it."

read on

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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.


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