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Red Wings-Blackhawks set-up: combat math

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Chicago/Versus/WXYT, and as the Tigers are playing at Comerica park today, expect parking to be expensive) hoping to extinguish the defending champs’ playoff hopes minus the services of Henrik Zetterberg, whose “lower-body injury” has taken on a life of its own, and Niklas Kronwall, whose “upper-body injury” is at least severe enough that the Wings are keeping him out of the mix for this weekend’s games.

At this time of year, it’s all about math, and as the Western Conference standings and the fact that the Hawks are coming off a controversial 4-3 OT win over St. Louis on Wednesday don’t add much context, I’ll let the Chicago Daily Herald’s Tim Sassone explain the Blackhawks’ situation:

The Blackhawks’ so-called magic number to clinch a playoff spot in the Western Conference stayed at 3 points Thursday night when Dallas beat Colorado 4-2. That’s assuming the Stars win their last two games against Colorado and Minnesota.

The Hawks close the season with two games against Detroit – Friday night at Joe Louis Arena and Sunday afternoon at the United Center.nThe Hawks are approaching the weekend as if they need to win both games against the Red Wings.

Friday night could shed some light on the crazy West race. In addition to the Hawks playing Detroit at the Joe, Dallas plays at Colorado, San Jose at Phoenix, Los Angeles at Anaheim and Columbus at Nashville.

Things get a little more complicated for Chicago after that, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Phillip Hersh notes:

Here’s the skinny on the tie-breaking procedures and permutations if the Blackhawks finish with the same number of points as Anaheim or Dallas in the Western Conference, whether 7th place or 8th (the final playoff spot) is at stake:

The first tie-breaker is greatest number of games won, excluding victories in a shootout, which the NHL calls ROW (regulation plus overtime wins).  The second is points in games between teams involved.

• Anaheim, with 41 ROW and two games remaining, beats both Chicago (37, two games remaining) and Dallas (35, three games remaining).

• If Dallas (91 points) wins its final three games without needing a shootout, the Hawks (95) would need three points from their Friday-Sunday games with Detroit.

A single Hawks win then would not be enough because both teams would have 38 ROW, and Dallas would win on the second tie-breaker, total points in the four games between the teams.  Dallas had 6 points (3 wins), Chicago 3 (one win and an overtime loss).

• Dallas must win at least two of its final three games to take the final playoff spot from the Hawks.  If the Stars win only two, the Hawks would need just one point against the Red Wings, which would give them 96 points to Dallas’ 95.

If one of the two Dallas wins came in a shootout, the Hawks could lose both games in Detroit because both teams would have 95 points but the Hawks would have 37 ROW to 36 for the Stars.

USA Today’s Mike Brehm also frames this weekend’s games mathematically—from both teams’ perspectives:

Though five division titles are settled, the San Jose Sharks or Detroit Red Wings could end up with the second seed in the Western Conference. In the East, the Philadelphia Flyers could finish anywhere from first to fourth and the Pittsburgh Penguins could go second through fifth.

The bottom half of the West playoff picture is even more jumbled, with the Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks still able to reach fourth place. The ninth-place Dallas Stars could reach as high as fifth.

“Today a team could be eighth and end up with home-ice advantage in the playoffs,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “It seems like anybody can still play anybody in the first round at this point.”
Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks and Sharks vs. Coyotes, home-and-home games: The eighth-place Blackhawks need wins because the Stars are two points behind them. If they sweep, they could end up facing the Red Wings in the first round. Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg will miss both games.

The No. 2 Sharks, one point ahead of the Red Wings, are tied with Detroit in non-shootout wins (the first tiebreaker) and hold the edge in head-to-head play (the second tiebreaker).

Playoff formulations aside, the Blackhawks have simply played inconsistently of late, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns notes…

The two points the Hawks earned Wednesday night at the United Center against the St. Louis Blues were huge. But some areas in need of ­fixing still showed up in the 4-3 overtime victory — areas that served to illustrate why there was a need for their rally in the first place. The Hawks’ recent propensity for tight play and a year-long trend of taking their foot off the gas have led to a 6-5-3 record since their eight-game winning streak. Their impotent power play — which is 1-for-17 in the last five games — also stands out. However, the Hawks were able to overcome all three deficiencies against the Blues.

“If anything, we know we can keep playing harder and better,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “We know we’re going to have to playing against ­Detroit and beyond.”

Will the Hawks’ victory against the Blues ease some of the pressure for their games against the Red Wings?

“No,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You still have a lot of interest in other games as well as our own needs. We still have a day to see how it plays out with Detroit, but . . . there are a lot of things to sort out. We’ve got different issues, and ours is to get in.”

Even though they will be without Henrik Zetterberg (lower-body injury) the next two games, the Red Wings aren’t going to roll over and let the Hawks wrap up their playoff berth during the home-and-home weekend ­series. Detroit (102 points) still has a goal, too — to surpass the San Jose Sharks (103) for second place in the Western Conference.

“The bottom line is we play a team the next two games that is doing everything they can to be in the playoffs and move up,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Thursday in Detroit. “They’re going to be tough games for us. . . . [but] I’d like to finish ahead of San Jose.”

The Hawks simply plan on both taking complete advantage of this weekend’s games while doing a little message-sending, as the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc suggests:

The Blackhawks will face a formidable — and familiar —foe as they determine their postseason fate in their final two games of the regular season.

The Stanley Cup champions kick off a home-and-home series against the Red Wings on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena and then will take on their Original Six rivals Sunday at the United Center in the finale. With the Hawks battling for a playoff berth in the Western Conference and the Wings fighting the Sharks for second in the conference, the stakes are high for both.

“It’s always a big game when we play the Wings and coming down to the last weekend is going to be huge for us,” forward Patrick Sharp said. “I don’t think it really matters who we are playing; we have to play our best.”

Captain Jonathan Toews agreed the Hawks have to take care of their own business.

“It’s about us,” Toews said. “We’ve played some good hockey against some really good teams. When we play our best, we’re right there with the top teams in either conference.”

Sharp returned to the Blackhawks’ lineup on Wednesday after missing significant time with a knee injury (Hawks coach Joel Quenneville’s openly admitted that Sharp wouldn’t be playing if the Hawks’ playoff spot was secure), but the Chicago Daily Herald’s Sassone says that Sharp acquitted himself well against St. Louis…

Sharp could be seen favoring his left knee at times, particularly after going knee-to-knee with one of the Blues in the second period, but he battled on and ended the night with some impressive numbers in almost 20 minutes of ice time with an assist, 7 shots on goal and a team high 4 hits.

Before setting up tonight’s game as follows:

The Hawks’ season comes down to the final two games, a home-and-home set with the Red Wings, just like many have been predicting it would. The Hawks are approaching the weekend like they need to win both games to get in the playoffs no matter what Dallas does in its final games against Colorado and Minnesota.

“Everything is still in our hands,” Marian Hossa said.

The Stars are the only team outside the top eight that can still make the playoffs after Calgary was eliminated on Wednesday when the Hawks and Anaheim won.

“We know we can play harder and better and we’re going to have to, playing Detroit and beyond,” defenseman Duncan Keith said.

Sassone says that the Hawks’ power play is sputtering...

The Hawks were 0-for-4 in Wednesday’s win over the Blues, including well over a minute of 5-on-3 in the first period. The Hawks’ power play is now 0-for-11 in the last three games and 1-for-17 in the last five.

“We were close to scoring (Tuesday at Montreal), but we didn’t,” Marian Hossa said. “We want to make sure we help get the momentum on the power play. That’s really important. One of the things we have to do to be successful is driving to the net. We tried to play too much outside.”
“The power play, recently, we haven’t had a lot of chances on it, but we’re getting some opportunities even though the puck isn’t going in for us,” coach Joel Quenneville said.

Maybe seeing Detroit this weekend will help. The Hawks are 6-for-15 on the power play in four games against the Red Wings this season.

And that’s not the only “math” that doesn’t favor Detroit heading into tonight’s game, as Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s Chris Boden duly notes:

It’s a nice confidence boost heading to Detroit, where they should have a good feeling anyway. They’ve won in their last four trips to Joe Louis Arena, and grabbing three of a possible four points in their final back-to-back versus the Habs and Blues can only help a psyche that almost certainly was being tested.

If you’re looking for a little more bluster from the Hawks and their outspoken press corps, the Chicago Tribune’s Dan McNeil provides it…

I don’t believe there could be a more nightmarish conclusion to any season in Blackhawks history than losing a home-and-home series to the Red Wings and missing the playoffs because of it. If the defending champs are sent off to cottage early, the colossal disappointment would eclipse those suffered in 1971 and ‘73. The Hawks lost seven-game series to the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup finals those years, bruising the egos of Hawks fans my age for a decade.

Ten months after winning Chicago’s first Cup in 49 years, the pill would be more bitter than the first-round exit in ‘91 (after winning the Presidents’ Trophy) courtesy of the North Stars. Or getting swept by the Penguins in the ‘92 finals.

And Jonathan Toews apparently delivered it in spades after the Hawks’ win on Wednesday, as noted by the Tribune’s Fred Mitchell and David Kaplan:

After the thrilling win over the Blues, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews talked to us about all the adversity the team has had to overcome this season:

“I don’t think there is anything else the old hockey gods can throw at us,” he said. “A lot of people are doubting us. We have had injuries and you can go on and on with a million excuses but … we have a talented group and a group that wants to win and has a lot of pride so when things don’t go right we are not happy about it.”

The Tribune’s Kuc got down to brass tacks in his game preview...

Series: Hawks lead 3-1.

Last meeting: Hawks won 3-2 in overtime March 28 at Detroit.

Probable goaltenders: Hawks, Corey Crawford, 32-17-6, 2.27 goals-against average; Wings, Jimmy Howard, 36-16-5, 2.76.
Storyline: The Original Six opponents will conclude the 2010-11 regular season with a home-and-home series that will have a major bearing on the Western Conference postseason picture. The Wings will be without leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg (24 goals, 56 assists), who is sidelined for the final two games with a knee injury. For the Hawks, winger Troy Brouwer (shoulder) is doubtful for Friday’s game.

As did the Daily Herald’s Sassone...

Game notes: The Hawks have won both previous games at Joe Louis Arena on the strength of 4 power-play goals. The Hawks, and Corey Crawford, have beaten Detroit three straight times since a loss in the home opener on Oct. 9. Henrik Zetterberg won’t play for the Red Wings because of an apparent knee injury.

Season series: Hawks lead 3-1

Next: Detroit Red Wings at the United Center, 11:30 a.m. Sunday

That would be 12:30 PM EDT, and, via RedWingsFeed on Twitter, NBC’s already playing the game up as a potential playoff match-up:

And NHL.com’s David Kalan provides the league’s preview of tonight’s game:

Last 10: Chicago 5-4-1; Detroit 4-4-2

Season series: Detroit took the opener of the 2010-11 season series, but since then the Hawks have won three in a row, including two straight at the Joe. Chicago took the last meeting thanks to an overtime winner from former Red Wing Marian Hossa on March 28 in Motown.

Big Story: Whether it’s in the Western Conference Finals or October, it’s always news when two of the NHL’s oldest rivals face off. As Detroit and Chicago open a home-and-home to close the season, however, this could be one of the more noteworthy occasions. While the Red Wings already have the Central Division title sealed up, the reigning Stanley Cup champs need to keep winning to get a chance at defending their crown.

This part is really important:

Red Wings: Possibly as a result of a beat-up roster, the Wings have slumped down the season’s final stretch, winning just three of their last nine games. Because of the stumble, Detroit has dropped down to the third seed in the West, but a win Friday could hop the Wings over San Jose and into the No. 2 seed. Still, the Wings have managed to clinch the division title, and the only major advantage to getting the No. 2 seed, considering they have no idea who they would face in the first round yet, is home ice in a potential second-round clash with the Sharks.

Regardless, the biggest concern almost has to be getting healthy before making a run at what could be Hockeytown’s fifth dance with Lord Stanley in the last 14 years. Several important players have missed time due to injury of late, including Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard. With Henrik Zetterberg leaving the first period of Wednesday night’s 3-0 loss to Carolina, there might be renewed focus on keeping the roster intact with a postseason berth already assured.

Who’s hot: Defenseman Brent Seabrook may be feeling a need to contribute more offensively after inking his recent contract extension. If that’s the case, he’s certainly doing his part, tallying 3 points in the last four games. … As Detroit struggles offensively, Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom and Todd Bertuzzi are doing their best to mark up the score sheet. Each of the three has 3 points in the last four games.
Stat Pack: Wednesday’s win will no doubt give the Blackhawks some added confidence, but goalie Corey Crawford could use some of it himself. Crawford has allowed three goals or more in nine of his last 15 appearances, well above his season goals-against average of 2.27.

You might think that, given the amount of content I poured into the first and second update posts regarding Henrik Zetterberg’s status (or Mike Modano’s admission to Craig Custance that he will retire if the Wings reach the Cup finals), there isn’t much to talk about Wings-wise.

For balance’s sake, however, let’s take a gander at the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell’s Zetterberg report to repeat Zetterberg’s points of emphasis, all after stating the obvious:

We know that Zetterberg’s left leg buckled under him when he was cross-checked and picked off by Hurricanes defenseman Bryan Allen on Wednesday, and that, after skating one more shift, he left the ice with Piet Van Zant, limping like he’d hurt his ankle.

We also know that Zetterberg apparently had an MRI done on whatever he injured on Thursday morning, and that when the Wings’ media corps had to wait for him to finish a workout before speaking, he was wearing a brace on his left knee, as well as (per the Detroit Examnier’s Paul Harris) some sort of compression sock on his upper thigh. He was limping, badly, as he was when he left the rink on Wednesday.

We don’t know whether he’s got an ankle sprain, one of those classically wonky “high ankle sprains,” a sprained knee, a Charley horse or some combination of the three, and, as Waddell notes, we didn’t learn anything from Zetterberg, or his coach or teammates:

“I will say it’s better than I thought,” Zetterberg said. “The only thing I know is I won’t play this weekend. We’ll go day by day and see how much better it gets.”

Zetterberg said he has had a similar injury in years past and wasn’t out that long. He said he’d absolutely be back at some point in the playoffs.

“It’s definitely more pain this time than last time, so that kind of scared me at first,” said Zetterberg, who leads the Wings in scoring with 24 goals and 80 points. “You just have to deal with it and hopefully it’ll heal fast.”

So will he be back come next Wednesday or Thursday?

“It’s a fine line, that’s why it’s day by day,” Zetterberg said. “Just got to see how everything goes. Make a decision every morning when I get in here and see how I feel. Feels a little worse today, as expected. It stiffened up a little bit. I think the next few days will be critical to see how fast I turn around and hopefully it will come sooner than later.”

The Detroit Free Press’s Carlos Monarrez picks up the story...

“Yesterday, we didn’t really know the (severity) of it,” Zetterberg said. “We just had to wait till today. I did an MRI, so it’s definitely — I will say it was better than I thought.”

The good news, Zetterberg said, is that no surgery is required — for whatever the injury might be. The bad news is that he didn’t feel great today.

“I feel a little worse today, as expected,” he said. “I stiffened up a little bit. I think the next few days will be critical to see how fast I turn around and, hopefully, it will come sooner than later.”

With the playoffs only days away, Zetterberg admitted to being frustrated about missing time.

“This is when the fun time starts,” he said. “You want to be healthy. You want to be ready to go. I will say you’re never 100% this time of year, but you want to be able to help the team.”

And, as the Detroit News’s Bob Wojnowski suggests, things got murkier from there:

The Red Wings already are in tight-lipped playoff mode, so Zetterberg officially will be listed as day to day after he misses the final two regular-season games against the Blackhawks. Actually, as Zetterberg said through a wince, “Could be day by day by day by day by day.”

Wojnowski states what needs to be re-stated—that it’s basically impossible to suggest that losing Zetterberg is any more or less severe than losing Pavel Datsyuk, because both players are two-way forwards who are nothing less than dynamic and, along with Nicklas Lidstrom, are the three players who are truly stratospheric in terms of their levels of play and leadership (though the Wings are full of pivotal figures and leaders, and Jimmy Howard’s obviously almost as pivotal a figure because of his status as the team’s go-to goaltender), so Zetterberg’s loss, however hopefully temporary, cannot be understated.

That being said, Babcock wasn’t in the mood for excuse-making, and neither was Lidstrom:

“You’re gonna face some adversity in the playoffs and this could be one you have to battle through,” Lidstrom said. “I think he’s going to be able to play, but if he can’t, someone else is gonna have to step in and take over his responsibilities.”
If you ever questioned why the chase for the Stanley Cup is considered the most physically taxing in sports, this was one nasty reminder. Sometimes you wish star players could sit out the waning days of the regular season, but there are competitive games to be played, and besides, the Wings were just starting to get their full lineup acclimated again. Babcock also noted salary-cap considerations, which prevent teams from loading their rosters with role players this time of year.

“The bottom line is, guys gotta play to get ready, and if you take it easy, you get hurt,” Babcock said. “It’s unfortunate for Z, he got bumped and got tangled up with a guy. Those things happen and we just gotta move ahead. No one’s stepping into his role, let’s get that straight. But whoever plays will have an opportunity.”

More will be asked of centers Datsyuk (who missed 26 games with an injury), Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler, Darren Helm, Mike Modano and Kris Draper. More will be demanded of a defense that has struggled to tighten up. If the Red Wings must play for a while without one of their superstars, you can bet the rest of the NHL won’t send any sympathy cards. It’s crunch time now, and this was a painful crunch. The timing is terrible, but it doesn’t have to be crushing. Zetterberg expects to be back, and it’s up to his teammates to make sure there’s a playoff run for him to join.

The same can be said for Niklas Kronwall, as it turns out, as MLive’s Ansar Khan believes that Kronwall (“upper body,” OK to go next week) won’t play (and he also notes that Babcock wasn’t willing to say whether Howard will start in Sunday’s game, or whether Joey MacDonald, who is most certainly the team’s playoff back-up netminder, will play in game #82).

So the Wings’ players simply insisted to Khan that they’d step up in #40 and #55’s absences:

“We lost one of our top players. It’s tough, we’re going to have to deal with that,” [Kris] Draper said. “We’ve played with (injuries to) top players before, guys just have to elevate their game. Guys are going to get an opportunity. He’s a guy that plays 20-plus minutes a night in all situations.”

Said defenseman Brad Stuart: “We’ve done it all year, in previous years. We’ve had injuries and some guys are used to being able to step up and fill a little bigger role.”

So the Wings dressed a lineup which may or may not apply to tonight’s game as Babcock’s insisted that he’ll toss his forward lines into a blender:








In any case, the injury bug song that never seems to end keeps going and going and going (day by day by day by day by day), and you could very well argue that the Wings haven’t found their trademark late-season swagger—or recaptured their early-season, “We can defeat anyone anytime, anywhere, and do it easily” dominance, depending on your point of view—because they expected to play in at least one or two games where everyone was genuinely healthy and they could have a full-cast dress rehearsal, but as Babcock suggested to the Detroit News’s Tim Twentyman, the Wings have to go with who’s available and find that swagger regardless of who’s in or out of the lineup:

“Everyone else has to play, it’s that simple,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s always been like that in sports and this is an opportunity for someone else.”
“The thing we have going for us is that we’ve played with injures all year and we’ve had different guys step up and that’s just going to be the case here,” [Justin] Abdelkader said. “Each of us is going to have to raise our game a little bit and I think we’re all capable of doing it in here.”
“We’ve played before with top players being injured,” [Draper] said. “For those guys that get the opportunities, they have to be real good. There are going to be some guys that have to step up and play a bigger role then they thought was going to happen. We’ve been pretty good this year when guys have went down — other guys have stepped up.”

Or, as Babcock put it regarding tonight’s game and the possibility of catching the Sharks for 2nd place in the West:

“I think it’s all about the opportunity for ourselves,” Babcock said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with them (Chicago).”

If the Red Wings win tonight and/or on Sunday, it’s about the Wings. If not, it’s about Chicago. Either way, all the bluster and talk issued by the teams’ media corps (the plural of corps is not corpses, and the pun’s intended) and BS issued from the columnists and Mike Milburys of the world between now and around 3 PM on Sunday doesn’t matter.

If it’s about opportunities, the math breaks down to 1 wins, 1 loses, and whatever the implications are will be tallied up when the games have been played.

The NHL’s media website has yet to list the referees for the 1,206th game on the NHL’s schedule as of the time I’m writing this (it’s so late it’s early). I’ll post the assignments in the game-day update entry.

Also of Red Wings-related note: In the Swedish Eliteserien final, Wings prospect Dick Axelsson and Farjestads BK lost a 3-2 double overtime decision to Skelleftea, with Jonathan Ericsson’s older brother, Jimmie, scoring the game-winner. Axelsson had seven shots on goal (and is growing a horrible playoff moustache), and the teams will tangle again on Saturday in Karlstad;

• In the WHL, Mitchell Callahan didn’t register a point, but goaltender Adam Brown stopped 45 shots and the Kelowna Rockets defeated the Portland Winterhawks 5-1 in the first game of their second-round playoff series;

• In the OHL, the Malik Report’s adopted OHL team, the Plymouth Whalers, lost a 4-3 OT decision to the Owen Sound Attack in the first game of their second-round series;

• In a column where the ever-grumpy Viktor Fedorov spoke to Sport-Express’s Igor Larin, Daddy Fedorov told Larin that Sergei Fedorov has yet to decide whether he wishes to continue his playing career, but Viktor says that the family will talk about the situation later this summer. Fedor Fedorov and Atlant Mytischi will open the Gargarin Cup finals against Salavat Yualev today;

• Back over on this side of the pond, the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman happened to point out that the “turnbuckle” is recessed at Joe Louis Arena, which is just a quirk of its design as the Joe’s had a photographer’s “cubby” and/or a double barrier between the benches, depending on what you’d prefer to call it, for at least 20 years;

• “Dobber Hockey” posted a playoff performer pick-em for poolies on Thursday, and he included four Red Wings among his recommendations. Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg earned “obvious” suggestions…

Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings

During the regular season, he will give you around 0.75 points-per-game. But during the playoffs, Franzen posts an astounding 5.90 points-per-game average! Well, not really. But the difference is still pretty awesome. And he does it every year — 59 points in his last 51 playoff games.

Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

I probably shouldn’t even mention him, because if I mention him then I feel obligated to mention the other obvious top Western Conference stars like Pavel Datsyuk(notes), the Sedin twins, Patrick Kane(notes), etc. But Zetterberg deserves a special note because his game is elevated in the postseason. A lot. He has 66 points in his last 57 playoff games. Provided he’s healthy.


And two more players were mentioned as possible mid to late-round “steals”:

Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings

It will either be Abdelkader or Filppula (see below). One or the other. I don’t see both players making waves. But while Filps has struggled, Abdelkader has been eating up a bit of his ice time (and linemates) and has looked pretty good doing it. So if this situation continues, Abdelkader will jump from his current 0.25 points-per-game in the regular season to 0.5 or 0.6 in the postseason. As a late-round pick, that would mean 10 or 12 points if the Wings go three rounds.
Valtteri Filppula, Detroit Red Wings

The only NHLer who has my spell-check correct my attempts at both the first and the last name, every time, Filppula is also a great dark horse. He has 25 points in his last 35 playoff games and that’s a good 20 percent increase over his regular season production.

• The Red Wings’ Twitter account posted a reminder regarding Ted Lindsay’s appearance at the Red Wings Alumni Association’s “Hockey Fest” at the Kroger in Southgate, MI from 11 AM to 4 PM on Saturday. Lindsay will appear from 12-2, and the event will benefit the Ted Lindsay Foundation for Autism research. According to one of its sponsors, “Magic 105.1 FM,” the Hockey Hall of Fame’s traveling exhibit will be there, and let me tell you, that’s worth seeing in itself, never mind shaking Ted Lindsay’s hand.

• DetroitRedWings.com’s Jake Duhaime spoke to USA Hockey’s Angela Ruggiero and Gigi Marvin, who are in Ann Arbor for a short series against Team Canada preceding the Women’s World Championships (Team USA lost 3-1 on Friday and will play another game against Team Canada at 7 PM on Saturday at the Ice Cube), and he included a YouTube video of both players discussing the benefits of social media:

• And finally, I posted this in the Zetterberg “Midnight Run” post, but it’s worth repeating and then some:

Chris Chelios gave his usual Friday Chelios Report to WDFN’s Sean Baligian and Killer Kowalski a day early as Cheli’s Chili will host more than a few fans for the Tigers’ opener on Friday afternoon (Chelios and his kids will be there), and I don’t feel like sitting on this interview, either:

Download here.

It’s pretty cool to hear Chelios talk about what he defines as the “Red Wings way,” and he shares some observations as to how that’s changed as a member of the team’s managerial staff. Give it a listen.


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The Wings will lose both of these games, we always lose the last few of the season, they are meaningless for us…. and if anything it would be better for the Hawks to be in and give either Vancouver or San Jose a run for their money.  Dallas would be cake for either of those two teams.  I’m hoping the Kings fall to the Wings in the first round, Nashville is going to beat us up, and even if we did beat them, we would be too unhealthy to win in the second round.

Posted by Jdunc from Flint, MI on 04/08/11 at 08:24 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

good morning George. I like Lidstrom’s comment, ““You’re gonna face some adversity in the playoffs and this could be one you have to battle through,” . Uh, Sir Niklas? Your highness? Isn’t #40 this team’s MVP? Isn’t that more than “some adversity”? How about a smidgen of truth, “It’s a huge loss.”

Posted by Rdwings28 on 04/08/11 at 09:38 AM ET

42jeff's avatar

the Blackhawks have simply played inconsistently of late

It must be nice….

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 04/08/11 at 09:50 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

The Wings will lose both of these games…

Posted by Jdunc from Flint, MI on 04/08/11 at 06:24 AM ET

Geez, nothing like starting out the day with some optimism.  There’s no reason in the world why the Wings cannot, and should not, win both of these games.  If our defense plays like they can, and Jimmah is sharp, we’ll be fine.  If you watched Michigan blank the top ranked, usually high scoring North Dakota team last night, you saw how great defense and goaltending can beat any team.

Not willing to give these games up to the Hawks.


Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 04/08/11 at 11:44 AM ET

MarkK's avatar

they are meaningless for us….

It will mean potentially playing the same team 9 times in a row…

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 04/08/11 at 01:10 PM ET


The Wings won’t play hard, they will not want to risk anyone else to injury, they play apprehensive.  I’ve bought tickets to too many of these games late in the season and watched the Wings pack it in.  Don’t get me wrong, I hope we kill them both games.  I hope Chicago lays an egg and Dallas edges them out.  I’ll be ecstatic if we win.  I would love nothing more than to hear the silence of the United Center on Sunday afternoon.  I’m just trying not to get too excited,  I’ve seen it too many times, and you can bet for sure with the Zetterberg scare, that our best players won’t be going to the hard areas of the ice.

Posted by Jdunc from Flint, MI on 04/08/11 at 01:58 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

If you watched Michigan blank the top ranked, usually high scoring North Dakota team last night, you saw how great defense and goaltending can beat any team.
Not willing to give these games up to the Hawks.
Posted by Ms_Red_Winger on 04/08/11 at 09:44 AM ET

I accidentally/on purpose went to a function at my kids’ school last night proudly wearing the most obnoxious Michigan sweatshirt I had.  Blue torse/yellow sleeves…big ass M on the front of it.

I actually had some moron wad up a program and throw it at me.  I of course was watching the progress of the game on my Droid, and after the game went final I tracked dude down and made sure he….and everybody within earshot…knew what the score was.

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 04/08/11 at 02:39 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.


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