The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/08/11 at 04:00 AM ET
Between Douglas Murray telling Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom that he planned on getting into a fight with Justin Abdelkader on Friday to pay back a few “elbows in the face” and Ryane Clowe doing that exact thing on Friday while insisting that he’d preferred to have gotten a few licks in on Niklas Kronwall, the San Jose Sharks haven’t exactly been discreet about the fact that the Wings are grating on their nerves. Clowe explained his logic in making his post-Game 5 statement to the Mercury News’s Mark Emmons:
Saturday, Clowe elaborated a little bit. Clowe said he would like a little payback for that devastating check Kronwall put on Dany Heatley in Game 3.
“It was about that hit on Heater,” Clowe said of his comment. “I always stick up for my teammates.”
Heatley said he appreciates the sentiment.
“He’s a guy who stands up for teammates,” Heatley said. “And he’s smart about it. He knows what time of year it is and isn’t going to take any dumb penalties. But he’s done that all year long for us. It’s part of the reason why he’s such a great team guy.”
Sharks coach Todd McLellan told MLive’s Ansar Khan that he fully endorses Clowe’s, ahem, tactics:
“It doesn’t surprise me that he said that. He takes care of his teammates,” McLellan said. “Kronner’s a physical guy as well. Sometimes as series evolve, emotions get ramped up, and we’re probably seeing a little bit of that right now.”
McLellan was a Red Wings assistant coach when Kronwall was dishing out big hits on a regular basis during Detroit’s 2008 Stanley Cup run. Despite being a nice, humble person off the ice, Kronwall’s hits often stir up emotions in opponents. Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne accused Kronwall of being a dirty player following a hit to the head earlier this season.
“He’s a heck of a human being (Kronwall), anybody will tell you that, (Sharks defenseman and fellow Swede) Dougie Murray will tell you that,” McLellan said. “For us it’s not about how these guys are when they’re dealing with fans or away from the rink, it’s about when they’re wearing the uniform.”
Abdelkader, another player who gets under opponents’ skin, didn’t expect Clowe to become unraveled at that point.
“It was one of those things where at the end of the game guys are battling, emotions are high,” Abdelkader said.
As for the Heatley-Kronwall spat?
Heatley and Kronwall were going at it before Kronwall sent Heatley to the “quiet room,” and Heatley specifically continues to seek out Kronwall for an extra jab or shove whenever he can—to the point that it’s almost amusing to watch Heatley skate out of his lane and negate offensive chances for the sake of running Kronwall.
The Sharks continue to try to run Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom whenever they can, too, but that’s another story, and it’s par for the course.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James took note of Kronwall’s reaction, as well as Clowe’s (who’s become quite the talker now, hasn’t he?) rationale for going after Abdelkader when he did:
Kronwall smiled when he heard it, recognizing it means he’s gotten under someone’s skin.
As for the tiff with Abdelkader, Clowe said, “it just happened at the end. I’m not going to do that if it’s a tie game in the third. I mean, I’m not going to trade myself for him. I’ve got to be smart.”
And then there’s this, of course:
Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard didn’t have to deal with any deliberate snow showers the past two games after seeing them in Games 1 and 2. He credited all the writing that was done about it.
“I think thanks to you guys writing about it,” Howard said. “It helped me out there. We’ll see.”
It’s gonna happen again tonight, because that’s what the Sharks do in their own building. It isn’t a good thing or a bad thing that teams tend to play a little more physical in front of their own fans, but snowing…Isn’t polite. Let’s go with that.
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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.