Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Bruins Game 4 game-day updates: Zetterberg a ‘game-time decision’

Updated 19x at 2:25 PM:

If we believe what the Hockey News's Ken Campbell is reporting, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg may end up skating in Game 4 between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings this evening (8 PM EDT on FSD and NESN locally, NBCSN and TSN nationally and 97.1 FM; again, I still believe that "the other guys" have to carry the team), and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and MLive's Ansar Khan report that Zetterberg's skating with the regulars--though the rest of the lineup is in flux:

I love this little piece of art from the Detroit News's David Guralnick, too:

Per Pleiness...

Zetterberg just got on the ice for the morning skate. We'll soon see if he's in tonight or not when lines are skated.

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Datsyuk and Kronwall, who missed pratice Wednesday, are on the ice as well. No Alfredsson.

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Still awaiting word from the Wings if Zetterberg is in tonight or not.

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Zetterberg skating on a line with Datsyuk and Abdelkader. Bert with Sheahan and Tatar. Franzen, Helm, Nyquist. Legwand, Glendening, Miller.

 

Jurco and Andersson appear to be [out] tonight.

Khan...

Datsyuk, Kronwall and Zetterberg on the ice for morning skate. No conformation yet on THN report that Zetterberg is playing tonight.

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Alfredsson not skating. Ouellet still here.

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Zetterberg skating on wing with Datsyuk and Abdelkader, so it looks like Zetterberg is in.

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Other lines: Franzen-Helm-Nyquist, Bertuzzi-Sheahan-Tatar, Miller-Glendening-Legwand.

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So it looks like Bertuzzi is in and Jurco and Andersson will be scratched. And Alfredsson not in.

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Based on skate, doesn't look like Ouellet will play. He was extra during rushes. Lashoff-Kindl intact.

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First power play: Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Franzen, Bertuzzi (net front), Kronwall; 2nd: Nyquist-Tatar-Sheahan (net front), DeKeyser-Kindl.

The Detroit News's John Niyo...

Brad Watson and Justin St. Pierre refs for Bruins-Wings Game 4 tonight

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Datsyuk, Kronwall and Zetterberg on the ice for morning skate.

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No Alfredsson on the ice. Ouellet skating again, so perhaps we've seen the end of the Kindl-Lashoff tandem.

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Also looks like Bertuzzi back in for Jurco, while Zetterberg skating on wing with Datsyuk and Abdelkader.

And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

Zetterberg. Skating with Datsyuk on line

The Bruins reported for duty...

As did the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno...

Zetterberg doing line rushes at morning skate, was with Abdelkader and Datsyuk. Would be #RedWings captain's first NHL game since Feb. 8.

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As @longleysunsport points out, Zetterberg is no longer listed on IR on #RedWings roster. Return of the captain for Game 4 tonight?

The Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin...

Henrik Zetterberg's beard is just a thing of beauty.

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Kronwall and Datsyuk both on the ice. I mean, they didn't have babies. Their wives did.

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From morning skate, it would appear that Henrik Zetterberg's beard is in tonight. But we know nothing official at this point.

The Toledo Blade's Rachel Lenzi "took a turn"...

The Boston Herald's Stephen Conroy made the roll call...

By taking line rush with Datsyuk and Abdelkader, Zetterberg at least giving impression he's in

As did WEEI's DJ Bean...

Based on morning skate, it would appear Zetterberg is in. Skating with Datsyuk and Abdelkader. We'll see though. #Bruins #RedWings

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Babcock matched Datsyuk line with Krejci line in G3. Not sure if it's smart to play Zetterberg against Lucic/Iginla in first game back.

And NHL.com's Dan Rosen:

A line at the Wings morning skate: Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Abdelkader. Draw your own conclusions. Mine is that Zetterberg is in tonight.

Rosen filed a Zetterberg May Be In article, as did Pleiness, TSN and MLive's Brendan Savage...

And the Free Press's Helene St. James reported for duty:

Niklas Kronwall wife still in labor, per Ken Holland, but Kronwall expected to play tonight for Red Wings

Update: Well here we are:

NHL.com's Rosen confirms:

Zetterberg is on his way to the doctor now. He is not talking to the media this morning. He will be a gametime decision

Update #2: Per Pleiness...

Brendan Smith says fans will erupt when Zetterberg hits the ice. Smith adds he erupts every time Zetterberg hits the ice. #NHLplayoffs

Kulfan...

The way teammates are talking...sure sounds like zetterberg playing

Bean...

Brendan Smith on Zetterberg: "We were hoping for Game 4, Game 5. That was best-case scenario." #RedWings #Bruins

97.1 the Ticket's Jeff Riger:

Bertuzzi on Zetterberg possibly being back "I think he's overshadowing me"

Khan...

Bertuzzi confirms he is in. On line with Sheahan and Tatar.

St. James...

Todd Bertuzzi playing tonight with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar

And Pleiness on video:

The news, she is officially official:

Update #3: Meanwhile, CSNNE's Joe Haggerty wrote a love letter to Zdeno Chara...

And God Bless Mrs. Babcock, per Whyno:

Babcock opens presser saying he got email from his wife saying he's not allowed to say things about childbirth that he did yesterday

Per St. James...

Mike Babcock says Henrik Zetterberg told him "he's going to the doctor." Babcock hopeful Z playing, has him in lineup, on power play.

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Bertuzzi replacing Tomas Jurco. Babcock said he lost sleep over the decision, b/c Jurco has speed, but needs veteran presence on kid line

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff...

#redwings Babcock: "Z told me he's going to the doctor. We'll know at game time."

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#redwings Babcock on Franzen: "We need him to be a force. We need him to be a net-front presence."

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Bertuzzi in for #redwings for Game 4. Babcock: "He's a big heavy body."

The Tonronto Sun's Rob Longley...

Babcock on Zetterberg: "I put him on a line, I put him on a power play. Doctors decide, not me. I'm hopeful. We'll know at game time."

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Wings Darren Helm om possible Zetterberg return: "We need him. He is our captain.

NESN's Jack Edwards...

Babcock: Zetterberg is in there unless a Doctor takes him out of lineup (Zetterberg slated to see a Doc later today)

Custance...

Babcock on Zetterberg: "The doctors decide, not me. I'm hopeful but, who knows? We'll know at gametime. After warmup."

Dear Haggerty...

Todd Bertuzzi in for the Detroit Red Wings. He'll battle in front of the Bruins net & bring some nastiness #BruinsTalk

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Reilly and Brendan Smith both excited to have brother Rory Smith at Joe Louis Arena watching them play vs each other tonight in Game 4

Pleiness...

Babcock says the trainers feel Alfredsson will be ready to play Saturday.

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Jurco is out. Babcock confirmed. Why take a guy out with speed? He says he's trying to do the right thing.

The National Post's Michael Traikos...

Babcock on Zetterberg's potential impact: "I can expect him to provide good leadership. If we get nothing else, that’s enough."

Khan...

Babcock said he's going with the same six defensemen. Ouellet was here just in case Kronwall couldn't go due to wife being in labor.

Bean...

Brendan Smith on if Zetterberg can hold own against Lucic/Iginla in first game back: "Are you serious? Like, yeah." #RedWings #Bruins

Update #4: CBS Boston's Matt Kalman, who's also penned articles for NHL.com and the Boston Herald...

L w/Zetterberg on W, Datsyuk, Abdelkander, will be ultimate test of Bruins' RD. So far little pressure for 27,55,68 to worry about changing.

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So Zetterberg awaiting doctors approval, Bertuzzi in for Jurco & Alfredsson not back until Saturday the earliest

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Babcock said he lost sleep over the Jurco/Bertuzzi decision.

And now the Boston Herald's Conroy...

Looks like Paille will take part in morning skate

Jack Edwards...

Bergeron: Selke finalist. Brendan Smith's excellent description of 37 after AM skate went on so long I had to abandon to hear Bertuzzi talk.

Riger...

Babcock "got an email from my wife said I'm not allowed to say the things I said about giving birth-I didn't know guys were that sensitive "

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Babcock continued said his wife said talk to her first, he said he would clean it up today.

Update #5: The Bruins...

Lines the same during rushes. Lucic-Krejci-Iginla, Marchand-Bergeron-Smith, Florek-Soderberg-Eriksson, Caron-Campbell-Thornton ^CS

The Free Press's Helene St. James has filed a game-day report...

Zetterberg skated with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader during the morning skate. There's one lineup change that is certain: Todd Bertuzzi is replacing Tomas Jurco in the lineup and will start on a line with fellow big man Riley Sheahan and winger Tomas Tatar.

Darren Helm is slated to play with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist, with the fourth line remaining Luke Glendening with Drew Miller and David Legwand.

Daniel Alfredsson remains out with lower back/groin pain, but Babcock said Alfredsson should be ready to play Saturday in Game 5.

The Wings trail the Bruins, 2-1, after poor performances in Games 2 and 3. Just how much of an impact Zetterberg can have is questionable — he's a world-class player, incredibly good at both ends of the ice, but the last game he played was Feb. 12, when he scored a goal for Sweden in the Sochi Olympics. He woke up the next day in so much pain, he ended up undergoing back surgery Feb. 21 in New York.

As did the Toronto Suns Rob Longley...

"We need him, he is our captain,” said Wings forward Darren Helm. “He’s a big-time leader. He might not be Hank that we know, but he’s going to give everything he’s got and lead by example. Emotionally he’s going to give it his all and guys are going to follow that.”

And, via RedWingsFeed, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke to Bertuzzi:

Wow, per Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford:

39-year-old Todd Bertuzzi playing on line with Riley Sheahan tonight. Sheanhan was 2 when Bertuzzi got picked 23rd overall at '93 Draft.

Update #6: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff also spoke with Brendan Smith:

Update #7: Smith on Z, per Pleiness's fine morning skate article:

“The fans are definitely going to erupt,” Brendan Smith said Thursday. “They should. I erupt when I see him on the ice, imagine what the fans will be like. He’s a fan favorite. He’s well spoken. He’s humble. He’s one of the best players. It’s going to be cool and good for everybody. We have to channel it in the right direction and towards the game.

“You saw what last year’s playoffs were like with him, so I suspect it will be very similar,” Smith added. “He’s one of the guys we feed off of, he’s a leader, he’s our captain and he does everything right and he plays both ends of the ice. Obviously if we can get him back it will be huge for our squad. It would be awesome. We’ve done well without him and I think the biggest thing for us right now is for us to play our system and that will help us out a lot more. But to get Z back is like getting an ace in your deck when you’re playing cards. Anytime you get your captain back it’s a huge bonus.”

“He’s a competitor,” Darren Helm said. “He’s going to come out with a performance that can hopefully spark this team.

“Everybody’s kind of feeling that excitement, too,” Helm continued. “He’s been out for a while, you can tell he’s extremely happy to be back, we’re all extremely happy that he has a chance to play tonight. It’ll be great if he gets a chance to play.”

More:

"He looked great, he’s been looking really good for the last little and it would be huge boost getting our captain back, kind of unexpectedly,” Abdelkader said. “Hopefully, he’s ready to go, but we’ll have to find out.”

...

“Z would be a huge impact for us and maybe he’s the guy who can bring more offense to the team and spread the lines out a little bit more,” Tomas Tatar said. “I would be really excited to have him back.

“When you’re injured, you’re practicing hard, you’re trying to get ready, you’re in the gym, you do lots of stuff to make sure you’re ready when you get back,” Tatar continued. “I know the start can be rough, but at the same time, you can start really hot, too. You’ve just got to go with the wave. It all depends on how the game will go. You can’t expect one game to change the whole game, but it the teammates are helping, it’s a start.”

Nice quote from WEEI's Bean, too:

“Are you serious? Like yeah, obviously I think he can,” he said. “I mean, the harder the competition, the better Z is. You look at series before where you have Getzlaf and Perry, who are big boys. He just came in and stepped in really well there and then he had to go against Hossa and Toews and just kind of toyed with them.

“He’s an unbelievable player. He’s a top-notch player. Yeah, any first line on any team is going to be tough to come in for your first game, but that’s the type of player he is. He’s a competitor.”

Update #8: Chris Osgood appeared on WDFN's Matt Sheppard Show this morning:

More morning skate stuff from the Free Press's St. James:

"It was three kids playing together, and it wasn't going as good as I would have liked to have," Babcock said. "I didn't think we spent enough time in the offensive zone with that group, and I'm hoping maybe one veteran player can help them out.

"In saying that, we're taking out Jurco, who's got great speed and plays real well. Why would you do that? That's a great question. I asked myself that 100 times yesterday and then, just before I was trying to fall asleep, I started thinking about it again, so then I didn't sleep proper. I don't know. I'm trying to do the right thing."

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Babcock began his presser today with an apology, spurred by his wife, who wasn't happy about Babcock's comment Wednesday that defenseman Niklas Kronwall and Datsyuk should play in Game 4 because "they're not giving birth; their wives are." Datsyuk and his wife welcomed a baby girl Wednesday, while as of this morning, Kronwall's girlfriend had yet to deliver.

"Just before we get started," Babcock said, "I got an e-mail from my wife saying I'm not allowed to say the things I did yesterday about giving birth. So I apologize. I didn't know guys were that sensitive."

Babcock said one of his wife's friends had sent her the comments, so now it's "talk to me first, she said."

Update #9: Groan, per Pleiness...

We can't just worry about one player. In my mind he's going to be in. Boston coach Claude Julien.

Edwards...

Julien on Zetterberg: can't worry about 1 player. In my mind he's gotta be there. Every playoff game has to be about your team, not other.

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Julien: Chara followed Lidstrom's lead as an efficient defenseman & leader.  Whole package is there with Chara.

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Julien: We've built our team a certain way, want players to be two-way players. Players who don't play 2-way game don't last long with us.

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ulien: Patrice and even Krejci could have more points but (our) group believes in structure.

ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald...

Julien said he's expecting to face Zetterberg in Game 4 but needs to focus on entire Detroit team not just one guy.

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Paille has been cleared to take contact. Julien said Paille will not play Game 4.

Bean...

Krejci on Zetterberg: "He's a good player, but Datsyuk is Datsyuk and we still have to be aware of Datsyuk any time he's on the ice."

Boston.com's Zuri Berry...

Julien: We’ve always looked at Pavel Datsyuk. But “we don’t just look at one gun, we look at the group.” Henrik Zetterberg possibly returns.

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Julien on Bergeron’s two-way play: "We want our players to play a certain way." Players that can’t play two ways won’t last long.

(Patrice Bergeron was named a Selke Trophy finalist today)

Update #10: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff filed a morning skate report...

The Wings, who trail the best-of-seven set 2-1, will insert right-winger Todd Bertuzzi for rookie Tomas Jurco. Bertuzzi, slated to see his first action of the series, will skate on a line with Riley Sheahan at centre and Tomas Tatar on the left wing.

“I’m just going to go in there and do what I can to help out,” Bertuzzi said.

The Wings will sacrifice speed for size in dropping the quicker Jurco for the 6-3, 229-pound Bertuzzi, but he alone won’t bring the necessary physicality to rival the Bruins’ ruggedness.

“I think collectively our whole team has to do it,” Bertuzzi said. “We’ve got to be involved and be together as a five-man unit. That’s what it takes to beat this team.”

...

Detroit centre Darren Helm felt Zetterberg’s return to the lineup could provide the Wings with a much-needed emotional surge.

“It would help a lot for sure,” Helm said. “Just his presence around the dressing room, he is our captain. Guys want to follow him. If he were to return, it would be huge. You can see everybody’s excited about seeing him coming back. Everyone’s happier when he’s around. He makes everyone smile. He keeps everyone positive and on their toes. He’s our captain. We need him.”

The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a morning skate video...

Via RedWingsFeed, Fox Sports Detroit posted a video of Bertuzzi speaking with the media...

And the Red Wings posted Babcock's game-day presser:

Update #11: Pleiness took note of Julien's comments...

“We can’t just worry about one player,” Julien said. “We fully expect him to be in there tonight. We expected that. The biggest thing is they have another real good player on their team. We’re not aware of where he is in his conditioning, but at the same time every playoff game has to be about your team. You make adjustments to play against the other team not just an individual. That’s not going to change for us.”

Zetterberg began skating with the team last Thursday after undergoing successful surgery on Feb. 21 to remove part of a disc which was rubbing against a nerve, which caused severe back pain.

“I think we always kept a close eye on (Pavel) Datsyuk,” Julien said. “It’s not one guy we’re looking at necessarily we look at it as a group. We’ll be aware on the ice when he’s there. I don’t get last change so we might not always get the perfect matchup, but our team puts trust in being able to play together and work together to slow these guys down.”

Meanwhile, CSNNE's Haggerty penned a love letter to Milan Lucic...

Update #12: Pleiness took note of Alfredsson's health...

“Alfredsson is feeling better and the trainers told me that he should be ready to go by Saturday,” Babcock said. “I mean, could you throw him in the game? Probably. He hasn’t practiced in a while and we don’t really know. We’re trying to put the best lineup that we can on the ice to help us win.”

Khan took note of Bertuzzi's presence...

“He’s a big, heavy body,” coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s interesting, you’re talking about scoring goals, to me, the things that they did better than us was they played better defense. They kept us on the outside, they were quicker, they skated us. They were harder and more detailed to play against.”

Bertuzzi will start on a line with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar.

“I played with them last game in St. Louis (April 13); I’m comfortable with them,” Bertuzzi said. “I like playing with them. They’re fun, they’re high-tempo, they hold onto the puck; it’s all about puck possession. I’m just going to try to create some space for them.

...

Bertuzzi (6-foot-3, 229) might be better equipped to match-up physically against the Bruins.

“Can’t play scared out there, got to be able to go in the corners and go in front of the net and take a pounding,” Bertuzzi said. “I’m looking forward to it.” He added, “I think collectively our whole team has to do it. We got to be involved and be together as a five-man unit. That’s what it takes to beat this team. Whoever’s in is going to do the job, whether it’s youth or older guys, you got to be able to go in and compete and do the job.”

He’s excited to be back in the playoffs.

“It’s completely different season compared to regular season,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s exciting, it’s fun. The city is involved. Especially being a little bit older you appreciate it a little bit more.”

And Khan noted the Babs' take on Z's return, too:

“When I asked him this morning he said he was going to the doctor,” Babcock said. “But because we were even talking about it I put him on a line, I put him on the power play, and the doctors decide, not me. So I’m hopeful. We’ll know at game time after warm-ups.”

Zetterberg had back surgery on Feb. 21. He’s been skating for two weeks and ramped up his workouts the past couple of days. Zetterberg's last game for the Red Wings was at Tampa Bay on Feb. 8, just before the Olympic break.

Zetterberg skated today at left wing on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader. He also practiced on the first power-play unit, with Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall.

“I can expect him to provide great leadership both in the room and on the bench, so if we get nothing else that’s good enough,” Babcock said. “But I think he’s pretty competitive and he’s been working at it. Obviously, when you have back surgery they don’t let you come back early. So the doctors and him have had a plan and he’s been working on it. He’s skated a ton, he’s done lots of bumping, not much in practice because we haven’t had any. You don’t practice very much (in the playoffs), but with all of the optional skates and stuff like that he feels he’s close. that’s why he’s going to see the doctor.”

NHL.com's Dan Rosen repeated Pleiness and Khan's talking points, as did the National Post's Michael Traikos...

And Fox Sports Detroit posted videos of Art Regner's game set-up and comments from Smith...

Darren Helm...

And Riley Sheahan:

Update #13: The Detroit Free Press's George Sipple reports that the Smith brothers held a truce:

Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith said he went to dinner with his parents, younger brother Reilly, who’s a forward for the Bruins, and older brother Rory, who plays professional lacrosse.

“We had a dinner as a family; that was nice,” Brendan Smith said. “Had a little bit of grub as a family.”

No hockey was discussed at dinner, with the Reilly and the Bruins up, 2-1, in the series heading into tonight’s Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m., FSD, NBC Sports Network out of market).

So if they didn’t talk hockey, what was the highlight of dinner?

“I think the highlight was to have my older brother in town,” Brendan Smith said. “A lot of questions about him, what he’s doing and all his antics. He’s a character, he’s funny. He looks at the world totally different than a lot of people. We get away from ourselves and talk more about family stuff than hockey.”

Update #14: If you wish to watch Patrice Bergeron speak with NHL.com about his status as a Selke Finalist, you may do so on your own.

Update #15: The Red Wings' Game Day Blog provides a historical note...

On April 24, 1948: Red Wings center Jimmy McFadden was voted the Calder Trophy as the best NHL rookie for the 1947-48 season. He was second to Ted Lindsay in team scoring, producing 24 goals and 24 assists in 60 games.

2004: Steve Yzerman scored twice and Nicklas Lidstrom added a goal and three assists, helping Detroit to a 5-2 win over Calgary in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

And Ken Kal's Keys to the Game...

Score - The Wings have only found the back of the net twice in this series. They need to generate offense and scoring chances.

Limit Turnovers - Work hard to keep the puck and don't give it away.

Goaltending - Jimmy Howard needs to be sharp and outplay Rask.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose penned a game-day article, too:

Brendan Smith expects the partisan crowd inside Joe Louis Arena will detonate once the captain’s name is announced over the sound system prior to Game 4 of the Red Wings best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series against the Boston Bruins.

“They’re definitely going to erupt. They should. I erupt when I see him on the ice, imagine what fans are like,” Smith said. “He’s a fan favorite. He’s well spoken. He’s humble. He’s one of the best players. It’s going to be cool and good for everybody. We have to channel it in the right direction and towards the game.”

Down 2-1 in the series, and just two goals to show for in the first three games, the Red Wings certainly can use the emotional lift that Henrik Zetterberg’s return can provide the team and their fans.

Zetterberg worked on a forward line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader at Thursday’s morning skate. The captain was not available after the practice as he hurried out of the building for an appointment with his back specialist. Pending medical clearance, Zetterberg will be a game-time decision, Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

“Z told me that when I asked him this morning he said he was going to the doctor,” Babcock said. “But because we were even talking about it I put him on a line, I put him on the power play, and the doctors decide not me. So I’m hopeful. We’ll know at game time after warm-ups.”

Update #16: NHL.com's Dan Rosen offers the "Bruins' reaction" to Z news:

"In my mind he's going to be there [Thursday]. We expected that, so that's not a concern," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "The biggest thing here is they've got a real good player on their team. Where he is in his conditioning, I don't know. But at the same time, every playoff game has to be about your team; it can't be about the other team. We make adjustments to play against the other team, not the other individual, so that's not going to change for us."

If Zetterberg plays, the Bruins know they have to be wary of the lift his return will give the Red Wings and the fans.

"He's been out for a while, so if he does play it'll probably give them a bit of an emotional lift, but our game plan doesn't change from what it would be if he wasn't playing," Bruins forward Reilly Smith said. "Stick to what has been successful for us so far and try to come up with the same result we've had the last two games."

Update #17: Surprisingly, while NHL.com's Dan Rosen posited a profile of Bergeron (ditto for the Boston Globe's Matt Pepin, the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy, WEEI's DJ Bean, ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald [whose "What To Watch For" article regarding tonight's game is repetitive], CBS Boston and Boston.com's Zuri Berry), BostonBruins.com's Jess Isner wrote a great Wings morning skate article:

"It’s interesting — you’re talking about scoring goals, but to me, the things they did better than us — they played better defense than us,” Babcock said. “They kept us on the outside. They were quicker. We talk about being quicker than them — they were quicker than us last game, for sure. They were harder and more detailed to play against. We weren’t any of those things.”

“We need to be good defensively. If we’re good defensively, we’ll have the puck way more than we [did] last game. Last game, we lost 3-0. We were random on our sort-outs. We weren’t hard to play against.” If you don’t play well without it, you don’t have it very much. You don’t get to play with it.”

That being said, Babcock would like to see more out of veteran winger Johan Franzen, who has been known for amping up his game come playoff time but has been quiet of late, registering just eight points and a minus-5 rating in his last 21 games.

“We need him to be a force,” Babcock said. “We need him to get on the inside and compete for space net-front and be a factor. It’s interesting — each and every year, when you go through these as a scorer, you can often be kept off the score sheet for a period of time, and sometimes, the role players pick you up and then you get going. But you got to play a long time in the playoffs for other people to be able to pick you up. Otherwise, you got to get started on time, and sometimes, for us, let’s face it: We counted on our kids to get us in. We really counted on them to score, and we need some other guys to help them out right now while they find their way.”

Whether it comes from the veterans or the young guns, the Red Wings all know that they need a pick-up from someone right now.

“I don’t think you can just point your finger at age, or at one category — offense, defense, goaltending,” Smith said. “I don’t think you can point at anybody. You point at the team, and it’s a team game, and the thing about hockey is that you feed off each other and momentum swings and stuff like that.” That’s something that we have to create even [more] as a squad, and [Zetterberg’s] going to help for sure, [possibly] coming into the lineup. But we can’t just be sitting back and watching Z. We got to play our game and contribute and play well in that sense. So that’s something that we want to do. We want to get more momentum swings on our side so that we end up winning this game.”

Update #18: The CP's Stephen Whyno wrote a telling game-day article...

When Henrik Zetterberg aggravated a back injury at the Olympics, Zdeno Chara was there to lend a helping hand. As the two captains of their national and NHL teams left Sochi, Zetterberg went to reach for his backpack only to be told by Chara that he wouldn't let him carry it. Zetterberg recently called Chara part of his rehab.

"He was obviously in severe pain," Chara said Thursday. "Just tried to help out as best I could."

Two months ago Chara did his part in helping Zetterberg, but now the Boston Bruins defenceman will likely be tasked with trying to stop the Detroit Red Wings forward in his return. All signs point to Zetterberg playing in Game 4 Thursday as the Red Wings try to tie their Atlantic Division semifinal series at two games apiece.

Zetterberg did line rushes with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader and took his spot on the first power-play unit. his participation in Game 4 was awaiting clearance from doctors and pre-game warm-ups, but teammates liked what they saw out of the 33-year-old.

"I think he's kind of raring to go," Abdelkader said. "He's been looking really good for the last while. It'd be a huge boost, getting our captain back, kind of unexpectedly."

Zetterberg last played an NHL game Feb. 8 and reinjured his back while playing for Sweden at the Olympics. He managed to get through just one game before the herniated disk forced him out for the remainder of the tournament.

"He wanted to go there and play," Swedish teammate and Bruins forward Loui Eriksson said. "He was in his room all the time after the first game. It's tough."

And Bruins Daily posted a Game 4 preview.

Update #19: Finally, as CSNNE's Joe Haggertyakked up Bergeron, here's Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner's game-day update:

"That would be huge," Wings rookie forward Tomas Tatar said. "Z would be a huge impact for us, and maybe he's the guy who can bring more offense to the team and spread the lines out a little bit more."

Center Darren Helm, who has had major back issues of his own, can relate to Zetterberg's plight. When asked if he's surprised that Zetterberg could return from surgery after only two months, Helm replied:

"I'm not surprised by anything that guy does. He's unbelievable. He's a machine. ... He's worked hard to be in this spot for a chance to play tonight."

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Comments

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

Just the spark I think we needed.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 04/24/14 at 09:54 AM ET

Zqto's avatar

Zetterberg skating on a line with Datsyuk and Abdelkader. Bert with Sheahan and Tatar. Franzen, Helm, Nyquist. Legwand, Glendening, Miller

I like this a lot, but how come Zetts is playing “limited time”, and training on the top line?
That doesn’t make any sense to me
I doubt he will play less than 10 min tonight

Posted by Zqto on 04/24/14 at 09:54 AM ET

Alzy's avatar

If the ship is going down, then it’s fitting the Captain goes down with it. Though I’m thinking this is exactly what the good guys need, their captain to put the team on his surgically repaired back and show them just what it takes to win NHL playoff games.

Home Keys better be on high alert though. If any Bruin so much as looks at Hank wrong, Abdelkader has to step in and do something about it, same with the serial killer. Bertuzzi and Abdelkader should know exactly what their roles are for tonight.

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 04/24/14 at 10:04 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Only problem I have with Bert in the lineup is he and Hank are out of shape, which will put a lot of pressure on the other 10 forwards to hold down the fort.  Honestly, tho, Jurco could probably pull the piano for Hank and Pav better than Abby.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/24/14 at 10:05 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Not thrilled with no Jurco but he’ll bounce back stronger, and Bertuzzi’s presence is needed due to physicality of series.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/24/14 at 10:06 AM ET

Avatar

Kids’ inexperience showed so far in the series, so I don’t mind Bert for Jurco. Plus, he is a net front presence on the PP.

Posted by George0211 on 04/24/14 at 10:10 AM ET

Avatar

Not sure about Bert’s impact unless he makes it absolutely clear to the Bruins that anybody trying to run Z will have to answer to him. TIme for this polite crap to end.

If any of their goons, and they have a few, try to hurt Z, then the team needs to step up to the plate. If not….“heartless” would be too kind a word in describing this team.

Posted by NewfieWing on 04/24/14 at 10:17 AM ET

Avatar

Ouellet would be a welcome addition to the blue line, especially on the PP. He can replace Lashoff who has, for his size, not shown the snarl needed against Boston and he is not fast enough to play any other way.

Anything would help in trying to make that pathetic power play work. Otherwise, they may as well decline it, as it merely sucks the lifeblood out of the team and eats up valuable minutes.

And, Babs, while you are making some changes, replace Howie with Gus, especially if he lets in another couple of bad goals before the game is 10 minutes old. His gaffes are the other reason this team is sucking air.

Having said that, it is also time for the team to develop some collective spirit and play determined hockey….not the heartless, tentative crap we saw in the last couple of games.

Posted by NewfieWing on 04/24/14 at 10:24 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Expanding on Niyo:

Referees:
23-Brad Watson     <===========
12-Justin St. Pierre

Linesmen:
50-Scott Cherrey
71-Brad Kovachik

[Still waiting on the refs stats.  I’ll post them as soon as possible.  “Injuries and officiating,” sayeth HTT.]

Having Zata and his epic Viking beard back is a boost.  Really need a leader on the ice.

Go Wings.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 04/24/14 at 10:28 AM ET

Avatar

Say what you will about bertuzzi, this very well may be his last chance in Detroit. Last at a cup, and possibly at the NHL.

Posted by neffernin on 04/24/14 at 10:31 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Anything would help in trying to make that pathetic power play work.

Well, then, I suspect you’d rather have Almquist.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/24/14 at 10:33 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

Just the presence of Captain Hank’s beard alone might intimidate some of the Bruin’s younger players.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 04/24/14 at 10:35 AM ET

SK77's avatar

And, Babs, while you are making some changes, replace Howie with Gus, especially if he lets in another couple of bad goals before the game is 10 minutes old. His gaffes are the other reason this team is sucking air.

Posted by NewfieWing on 04/24/14 at 11:24 AM ET

Yep. The team is made up of such little bitches that when they see they’re down a goal or two they completely go fetal. Fuchin’ Howard.

Posted by SK77 on 04/24/14 at 10:37 AM ET

SYF's avatar

[Source.]
Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings - Game 4 – 8:00pm

NHL Referee - Brad Watson #23
3.8 minor penalties per game
10.9 PIM per game
Record: BOS 2-1, DET 2-2
Favors home team (14.2% more minors on road team)
Home win %: 46.5%
Average minors by team:
BOS 1.2, Opponents 1.8
(57.1% more calls on Opp)
DET 2.6, Opponents 1.9
(28.6% fewer calls on Opp)

NHL Referee - Justin St. Pierre #12
3.7 minor penalties per game
10.4 PIM per game
Record: BOS 2-2, DET 1-4
Favors home team (16.3% more minors on road team)
Home win %: 52.0%
Average minors by team:
BOS 1.9, Opponents 1.8
(6.7% fewer calls on Opp)
DET 2.1, Opponents 2.0
(4.8% fewer calls on Opp)

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 04/24/14 at 10:41 AM ET

Avatar

Jurco for Bertuzzi? And someone else has to sit if Z plays…but Alfredsson wasn’t in and they’ve already scratched Andersson. And Ouellet will play but Kindl and Lashoff were still practicing?

What the hell is going on?

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 04/24/14 at 10:50 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Lines were simple:

Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Abdelkader
Franzen-Helm-Nyquist
Bertuzzi-Sheahan-Tatar
Miller-Glendening-Legwand.

No Jurco, no Andersson.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/24/14 at 10:56 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

How much does Z look like Rollo?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/24/14 at 10:56 AM ET

Avatar

How much does Z look like Rollo?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/24/14 at 11:56 AM ET

Almost identical, only Rolo is much taller.

Posted by George0211 on 04/24/14 at 10:57 AM ET

perfection's avatar

It may not work, but Sheahan and Bert on the same line is intriguing for sure. Could open some ice for Tats. Those are two big dudes.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/24/14 at 11:05 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Bertuzzi confirms he is in. On line with Sheahan and Tatar.

Well, Bert better channel his inner Serial Killer tonight, otherwise giving up Jurco’s speed and tenacity for Bert’s net-front presence on the 2nd PP unit doesn’t seem like a very good trade-off to me.

As far as Hank is concerned, let’s hope he has a better grasp of his overall condition than he had when he decided he was healthy enough to play in the Olympics.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 04/24/14 at 11:07 AM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

I think no Alfie probably pushed Z’s timetable up a game. We need the veteran presence from him. Bert probably got the nod because of Z. Keep the flies off so to speak. Z just might be the spark we need.
I’m excited. cheese

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 04/24/14 at 11:15 AM ET

Avatar

I bet you Babcock and Jurco had a heart-to-heart when this decision was made. You never see Babcock say stuff like that (“I lost sleep over this decision”). I think it is because Jurco has earned his keep and Babcock is making a decision to take a guy out who hasn’t lost his spot. I think it’s a matchup thing. They want to get a bigger lineup and hopefully tap into some veteran savvy.

I’d imagine Babcock (or possibly a different coach or teammate) told Jurco not to hang his head. You never know with the young guys - how are they going to respond to this kind of adversity? For that reason, it’s important to make sure the kid isn’t destroyed by this. So someone’s gotta go give him some love and tell him to keep his head up and keep doing what he’s doing.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/24/14 at 11:17 AM ET

Zqto's avatar

I erupt when I see him on the ice

WAT??

Anyway, I agree with NewfieWing, if anyone takes liberties with Z, the entire team needs to help, and I dont care who is on the ice at the time, he needs to go for it even if it means getting a beating.
Everyone is giving Smith crap, but I think he really did the right thing there, when he roughed up with Chara
No need to get into a fight, but at least show that you are not afraid, otherwise they will continue to bully us the entire series

Posted by Zqto on 04/24/14 at 11:23 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

If we believe what the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell is reporting, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg may end up skating in Game 4 between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings this evening


So it looks like Bertuzzi is in and Jurco and Andersson will be scratched. And Alfredsson not in.

The Playoffs are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. wink

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 04/24/14 at 11:29 AM ET

cementslinger's avatar

Well, Bert better channel his inner Serial Killer tonight, otherwise giving up Jurco’s speed and tenacity for Bert’s net-front presence on the 2nd PP unit doesn’t seem like a very good trade-off to me.

As far as Hank is concerned, let’s hope he has a better grasp of his overall condition than he had when he decided he was healthy enough to play in the Olympics.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 04/24/14 at 12:07 PM ET

So far speed and tenacity has only scored, what, 2 goals in three games all the while, the Wings offered no net front presence. Times like this is where Homer is missed greatly.  Add in protection for Z, I don’t see anything negative about this change up.

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 04/24/14 at 11:37 AM ET

perfection's avatar

Bert isn’t “protecting” Z unless he’s on a line with Z. People seem to forget that all the time. There was a time Probie played on a line WITH Yzerman and McSorely played WITH Gretzky, but the main reason its totally failed logic to keep a 4th line fighter to “protect” or “keep flies” off someone like Pav and Z is they would never actually play with Pav or Z and therefore could do nothing to anyone taking liberties with them.

I guess Bert is a bit different and the fact that Z hasn’t played in months maybe means they both could end up on a third line together or something, but my point is I highly highly doubt Babs is bringing in Bert to protect Z as much as to actually get in Rask’s grill. I sure don’t remember him saying a peep about lack of physicality or getting bullied having anything to do with our losses. In fact, in regards to Marchant, he said “ignore him” and he focused all of his comments on SHOTS. Because that’s what we need tonight, twice as many shots. Can Z and Bert help do this? We will see. Definitely something to lose sleep over. Basically, if we win Babs made the right moves and if we lose he didn’t.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/24/14 at 11:51 AM ET

Avatar

Perfection, there is still always the chance that if someone on Boston takes liberties against Z, the next shift he may find Bertuzzi on the ice to deal with the response.

That said, I don’t really think Bertuzzi is an enforcer, even if he has an edge and is big and strong.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/24/14 at 11:55 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I dig Bert being in.  It tends to be obnoxious to try the same things over and over, only to see the same result, and the results have been pretty similar in the first 3 games - no goal scoring.  Swapping Jurco for Bert is a big change - we’ll see.

Posted by TreKronor on 04/24/14 at 11:56 AM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

Solid lines. Would have preferred Jurco in over Legwand, but maybe that’s just me.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 04/24/14 at 12:07 PM ET

perfection's avatar

there is still always the chance that if someone on Boston takes liberties against Z, the next shift he may find Bertuzzi on the ice to deal with the response.

I sure hope not, because if we are playing tit-for-tat hockey and retribution is on our minds instead of Babs’ system, we are done. That’s Bruins hockey. The only game we won, we did so by making the Bruins play Wings’ hockey. If the goal here is to answer their goonery, we are essentially throwing in the towel.

But again, I think that’s the fans perception and not Babcock’s. I think he wants Bert in for leadership, net front, and our brand of physicality which is between the whistles and playing STRONG with the puck, not taking runs or responding to Boston’s runs. I’m sorry, I know its hard to watch them just take it and not respond, but that is the only way we can win. Our team is not built to play that game. And the second Boston gets under our skin (a la Brendan Smith), the second they know they’ve got us right where they want us.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/24/14 at 12:39 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I think he wants Bert in for leadership, net front, and our brand of physicality which is between the whistles and playing STRONG with the puck, not taking runs or responding to Boston’s runs.

Exactly.  Bertuzzi isn’t a fighter anyways - his face alone wins fights, basically.  smile

Posted by TreKronor on 04/24/14 at 12:46 PM ET

Avatar

I agree, perfection. The minute the team starts retaliating after the whistle (unless it’s because the Bruins ran/took liberties on Howard) is the death knell. Wings have to stick to their game like in game one.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/24/14 at 12:50 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

So all the Wings players are talking about how they can’t wait to see him back on the ice.  But if Z can’t make it tonight, is the team going to feel deflated?  Is there much air in that balloon right now anyways?

Posted by TreKronor on 04/24/14 at 01:35 PM ET

Avatar

For that reason, it’s important to make sure the kid isn’t destroyed by this.

^^^One of the reasons having a bunch of kids in the lineup ‘early’ can be a big negative.

Anyway, if Z’s only at 80% (which I have a hard time imagining he can surpass), I don’t know exactly how much of a difference it can make. Best case, his return gives Detroit a little extra early hop and the chance they can get an early lead nudges upwards a smidge.

I don’t think Detroit has played appreciably worse either in style or effort between games 1, 2 or 3… it’s just that Boston has played better and better as the series has gone on.  Howard gave up softies in games 2 and 3, and there’s not all that much room for error to begin with.  Detroit’s a Rask softie away from tonight being a game to avoid being swept.

Detroit’s got to get something incredibly unexpected in their favor from somewhere on the rosters to win tonight.  A crazy game from Nyquist or Franzen or someone, a wild hot streak from Howard, Rask channeling Fleury, something like that.  If both rosters play to expectations, Boston is going to win 80% or more of the games.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/24/14 at 01:40 PM ET

Avatar

it’s important to make sure the kid isn’t destroyed by this. So someone’s gotta go give him some love and tell him to keep his head up and keep doing what he’s doing.

That’s what they did after they sent him down Jan. 1 and he didn’t get to play in either outdoor game, while Glendening played in both.  He came back a better player a few games later, too.

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/24/14 at 01:43 PM ET

Avatar

Detroit’s got to get something incredibly unexpected in their favor from somewhere on the rosters to win tonight.  A crazy game from Nyquist….

When did you join the Nyquist bandwagon?

If both rosters play to expectations, Boston is going to win 80% or more of the games.

What context are you basing this on? a 67% winning percentage by Boston in the playoff series (2-1), the 25% winning percentage from the regular season (1-3) or the 50% combined winning percentage (3-3)? Or is this 80% figure out of your bum hole?

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 04/24/14 at 03:06 PM ET

Avatar

I agree with pretty much everything HiHD said there.

The 80% figure is reasonable to me. If both teams played at their absolute best, as constructed right now, I do think the winning percentage for Boston is somewhere between 67% and 80%. The 80% number thrown out by HiHD isn’t that outrageous, even if it is on the high end of my range. If Boston plays as they did in games two and three, do you think Detroit, even playing its best game, wins either game?

The Wings need to focus on details and making good defensive plays. Games two-four last year against Chicago were just that - the Wings frustrated Chicago’s best players and rendered them pretty ineffective and won some low-scoring games. Corey Crawford isn’t Tuuka Rask. So that means Detroit’s got to do the same thing but they have to beat a better goalie to do so.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/24/14 at 04:41 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Anyway, I agree with NewfieWing, if anyone takes liberties with Z, the entire team needs to help,

Yannow it’s gonna happen. The Douchebag switch has already been flipped.  To many of the ner do well, “Look Ma, Ima hockey player!” types on the bROONZ to let this opportunity go by. Just playoff hockey yannow….... 

Help wanted: Serial Killers Need Apply.

LGRW !!!!!

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, with 3 fingers of rum & a cigar.. on 04/24/14 at 05:42 PM ET

Crater's avatar

Detroit’s a Rask softie away from tonight being a game to avoid being swept.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/24/14 at 02:40 PM ET

Swept? I was under the impressing we won game 1.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 04/24/14 at 06:40 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Swept? I was under the impressing we won game 1.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 04/24/14 at 07:40 PM ET

He means that if Rask hadn’t let in that softie in Game 1 then the Wings would probably be down 3-0 right now. Sad but true.

Posted by SK77 on 04/24/14 at 06:42 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.