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How Will The Wings Handle The Physical Play From The Bruins?

Larry Brooks of the New York Post makes his first round predictions...

Bruins over Red Wings in 6: Boston was extended to Game 7 in the first round last year before the miracle rally to overcome a third-period 4-1 deficit and defeat the Maple Leafs in overtime a year after losing a first-round Game 7 OT to an inferior Capitals team, so the first round may be the best time to get Boston.

The Red Wings, though still without Henrik Zetterberg, should be as healthy as they have been all season. It will be fascinating to see how playoff neophytes Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco respond to the Bruins’ relentless physical work.

read on for the other first round matchups...

I do believe it will be interesting to see how the Wings handle the physical play of the Bruins.  If they handle it well, it could very well be a turning point in the series, one that has yet to begin.

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I do believe it will be interesting to see how the Wings handle the physical play of the Bruins.  If they handle it well, it could very well be a turning point in the series, one that has yet to begin.

Don’t we hear this every f…ing playoff season? Wings are pansies and can’t handle physical play.
Just like Wings are old. You’d think these talking heads would find something else to say.
In the West, every time we played against Ducks or St. Louis or any “physical” team, it was the same story, Wings will be intimidated by the big bad “fill in the blank”

Posted by George0211 on 04/16/14 at 08:32 AM ET

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Yeah. This is something that needs to go away.

I get that the wings don’t fight and to some that means weak. But they handle physical games rather well. Both being a little physical themselves and now using their quicklness to cause the other team to think twice about going all in on the forecheck.

Lets get these games started so writers have something other to write about than stuff like this.

Posted by lancer on 04/16/14 at 08:37 AM ET

Paul's avatar

In other news, Damien Cox picks the Wings.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 04/16/14 at 08:39 AM ET

SnLO's avatar

Don’t we hear this every f…ing playoff season? Wings are pansies and can’t handle physical play.
Just like Wings are old. You’d think these talking heads would find something else to say.

Same talking heads said the same stuff about the Philly matchup in ‘97. It’s just an industry standard cookie cutter talking point for pundits. Same tune every year for decades like it’s a new fresh idea that we’ve never heard before; regardless that it gets disproven every time.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 04/16/14 at 08:42 AM ET

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I think for the most part, the team is tenacious when they can’t be physical. So Tomas Tatar isn’t going to outmuscle Lucic or Chara. Instead, these guys make up for it with tenacity. They’re puckhounds.

Anaheim was supposed to bully the Wings last year. Didn’t happen. It truly is a cookie-cutter talking point every single year the Wings face a team known to be big/physical.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/16/14 at 08:45 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

It’s not at all about physicality to me.  It’s about maturity v youth.  If the Wings’ youngins handle the pressure with resilience, than I think it’s game on.  Helm, Jurco, and Alfie.  I’d like to see that line make an impact, because I think they will have an opportunity to against not Chara.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/16/14 at 09:01 AM ET

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Brooks doesn’t follow hockey with much eye for detail.  Nyquist isn’t a playoff neophyte—he’s played in 18 playoff games.

Posted by captaineclectic on 04/16/14 at 09:08 AM ET

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I always thought the playoff experience thing was a bit over-rated. Red Wings’ kids are not actually kids. They are in their mid 20’s for the most part

Posted by George0211 on 04/16/14 at 09:11 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Man you boys sure are sentisitive. 

Both comments were it will be “fascinating” and “interesting” to see how these boys hold up. Neither said the B’s are gonna blow these soft euro boys through the boards. Here come the big bad Bs ready to use tatar as a tooth pick after eating jurco.

Are you honestly not interested in how our rookies, none of which are towering, or are in the NHL as skillless ram-rods, go out there and battle against a good physical team?

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 04/16/14 at 09:41 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Nyquist and Tatar had very good playoff performances last year. Yes, it is a small sample size, but there shouldn’t be concern about them at least being prepared for what the playoffs entail.

Jurco and Sheahan, on the other hand, sure. Sheahan is big and shown no issues dealing with physical play. The only reason I worry about Jurco is the injury he had is the type some well-placed cross-checks could, if not reinjure him, at least redirect his attention from playing hockey to worrying about the injury.

As for how the team as a whole responds to the physical play—this is nothing new. Sure, you might look at Jurco, Sheahan, and Smith and wonder, but I would expect the leadership of Datsyuk and Kronwall (not even to mention guys like Helm and Abdelkader) to set the example of how to play through it, keep a cool head, and not let it get you off your game. The Wings have done it time and time again, passing that right attitude down to new players, so I have no reason to believe the veterans and coaching staff can’t do it again.

Also, it seems to be people really talk up the physicality of the East, as if the Wings don’t have plenty of experience playing against (and beating) many bigger (and perceived as tougher) teams from the West.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/16/14 at 09:53 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Nyquist and Tatar had very good playoff performances last year.

Tatar was in the AHL last year, great AHL playoff run, but not the same.

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 04/16/14 at 09:56 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Boychuk is having a very solid year in the physical play aspect.  He looks like a more aggressive Kronwall. That said, officiating will (sadly) likely make a huge difference in what standard of hit is allowed. If dirty or marginal hits go uncalled, Boston will steamroller Detroit. Do we really think Datsyuk’s knee or Zetterberg’s back won’t get targeted?

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/16/14 at 10:17 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

As long as the refs dont allow the shenanigans after EVERY whistle to go un called, I think the whole persona of the big bad bruins is WAY overblown.

I seem to remeber the Legion Of Doom in philly was equally proclaimed to be unstoppable.

This seies will be settled, in the end, by skill and will.

After game #1 we will know much more.

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/16/14 at 10:17 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

It will be fascinating to see how playoff neophytes Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco respond to the Bruins’ relentless physical work.

They’ll respond as they did against all other “physical” teams this season - by throwing dekes and avoiding collisions.  Tatar, Jurco, Nyquist - they are all pretty nimble when they have the puck.  And Sheahan can throw his weight around just fine.

Posted by TreKronor on 04/16/14 at 10:18 AM ET

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Do we really think Datsyuk’s knee or Zetterberg’s back won’t get targeted?

I’m pretty sure Z’s back won’t get targeted.  Not many players can launch themselves from the ice surface into the press boxes…

Posted by Garth on 04/16/14 at 10:26 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Do we really think Datsyuk’s knee or Zetterberg’s back won’t get targeted?

We’re not playing Crysby and the Pens, so targeting our star player may garner some officiating attention.  I would think the Bs are of the mindset that they don’t have to do that, if they get desperate down the road, well…

 

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 04/16/14 at 10:30 AM ET

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Do we really think Datsyuk’s knee or Zetterberg’s back won’t get targeted?

We’re not playing Crysby and the Pens, so targeting our star player may garner some officiating attention.  I would think the Bs are of the mindset that they don’t have to do that, if they get desperate down the road, well…

 

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 04/16/14 at 11:30 AM ET

True, but Chara does get away with a lot of stuff. So does Lucic.

Posted by George0211 on 04/16/14 at 10:32 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’m not worried about the Bruins “physical” style of play.

I’m worried their coach is smart enough to know that the Wings aren’t going to try to match them in that department.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/16/14 at 10:35 AM ET

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Brooks is also predicting Columbus beating the Pens.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/16/14 at 10:52 AM ET

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Brooks is also predicting Columbus beating the Pens.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/16/14 at 11:52 AM ET

That’s his way of being “edgy”

Posted by George0211 on 04/16/14 at 10:53 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Bruins strengths are really fighting.  Lucic iginla chara Thornton.  Need dance partners though and no one wants to sit in the sin bin for 5 mins in the playoffs and most of those are important players.  But if they want to chase the Wings around all night showing us how tough they are while we keep driving the net, I’m OK with that.  I think the late 80s Wings are a perfect example of what happens relying too much on physicality vs. Tenacity.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/16/14 at 11:00 AM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

Yes it’s the same old stuff on repeat but at least it’s not the “we are too old” line.  I’m not worried about the kids they have proven all year long that they can take pressure. I think the physical play only becomes an issue if we stop skating. The kids haven’t stopped skating since they came up. It’s our D that has me concerned. They have often been caught flat-footed this year.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 04/16/14 at 11:08 AM ET

SYF's avatar

I lost count how many times the Wings lead the Hits category in so many games this season.  This is just recycled tripe mechanically churned out by a scripted media.  But since this is the first time in a generation that the Wings have played in the Eastern conference playoffs, I’ll let it slide.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 04/16/14 at 11:25 AM ET

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You can’t hit what you can’t catch.

Posted by selke13 on 04/16/14 at 11:53 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Tracy I think that as well.  Babs comments about Mrazek moving the puck and how it allowed our d to stay mobilenand not get crushed all night.  D quickness and mistakes will be our Achilles not the fact we have hockey players instead of fighters

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/16/14 at 12:18 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Tatar was in the AHL last year, great AHL playoff run, but not the same.

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 04/16/14 at 10:56 AM ET

D’oh, yes, thank you, I was thinking of how well Andersson played down the stretch last season with Nyquist and how well they handled that pressure. That said, I’m still not concerned about Tatar or any player on this team learning how to play NHL playoff hockey. The Wings still have the likes of Mike Babcock, Pav, Kronwall, and even Z from the sidelines, to help pass down valuable lessons to the youngsters that haven’t been here before. It has worked for decades now, no reason to believe it won’t work again.

And let’s be realistic… even if some of the kids need this postseason as a learning experience, fine. This isn’t a Cup team anyhow, and probably not even a second-round team.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/16/14 at 12:19 PM ET

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How the Wings adjust and respond to the physical play is HUGE in this series, but not from the forwards mentioned in the article. 

It’s Lashoff and Kindl and Smith and Dekeyser.  Smith’s gasp-inducing errors last year cost the Wings a couple wins, Lashoff was so bad he got replaced by Colo and was sent to the AHL, Kindl was pretty good, but has since regressed. Dekeyser was hurt.  There is no Colo to rescue the defense, only more kids.  What’s more, Ericsson (our response to big, bad forecheckers) is out.

I do expect the forwards to be fine, with the one possible exception being Jurco, who will be scratched in favor of Hank, when or if he returns.  You might even see Bert inserted for Jurco if the kid falters in game 1.  I don’t think Babs trusts him enough to bounce back.

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/16/14 at 12:52 PM ET

Primis's avatar

The Wings will counter by trying to score goals, and thus win the game.

Posted by Primis on 04/16/14 at 06:11 PM ET

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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.