Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Predators game-day updates: Johan Franzen’s a ‘game-time decision’, but Mule says he’s in

Updated 10x with the Wings' game-day video at 4:06 PM: The Detroit Red Wings still face a must-win situation against the Nashville Predators tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM) despite defeating the Los Angeles Kings last night, and at least initially, the morning skate gave no indications as to Johan Franzen's status for this evening...

As MLive's Khan noted in a 7 AM notebook article, Todd Bertuzzi's ready to go if Franzen isn't:

The Detroit Red Wings certainly don't expect Todd Bertuzzi to be in midseason form if he returns Thursday, not after missing 11 weeks with back and leg issues. But, his size, his hands around the net and, if it comes down to it, his moves in the shootout will help a team that has had trouble scoring.

“Bert has been a huge loss for us,'' teammate Daniel Cleary said. “First thing he's going to bring is another voice in the locker room. He brings experience and calmness on the bench, and then you factor in his play and his size. Obviously, he hasn't played the whole season, so it's going to take some time.''

After Wednesday's morning skate, Bertuzzi was confident he'd be available for Thursday's home finale vs. Nashville.

“I’m ready to go (Thursday),'' Bertuzzi said. “I really wanted to play (Wednesday vs. Los Angeles), but I needed to skate hard with Tom (assistant coach Renney). I needed to do one-on-one drills with the defensemen. I needed to get some pushing and shoving down low. I needed to get cross-checked in the back. I needed to be able to spin off and needed to be able to stop and start and take off with the puck.

“Having my third visit to the doctor, I needed to make sure I tested it properly and got it taken care of. The last thing I wanted to do was for them to take a fresh guy out and have me play one period because something didn’t go right. The team is bigger than any individual.''

Go figure: this quip about EA Sports' NHL 14 Cover Vote was re-Tweeted from the Predators' account...

If you're keeping score at home, Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski reports that the folks at SportsClubStats.com now estimate that the Wings have a 78% chance of making the playoffs...

And, per the Tennessean's Josh Cooper, the Tennessean actually posted an editorial about the Predators' difficult season, and he reported that the Predators made a lineup tweak:

Cue the press release from the Predators (and Cooper confirms):

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled forward Joonas Rask (YOH-nuhs RASK) from Milwaukee (AHL), while assigning forwards Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson to the Admirals.

Rask, 23 (3/24/90), notched a goal and an assist in his first and only AHL game on April 19 against Charlotte. He joined Milwaukee on April 11 after completing his fourth season in the Finnish Elite League with Jokerit, where he posted 10 points (5g-5a) in 52 games. The 5-10, 176-pound defensive and face-off specialist was Nashville's seventh choice, 198th overall (seventh round), in the 2010 Entry Draft and is the younger brother of Boston Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask.

Watson has appeared in six games for Nashville since his first career recall on April 7. He scored his first NHL goal in Tuesday night’s win over Calgary. Forsberg notched his first career point/assist in his fourth NHL game on Tuesday.

In other news, ESPN's Scott Burnside reports that the Blue Jackets are well aware of their must-win situation as they preapre to face the Stars tonight given that a Wings regulation-or-OT win plus a Blue Jackets loss doled out by the Dallas Stars would yield a playoff spot for the Wings:

"We're all very aware of what needs to happen for us and what's going on," [Blue Jackets defensejan Jack] Johnson said. But, he added, "we have to win our last two games. At the end of the day, that's all we can control."

Detroit's win moved the Red Wings ahead of Columbus into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 52 points, one more than the Blue Jackets. The Minnesota Wild are still in the mix, one point ahead of Detroit, while Dallas (48 points) has the biggest challenge of those still in the hunt for a postseason berth.

All four teams have two games remaining, including Thursday's now-monster clash between Columbus and Dallas in Big D. The fact that both the Stars and Blue Jackets can still discuss the postseason at this late date is something of a minor miracle and adds an upbeat backdrop to Thursday's game.

If the Wings do make the playoffs, ESPN Chicago's Scott Rogers rather delicately suggested that the Chicago Blackhawks would welcome that match-up...

The two rivals have met in 15 playoff series throughout their history. The Blackhawks hold an 8-7 series advantage. They've played in four playoffs series in the last 25 years. The Blackhawks are 4-0-0 against the Red Wings this season.

The Red Wings do still have some work to do to remain in the playoffs. There are four teams still fighting over two remaining playoff spots in the Western Conference, and all four still have a shot at facing the Blackhawks in the opening round.

The Red Wings can move closer to securing a spot with a win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars also meet in a key game on Thursday. The Blue Jackets can move back into the eighth spot with a win coupled with a Red Wings' regulation loss. The Stars need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Minnesota Wild could also clinch a playoff spot with a Blue Jackets' regulation loss.

Here's a closer look at all four of the Blackhawks' potential first-round opponents with their records, ROW (regulation + overtime wins, which is used as a tiebreaker), remaining games and best-and-worst-case scenarios.

  • Wild, 25-18-3, 53 points (seventh place): 21 ROW, two games remaining (vs. Edmonton Friday, at Colorado on Saturday), best case (57 points, fifth place), worst case (53 points, out of the playoffs)
  • Red Wings, 22-16-8, 52 points (eighth place): 20 ROW, two games remaining (vs. Nashville on Thursday, at Dallas on Saturday), best case (56 points, seventh place), worst case (50 points, out of the playoffs)
  • Blue Jackets, 22-17-7, 51 points: 17 ROW, two games remaining (at Dallas on Thursday, vs. Nashville on Saturday), best case (55 points, seventh place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)
  • Stars, 22-20-4, 48 points: 20 ROW, two games remaining (vs. Columbus on Thursday, vs. Detroit on Saturday), best case (52 points, eighth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)

According to USA Today's Kevin Allen, Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk is likely to earn a nominaton for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward--again--but Allen does not believe that Datsyuk will win the award:

SELKE TROPHY (TOP DEFENSIVE FORWARD)

The big three this season appear to be Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, Toews and Boston's Patrice Bergeron.

But the trendy pick might be Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jay McClement, a superb penalty killer and relentless defensive zealot.

Every year, the debate is whether the intent of this award is to honor the league's best two-way forward or the third-liner who dedicates his career to defensive work. In other words, should it go to a defensive-minded star or role player?

If a voter chooses the latter, McClement would be a strong choice. If it's the former, the big three would be favored. Maybe Toews wins the award as the consolation prize for falling just short in Hart voting.

Who decides the winner: PHWA members

My picks

1. Toews. 2. Bergeron. 3. McClement. 4. Datsyuk. 5. Frans Nielsen, Islanders

Amongst Wings play-by-play man Ken Kal's game notes:

And in the FYI department:

The morning skate ended quickly, and after posting the following, St. James and the Wings' beat writers headed into the Wings' locker room...

Urgh:

It would also be swell if I could embed NHL.com's Brian Hedger's Tweets, but he blocked me for some reason (???).

I have had trouble with hip flexor issues since I was a teenager, so my guess is that his hip flexors flared up.

Update #0.5: Yup, game-time decision:

D'oh!

This is to be expected given the fourth line's play last night:

Update #1: Well, Franzen says he's playing:

As we all know, however, the player tends not to make the final decision. The trainers have to clear him.

And at the other end of the ice...

Update #2: This quip from the Hockey News's Ken Campbell qualifies as, "Throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks":

• Received a tweet from a reader asking me what I thought the Detroit Red Wings could get in return for Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg if they decided to trade them. I dismissed it outright and I still don’t think the Red Wings would ever do it, but regardless of whether they make the playoffs or not, should it not be something they consider? They have more than $11 million in cap space for next season and that, combined with what they could get in return for those two players if they traded them at the draft, would set the Red Wings rebuild up quite nicely, don’t you think? Zetterberg does not have a no-trade clause and Datsyuk has a partial no-trade, so it could be done. Again, doubt the Red Wings would ever do it, but they owe it to themselves to consider it.

No, no they don't.

Update #3: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness has already penned a morning skate update...

Wings GM Ken Holland texted that it looks like Franzen is playing, but the final decision won’t come until after warmups. Franzen did not take part in the optional skate.

If Franzen can’t play, Todd Bertuzzi will dress. However, if Franzen plays Bertuzzi will sit according to Wings coach Mike Babcock.

“We just have to prepare for the process here tonight,” Babcock said about playing the Nashville Predators. “We’re playing a team that has a bunch of kids that got called up and are playing well. They get (Mike) Fisher back here tonight. They’re going to play hard. The last time we played them it took us 57 minutes to get to Franzen’s goal to give us some breathing room and I expect the same tonight. Pekka Rinne always gives us a tough time so we’ll have to get to him.

“Last night you were playing the Stanley Cup champions and tonight you’re playing a team that’s out of the playoffs,” Babcock added. “No disrespect to them, but that sometimes effects your mindset and we can’t let that happen.
Nashville has played us hard each and every night I’ve been here and has beaten us a bunch so we have to be prepared and start on time.”

As did MLive's Ansar Khan...

Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen said he expects to play in tonight's home finale against the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena.

Franzen did not play in the final six minutes of Wednesday's 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings due to an undisclosed injury. But, he said he feels much better now.

Coach Mike Babcock said if Franzen plays then Todd Bertuzzi will not be in the lineup. Bertuzzi has been cleared to play. Babcock said there are no lineup changes from Wednesday.

Update #4: The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that Franzen was emphatically stating that he'd play tonight:

"I'm playing," Franzen said. He opted to sit on the bench for the waning minutes of the Los Angeles game "just to get a little rest. No need to play those last minutes. I thought I'd get off and use the rest. That's it."

Never one to get effusive, Franzen didn't have much to say about his hot streak, which has seen him pump 19 points into his last 21 games.

"It's probably the way we're playing," he said. "We're playing with more desperation and getting more pucks to the net, and that's usually where I hang out. So it's probably most the way we've been playing lately. It suits me a lot better when we play a straight game and are getting pucks to the net, and we know what everyone is doing out there. It's a lot easier to play."

Coach Mike Babcock said that if Franzen plays, forward Todd Bertuzzi won't. So in other words, there won't be any changes to the lineup tonight.

The Wings can extend their 21-season playoff streak if they win tonight and if Dallas beats Columbus. The Wings also can clinch if they get one more point than Columbus.

"It's been a different season for us," Franzen said. "It's a good experience for the whole team. We'll come out stronger from it, I think. We're really starting to play stronger at the end here, when we have to, and hopefully, we can continue to do that the last few games here."

Update #5: Twitter potpourri time:

For the record, Jake Coreau is in Detroit, and he's Tweeting...Some odd stuff...

Also in the prospect department, the Grand Rapids Griffins open their 1st round playoff series against the Houston Aeros with games in Houston on Friday and Sunday, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner notes that a disgruntled Wing has aided the Griffins' cause:

The Griffins, who open at Houston on Friday in their first postseason appearance in three seasons, could use the veteran skill of Mursak, a right winger who leads the team with a plus-minus of 15 in just 23 games.

But Mursak is likely in his last season with the organization. The 25-year-old was sent down by the Red Wings in February after two games and an injured collarbone. With a glut of young frontline players in Grand Rapids and Detroit, and with his contract up, he acknowledged the writing’s on the wall.

So, what’s best for Grand Rapids? Does coach Jeff Blashill give more ice time to prospects to gain valuable experience, or use a lame duck player such as Mursak to try and win the Calder Cup?

“We play guys who will give us the best chance to win,” Blashill said. “Prospects have to earn their spots, just like everyone.”

Mursak has earned his spot, the coach said.

“When he came down and we talked, he said he wanted to win and would do everything he could to put us in the best position to win,” Blashill said. “He has done that.”

...

“I always like coming here, but I wish I was still in Detroit,” he said. “It was hard for the first week or two. My energy level was low because I was kind of disappointed, but the past month and a half, I’ve been feeling really good. I just want to win here and get a cup here.”

Update #6: Whaaaat?

And here's Khan's morning skate report:

The Red Wings, who've had trouble scoring this season, desperately need Franzen's offense. And the big forward is playing his best hockey of the season.

Franzen has six goals in his past six games and 11 points (including five assists) in his past 11 games. He attributed his surge to the team's desperation, as it battles to make the playoffs.

"Probably (has to do with) the way we're playing,'' Franzen said. "We're playing with more desperation and getting more pucks in front of the net. That's usually where I hang out. So it's mostly the way we've been playing lately.''

He seems to need a fire lit under him to get the best out of him.

"it suits me a lot better when we play a straighter game and get pucks to the net,'' Franzen said. "You know what everyone is doing out there and it's a lot easier to play.''

Update #7: Via RedWingsFeed, here's Wings coach Mike Babcock's morning skate presser:

Update #8: MLive's Ansar Khan penned a second game-day article, noting that the Wings face a classic "let-down game" situation against a non-playoff opponent after playing Los Angeles, and we all know that the Wings have tended to play "down" to the level of their opponents:

“For us, the main issue is take care of our own business,'' Detroit's Niklas Kronwall said. “We cannot rely on what other teams do. We have to make sure that we’re ready to go tonight and that we’re going after two points.  Just go after them the way we have the last two games.''

Johan Franzen called it a different kind of season, having to battle until the end to make the playoffs.

“It's a good experience for the whole team,'' Franzen said. “Just going to come out stronger for it. Really starting to play well here at the end when we have to and hopefully we can continue doing that the last two games.''

...

“Last night you were playing the Stanley Cup champions (3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings) and tonight you’re playing a team that’s out of the playoffs,'' Babcock said. “No disrespect to them, but that sometimes affects your mindset and we can’t let that happen. Nashville has played us hard each and every night I’ve been here and has beaten us a bunch so we have to be prepared and start on time.''

The Red Wings are 7-2-2 in the second game when playing on back-to-back nights.

“Playing it simple, I think, and doing what we do … paying a lot of attention to the details of the game,'' Kronwall said. “For some reason we’ve had a lot of energy in these games and hopefully we can continue that tonight.”

Goaltender Jimmy Howard attributed the success to playing a safe, simple game

"Not being cute with it,'' Howard said. “Getting it in, just going to work, playing simple hockey. I think that's been the key for us in back-to-back games this year.''

Shifting gears, the Red Wings' game-day blog offers a historical note...

On This Day in Red Wings History...On April 25, 1988

The Wings take a 3-1 series lead over St. Louis with a 3-1 win, and Petr Klima scores his 10th goal of the playoffs, breaking the franchise record that was held by Gordie Howe.

And Ken Kal's keys to the game...

Fight The Fatigue - This will be the third game in four nights for Detroit. The last two games were like playoff contests. Be mentally tough.

Keep Playing Solid Defense - Detroit has allowed just two goals in their last three games. Jimmy Howard has been solid as a rock, as well. Limit the shots on goal and that will put the team in a position to win.

Be Hard on the Forecheck - Put pressure on the Nashville defense. Force them to cough up the puck and create scoring chances.

While the Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned a feature article praising Danny DeKeyser:

“He’s awesome,” Detroit forward Daniel Cleary said. “It’s impressive. I’ve been really, really impressed with him, probably more impressed with a young player than I’ve ever been.”

The addition of DeKeyser, a strong skater who makes safe, simple plays with the puck and distributes a sound first pass, is just one of the reasons why Detroit coach Mike Babcock feels much better about the puck-moving abilities of his defensive corps.

“We really feel we’re a much better team than we were months ago just because our back end is so much better,” Babcock said. “It’s not just the fact DeKeyser’s in, but (Brendan) Smith’s an improved player, and (Jakub) Kindl’s a much improved player.We feel we’ve got three sets there that move the puck pretty good for us, so we play faster than we did before.”

For his part, DeKeyser has found he’s settled in quite nicely and rather quickly as an NHL regular.

“It’s been a good two or three weeks for me here,” DeKeyser said. “I’m getting more and more confident. I feel like I’ve fit in well here. Everybody plays kind of a similar style to me and everyone thinks the game really well. It’s been a good transition for me. The guys here make it easy on me with how good they are, too.”

Oh, and about that playoff streak?

“It’s incredible how many years in a row they’ve been in,” DeKeyser said, still not quite comfortable enough as an NHLer to refer to the Wings as ‘we.’ “It’s one of the longest streaks there is in hockey. We want to keep it going, but really what we’re concerned with right now is that we want to get in this year.”

At the other side of the rink, the Tennessean's Josh Cooper continues to offer morning skate quips...

And NHL.com's Brian Hedger penned a game-day update discussing Franzen's status and positing the following prospective line-ups:

Nashville will get top center Mike Fisher back into the lineup after a hand injury after he missed the previous seven games. The Predators also sent rookie forwards Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Thursday while calling up forward Joonas Rask -- the younger brother of Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.

"Last night, [we] were playing the Stanley Cup champions and [now] you're playing a team that's out of the playoffs," Babcock said. "No disrespect to them, but that sometimes affects your mindset, and we can't let that happen. Nashville has played us hard each and every night I've been here and has beaten us a bunch, so we have to be prepared and start on time."

Chris Mason will get the start in net for Nashville (16-21-9), while Jimmy Howard will make his 14th straight start and 19th in the last 20 games for Detroit (22-16-8).

PREDATORS

Mike Fisher – David Legwand – Kevin Henderson

Sergei Kostitsyn – Nick Spaling – Joonas Rask

Bobby Butler – Chris Mueller – Matt Halischuk

Richard Clune – Craig Smith – Daniel Bang

Roman Josi – Shea Weber

Victor Bartley – Kevin Klein

Hal Gill – Jonathon Blum

Chris Mason

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Taylor Beck, Chris Mason

Injured: Colin Wilson, Paul Gaustad, Gabriel Bourque, Brandon Yip, Patric Hornqvist,

RED WINGS

Henrik Zetterberg- Pavel Datsyuk – Justin Abdelkader

Valtteri Filppula – Johan Franzen – Daniel Cleary

Gustav Nyquist – Joakim Andersson – Damien Brunner

Patrick Eaves – Cory Emmerton – Todd Bertuzzi

Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey – Brendan Smith

Danny DeKeyser – Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Update #9: Here's the Tennessean's Cooper's game-day article:

If Nashville beats Detroit in regulation, the Red Wings would fail to clinch a postseason berth tonight. If the Red Wings get one more point than Columbus this evening — the Blue Jackets play the Dallas Stars tonight — then they will make the playoffs for the 22nd straight season.

The Blue Jackets have 51 points in 46 games played. The Red Wings have 52 points in 46 games. The Red Wings hold the tiebreaker.

“It’s a little bit motivation,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I think everybody is playing for next year, and for jobs and all that and pride, so if we could put a dent in them, that would be very helpful.”

Nashville will start Chris Mason in goal tonight. Mason hasn’t picked up a win since Jan. 22, the second game of the season for Nashville. Mason has started just four games this year. He has a 3.80 goals against average and .848 save percentage. In his last two starts, Mason has allowed 11 goals total.

“It’s tough getting in there, sometimes you don’t know what exactly to expect, and you don’t know how you’re going to feel until you get into the game,” Mason said. “But I felt pretty good in practice and hope to carry the feeling I had in practice to the game. Hopefully that translates well.”

Update #10: Cooper added a second update..

When Joonas Rask heard he was going to make his NHL debut tonight for the Predators against the Red Wings, he called his brother Tuukka, the starting goaltender for the Boston Bruins.

“He gave me some tips,” Joonas said. “Just like, keep your feet moving.”

Rask played one game with Nashville’s AHL affiliate in Milwaukee before being called up for Thursday’s game at Detroit. He had two points in that contest. A seventh round pick in the 2010 draft for the Predators, Rask notched 10 points in 52 games for Jokerit in the Finnish Elite League this season.

Coach Barry Trotz said the reason to recall Rask was so Nashville could take a look at the 5-foot-10, 176 pound center’s skill-set at the NHL level.

“We’ll put him in the game and just see where he’s at,” Trotz said.

Forward Filip Forsberg was sent down to Milwaukee on Thursday to play in the Admirals’ Friday playoff game against the Texas Stars.

Trotz said Forsberg would return for the Predators’ Saturday game at the Columbus Blue Jackets. If Forsberg had played in more than five games, he would have burned a year off his entry-level contract. Forsberg will end up with five games total.

And, oddly enough, the Predators' website announced that Bobby Butler and Craig Smith have joined Team USA's roster for the World Championships.

On the Wings' side of the ice, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose penned a game preview...

“We just have to prepare for the process here tonight,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, following his team’s optional skate this morning. “We’re playing a team that has a bunch of kids that got called up and are playing well. They get (Mike) Fisher back here tonight. They’re going to play hard.”

Thursday’s game will be the last time that the Wings and Predators will meet as Central Division rivals. The Red Wings are scheduled to move to the Eastern Conference next season, while the Predators will remain in the Western Conference. The playoff race is coming down to a sprint as four teams – the Red Wings, Wild, Blue Jackets and Stars – jockey for the final two spots in the West.

The Predators can make friends in Ohio, Texas and Minnesota if they can squeak out a victory in Detroit. The Red Wings (52 points) are one-point behind Minnesota, who holds down the No. 7 seed, and a point ahead of Columbus. Dallas is the 10th seed, and on life-support, with 48 points and two games remaining, including the season-finale against the Red Wings at American Airlines on Saturday night.

Nashville has gone 1-7-1 in its last nine games while being badly out-scored 31-16. Eleven days ago, it took the Red Wings 57 minutes to get a Johan Franzen goal that gave them some breathing room in a 3-0 win at Bridgestone Arena.

Babcock expects a similar match-up tonight, though the Predators seemingly have nothing to play for, which became obvious this morning when it was announced that backup goalie Chris Mason would get the start against the Red Wings, instead of veteran No. 1 Pekka Rinne.

This season, Mason is 1-2-1 while allowing 14 goals on 98 shots in four starts. His last start was last week when he surrendered five goals on 18 shots in a 5-2 loss to Dallas. Still, Babcock isn’t ready to let his guard down, especially since his team is playing the second night of a back-to-back.

“Last night you were playing the Stanley Cup champions and tonight you’re playing a team that’s out of the playoffs,” Babcock said. “No disrespect to them, but that sometimes effects your mindset and we can’t let that happen. Nashville has played us hard each and every night I’ve been here and has beaten us a bunch so we have to be prepared and start on time.”

The Wings' website posted a game-day preview in which Ken Kal chats with Niklas Kronwall...

And the Detroit Free Press wants you to know that Brett Lebda is still around, preparing to play in the AHL playoffs for the Ottawa Senators' AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators.

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Comments

MoreShoot's avatar

I thought they wanted to get Bert in the lineup?  Why not give someone else a rest, especially if you want to work Bert in on bottom six for starters?

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/25/13 at 11:41 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

They have good energy and the 3 and 4 lines are playing well together.  As Bert said, the team is most important and the last thing he wants is to be a distraction.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/25/13 at 11:47 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I believe the 4th liners played too well for Babs to take ‘em out, thus the Bert-or-Mule decision.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/25/13 at 11:47 AM ET

perfection's avatar

i think because if Franzen plays and Bert goes in, then one of the fourth liners (Eaves or Tootoo) would come out and they both happened to play probably their best collective game of the year last night. And against the Preds, their grit and tenacity will be needed once again. I think in Babs’ mind it’s either one injured, big, lumbering scorer, or an older, more injured, big lumbering scorer.

I do wonder if it’s not a good idea to try and get Bert in so he can get a couple games before playoffs and, as George has pointed out several times, in case there’s a shootout. But then again, he’s old and slow even when he IS in game shape. For him to miss this kind of time and come in when the games matter this much, well, it’s probably pretty tough. I’m not sure how effective he’d actually be?

I mean, even Cleary is rounding in to playoff form. While he’s definitely been dissappointing most of the season, watching him last night reminded me that hockey is one sport where certain veterans’ value exponentially rises come playoff time. Cleary is definitely one of those wily guys who can eek out a little bit more this time of year. Hopefully he keeps it up.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/25/13 at 11:58 AM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

An out of shape Bert can’t be any worse than Cleary. Why not make him sit? I wouldn’t mess with the 3rd and 4th lines.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 04/25/13 at 11:58 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

“It’s probably the way we’re playing,” [Franzen] said. “We’re playing with more desperation and getting more pucks to the net, and that’s usually where I hang out. So it’s probably most the way we’ve been playing lately. It suits me a lot better when we play a straight game and are getting pucks to the net, and we know what everyone is doing out there. It’s a lot easier to play.

Good shit happens when you try eh Franzen?

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/25/13 at 12:21 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

You know, I’m still no fan of Franzen, but I can’t argue with the way he’s been playing the past few games.

If only he’d play like that more than, say, 25% of the season… then again, maybe his plan all along was to save himself for the Playoffs.

An out of shape Bert can’t be any worse than Cleary. Why not make him sit? I wouldn’t mess with the 3rd and 4th lines.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 04/25/13 at 11:58 AM ET

I’m convinced Cleary (or his agent) has “compromising” information on Babcock and/or Holland; there’s no other explanation for it.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 04/25/13 at 12:43 PM ET

Avatar

I thought that Franzen looked as good last night as I’ve seen him look in years…seriously. I also like keeping those 3rd and 4th lines as they are. What a shot in the fu*king arm they were last night and will need to be again tonight. No Rinne…gotta get the 2 points tonight and I’m confident that will be enough to get in.

Posted by godblender on 04/25/13 at 12:55 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

An out of shape Bert can’t be any worse than Cleary. Why not make him sit? I wouldn’t mess with the 3rd and 4th lines.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 04/25/13 at 11:58 AM ET

I am also in full agreement with sitting Cleary.

He gave it his all playing through pain last year and this year the tank seems to be empty. I think he is working as hard as his body will let him but Sadly I think he should retire.

Now that I have said that he will probably score the winning goal!

Back to back game wouldn’t hurt to have a pair of fresh legs in the lineup. Big body in front of the net and Shoot out skills.

Whoever is in the lineup, keep playing like they have and things should work out fine.

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/25/13 at 01:02 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

it seems like a no brainer to rest Cleary for the next couple games, and get Bert in the lineup.  as was already said, I doubt a rusty Bert could be any worse than Cleary, especially an apparently tired Cleary.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/25/13 at 01:04 PM ET

SYF's avatar

After the two points that the Wings must win tonight, the important thing is it’s on FSD.  w00t!

Had to mute the game last night because Olcsux was on it.  But people were telling me that when Tootoo scored the GWG last night, he was downright deflated.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/25/13 at 01:13 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Olczyk was both “deflated” and suggested that Tootoo tipped the puck in via an over-the-crossbar high stick. He also went into an anti-Kronwall rant at one point.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/25/13 at 01:18 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Random thought-

Why isn’t Franzen ever tapped for Gary’s Gimmick duty?

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 04/25/13 at 01:26 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Olczyk was both “deflated” and suggested that Tootoo tipped the puck in via an over-the-crossbar high stick. He also went into an anti-Kronwall rant at one point.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/25/13 at 01:18 PM ET

I’m tempted to write some “fan mail” to NBC questioning their choice of Oldchick as a national broadcaster; he quite obviously has bias against certain teams, especially the Wings.

For the record (as if it matters what I think), I’m completely fine with him being the resident Chigago homer—on Chicago’s broadcasts. Keep that thinly-veiled garbage out of national telecasts.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 04/25/13 at 01:38 PM ET

Soupsnake's avatar

I was cracking up when Eddie suggested that Tootoo used a high stick to deflect the puck. tootoo is like 4 feet tall and his stick was below chest level. Gimme a break.

Posted by Soupsnake from Canton, Mi on 04/25/13 at 01:50 PM ET

perfection's avatar

living in Chicago, I’ve seen a healthy share of Hawks broadcasts over the years and while I agree Olczyk’s loyalties often seem to bleed through, I can tell you he actually is significantly less of a homer on national broadcasts… believe it or not.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/25/13 at 01:50 PM ET

Avatar

Update #8 shows Bert in for Tootoo. Is that right?

I like Bert but it is kind of a shame as Tootoo had one of his best games last night. The hit on Carter alone was priceless, and then what can you say about his goal?

Posted by Wings in Nashvegas on 04/25/13 at 02:10 PM ET

Avatar

Mursak has earned his spot, the coach said.

“When he came down and we talked, he said he wanted to win and would do everything he could to put us in the best position to win,” Blashill said. “He has done that.”

“I always like coming here, but I wish I was still in Detroit,” he said. “It was hard for the first week or two. My energy level was low because I was kind of disappointed, but the past month and a half, I’ve been feeling really good. I just want to win here and get a cup here.”

Yeah, he sounds disgruntled to me.  Already turning your back on a soon-to-be former Wing before he’s even out of the organization, eh?  Typical.

As for the non-high stick, Ed said it started off as a high stick when the shot was released but Tootoo brought it down and it was below the crossbar when he made contact with the puck.  He said something like “That is certainly what they’re seeing in the war room, a good goal.”  So I don’t know what you can complain about on that particular call.

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/25/13 at 02:14 PM ET

SYF's avatar

As Jeff pointed out in his GDT, lineup card remains the same.  Bert will NOT dress tonight.

Clicky.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/25/13 at 02:14 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

As Jeff pointed out in his GDT, lineup card remains the same.  Bert will NOT dress tonight.
Clicky.
Posted by SYF from a Charlie Foxtrot of a Wings season on 04/25/13 at 02:14 PM

Henrik Zetterberg-Pavel Datsyuk-Justin Abdelkader
Johan Franzen-Valtteri Filppula-Daniel Cleary
Gustav Nyquist-Joakim Andersson-Damien Brunner
Patrick Eaves-Cory Emmerton-Jordin Tootoo

Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson (scratched)

Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith
Danny DeKeyser-Jakub Kindl
Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo, Brian Lashoff (scratched)

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson

Lovin’ the bottom two lines. I haven’t said that in a while.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/25/13 at 03:26 PM ET

Avatar

living in Chicago, I’ve seen a healthy share of Hawks broadcasts over the years and while I agree Olczyk’s loyalties often seem to bleed through, I can tell you he actually is significantly less of a homer on national broadcasts… believe it or not.

In Chicago area as well, and I wholeheartedly agree regarding Olczyk’s local broadcast homerness reaching epic levels, but it’s made interminably more annoying by the fact that his play by play partner Pat Foley is at least as bad as Olczyk.  I’d listen to Nashville’s duo of Crisp and Weber a dozen times if it kept me from listening to Olczyk and Foley once.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 04/25/13 at 04:44 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Mike Haynes and Peter McNabb.  When Forsberg was on that team, those two clowns were frequently tonguing his taint like raw.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/25/13 at 05:11 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chat/_/id/47812

Bob (Chicago)
“In your opinion, which conference has been tougher this season with the lock out..East or West?”

Scott Burnside (1:46 PM)
“Bob; No question the west. The built-in travel issues and the compressed schedule plus the fact there are more high-end teams in the conference by far. If Detroit makes it you can legitimately make a case for all eight teams in the west to go to a final. Can’t say that in the east.”

Do you believe him?

Posted by Bugsy on 04/25/13 at 07:26 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

I’d buy that we can win The Cup.  When we’re On, we’re On.  The problem is that we can’t seem to find the switch very often.  Hopefully we can win again tonight and after (hopefully) three straight quality wins, we’ll be in a positive, hard-working groove that we can ride deep into the play-offs. 

Hopefully.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 04/25/13 at 07:37 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.