The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/29/11 at 06:07 AM ET
First and foremost regarding the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks; it’s almost impossible to guess what will happen to Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi after he was given a 5-minute major and game misconduct for an unintentional but no less vicious check on Blackhawks forward Ryan Johnson. Do the NHL’s “new rules” regarding hits to the head apply in this instance? Is Bertuzzi a “repeat offender?” Did he intend to leave his feet and elbow Johnson in the head?
Bertuzzi’s such a controversial figure that your answers to these questions depend on whether you’re one of the Steve Lepores of the world, who believe that Bertuzzi remains a monster, or whether you’re more like me, and appreciate the fact that, per Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s Tracey Myers, Todd Bertuzzi 2.0 felt terrible about the hit, as Johnson himself suggested:
Ryan Johnson took a Todd Bertuzzi elbow early in the first period and had to leave for a few minutes to be evaluated. He also had to have a small part of his right ear stitched back on. Johnson, who had suffered a concussion Feb. 11 in Dallas, returned to Monday night’s game, playing a little more than 13 minutes. Bertuzzi, meanwhile, was given a five-minute major as well as a game misconduct. Johnson said Bertuzzi came into the Blackhawks locker room and apologized to him.
“I knew I was going to have to kind of take a hit to make the play there, but I don’t think it was anything malicious,” Johnson said. “He was very apologetic, came walking right in here and said ‘Sorry’ as soon as it happened.”
[Blackhawks coach Joel] Quenneville said “We didn’t do much with (the power play), but a five-minute major was probably the right call.” Asked if Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kabina’s elbow to Dave Bolland was worse, Quenneville said, “absolutely.”
I suppose I must re-post Paul’s find, a YouTube clip if the hit:
Versus posted a clip of the hit as well:
Johnson suggested to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns that Bertuzzi wasn’t necessarily targeting his head:
“I knew it was a high hit, but I didn’t see it,” Johnson said. “I didn’t think it was malicious or anything. He’s a pretty big guy and I skate pretty low to the ground. I knew I was going to take a hit on the play. I’m not going to sit here and judge what it was. I know it wasn’t anything malicious and he was very apologetic and came in here and said ‘sorry.’ That’s it.”
Johnson suffered a concussion earlier in the season and was put on injured reserve after he got his “bell rung pretty good” by the Dallas Stars’ Jeff Woywitka on Feb. 11.
Opinions on the hit obviously vary. The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan believes that Bertuzzi will be suspended, as does the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc, invoking the “Matt Cooke” rule, while ESPN’s Jesse Rogers admitted that Bertuzzi might be fined instead, and he found that Johnson and the Blackhawks
were satisfied with the penalty:
Johnson went to the dressing room, adhering to new NHL protocol for possible concussions. He was OK to return to the game—at least his head was OK.
“With the new standard you have to go back and go through the tests with the [doctor] quickly,” Johnson said. “He ripped the skin off my ear, so they had to sew my ear back on. It will look pretty in a few days I’m sure.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he needed to see the replay of the hit before commenting.
“We had a five-minute power play,” he said. “I think that was probably the call. Five-minute major [was] probably the right call.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, however, told MLive’s Ansar Khan that the penalty and the fact that Bertuzzi missed most of the game should serve as more than enough punishment:
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he doesn’t have any idea if Bertuzzi will be suspended, but said, “I didn’t think it was severe at all. Johnson played the whole game. It didn’t look like much. It’s not like he missed any action.”
Johnson’s helmet came flying off and he was briefly shaken up.
“They’re trying to eliminate hits to the head,” Babcock said. “I guess they felt his helmet came off, it must have been a hit to the head.”
Put simply, there is a bottom line here: the NHL’s so damn inconsistent in terms of doling out punishment—or, as was the case in the Wings-Hawks game, calling penalties to begin with—so it’s hard to say what will happen. We won’t know till whatever ruling comes down is released, and with the Wings not playing again until Wednesday, it might take a day or two for Colin Campbell to make up his mind.
As for the game itself, the Blackhawks remained in eighth place, won their fourth straight game at the Joe and pushed the Wings’ record on their 5-game home stand to 1-1-and-2, and gave rookie goaltender Corey Crawford his 30th win but winning was all that mattered to the Hawks, as the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc noted:
“If you look back over the course of the season, that was the most important win we’ve had at any point,” Quenneville said. “Crawford was big in net and everybody played big. I liked how the guys approached the game, and the energy we had right from the outset was exactly what we’re looking for. It was a playoff game for us. It was a great hockey game.”
Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook scored in regulation and Crawford made 33 saves as the Hawks put some distance over the ninth-place Flames in the West. Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg had goals for Detroit while netminder Joey MacDonald suffered the tough-luck loss.
Both sides were playing short-handed as the Hawks were without injured forwards Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland while Wings center Pavel Datsuyk and No. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard were sidelined. Detroit played a man down for most of the game after Todd Bertuzzi was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct following an elbow to the head of Hawks center Ryan Johnson.
“We have lots of key players down right now,” said Hossa, who had 23 minutes, 52 seconds of ice time in a game-high 33 shifts. “(Quenneville) wanted to make sure I got good rest (Monday) afternoon.”
“It was big for us to come out and get a good start and try and keep rolling,” Seabrook said. “We got a power play in overtime and Hossa made a great shot. Getting one point is always good at this time of year, but it was huge to get that second point.”
“We played pretty well throughout the whole game,” [Patrick] Kane said. “It was back and forth (with) a lot of chances. For the fans watching that game I’m sure they weren’t disappointed.”
Wings fans were, in no small part due to Marian Hossa. ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers spoke to Hossa about the fact that his seventh shot of the game poured a little salt in the wounds of the Wings fans who booed him all night long…Or, if you’re not into that angle, he noted that Hossa’s contributions came via serious ice time thanks to double-shifting:
“[Coach Joel Quenneville] told me before the game he would try to use me for two lines so I wanted to make sure I had short shifts and had [some] jump,” Hossa said afterwards. “I had lots of confidence.”
Hossa played 23:52, more than any other forward in the game. Double shifting isn’t something Quenneville usually plans to do with a player before the game even starts.
“I think on a need basis, sometimes that’s part of it,” Quenneville explained. “I don’t usually do that too much.”
Hossa figured Quenneville told him ahead of time so he would rest on Monday afternoon. And it paid off.
“I had so many shots tonight,” Hossa said. “I was hoping to find one [go in] and finally the last one [did].”
Hossa continued while speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns...
“I had so many shots tonight, and their goalie [Joey MacDonald] played extremely well,” said Hossa, who had a slap shot on a breakaway turned aside. “I was hoping to find that one shot, and thank God that it was the last one. At this moment, I feel pretty good, but there was a stretch in the middle of the season where I had injuries and things like that, and I couldn’t get into the tempo and I didn’t feel good at all. Right now, I’m going without the injuries, and I feel like I’m in tempo. Coach is using me a lot, and my confidence is back. I feel good.”
Hawks captain Jonathan Toews scored the Hawks’ first goal 2:54 into the first off a generous rebound by MacDonald. Brent Seabrook (power-play) also scored, and Patrick Kane finished with two assists. Corey Crawford also had a stellar performance with 33 saves. But all the talk in the locker room afterward centered on Hossa, who has two goals and three assists in his last four games. Toews said all the Hawks loved Hossa’s celebration after he scored the game-winner.
“It was kind of his trademark thing,” Toews said. “We’ll take that anytime we can. It was a big goal by Hossa.”
They should love it. Not only does it embolden a star they desperately need to produce, but it was a huge victory against a rival that has the unique opportunity of holding the Hawks’ fate in its hands down the stretch.
“[Hossa] was around the puck, around the net all night,” Toews said. “It was bound to go in for him. It was a big goal for him. He had a lot of chances where he came up pretty close. He stayed hungry all night.”
But the Hawks wouldn’t be going into Boston tonight with a win had not a fateful play occurred very late in regulation, as Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s Tracey Myers noted:
Zetterberg was then whistled for a hooking call on Kane with just 3.7 seconds remaining in regulation to set up the Blackhawks’ power play and Hossa’s winner.
“We love the celebration after the goal. It’s kind of his trademark thing right now,” said Toews. “We’ll take that. He stayed hungry all night and got that big one for us. He had some big chances early and he was around the net all night.”
The Blackhawks won’t have much time to rest after this one, with a tilt against Boston on Tuesday. Monday’s victory was big. They’ll need a few more of those as they close in on the regular-season finish line.
“I like the energy we had from the outset,” Quenneville said. “This was a playoff game for us. This is a huge win coming off a very disappointing loss the other night. None bigger all year.”
“I thought we had a 2-on-1 going, I didn’t see Zetterberg there,” Kane said. “I just pulled it to the middle and got hooked. It’s a big play, especially with that time left.”
Niklas Hjalmarsson admitted he “got away with one” when he tripped Tomas Holmstrom during a second-period breakaway. Holmstrom was in alone on Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford when Hjalmarsson dove at him from behind, taking out his legs.
“I was waiting for the penalty shot,” Hjalmarsson said. “It never came.”
Regarding the Kane penalty, anyway, Zetterberg suggested that the refs did indeed catch him committing a penalty, as he told NHL.com’s Brian Hedger…
Zetterberg was beaten on an odd-man rush and committed the minor penalty against Patrick Kane with just four seconds left in the third. That gave Chicago its fifth man-advantage of the game, which was far too many against the League’s second-ranked power play.
“It was a penalty,” Zetterberg said. “He made a good move there on me and I think they were 2 on 1, so I hooked him.”
Joey MacDonald, who stopped a near-ridiculous and fantastic 38 of 41 shots against in front of an incredibly leaky defense—a fully-stocked defense, too—accentuated the positive after the game…
MacDonald started in place of Jimmy Howard (shoulder sprain) and continued his good play in limited action this season. Among his saves, MacDonald made some huge ones in the second and third period against a desperate Hawks team pushing hard for the two points.
“I knew they were going to throw a lot of pucks at me,” MacDonald said. “They’re a great team and have a lot of talent over there and they’re battling for that playoff spot. So, you knew they were going to come out hard, especially against a guy in net who isn’t playing a whole lot. I thought I did a pretty good job not giving them second opportunities.”
“He had some good chances tonight,” MacDonald said of Hossa. “He’s a great skater, shoots the puck well and he did have a few good chances. It’s funny that I stopped all of them but the one that counted the most. But we got a point out of it and that’s huge.”
And he continued his happy-go-lucky take on a game which the Wings played far too loosely while speaking to the Free Press’s Helene St. James (who reports that MacDonald’s staying in a hotel at present)...
“I felt great,” MacDonald said. “They had some good opportunities, and I felt I was out pretty well, cutting the angle down, and my D did a great job of blocking shots and taking care of rebounds that were there.”
MacDonald—showered with chants of “Joey, Joey”—became the go-to guy over the weekend when Jimmy Howard suffered a shoulder sprain, but the arrangement isn’t expected to last long. Howard said following Monday’s morning skate that he hoped to be ready Wednesday, but he hasn’t faced shots, only skated to keep up his conditioning.
Even when Howard returns, MacDonald will remain the backup because Chris Osgood is on injured reserve until the last two games of the season. Though his lease [on an apartment] in Grand Rapids “wasn’t really a good investment,” MacDonald said, he is, naturally, thrilled to be stuck in Detroit. “This is why I wanted to be here, to get an opportunity to play like this in important games. There’s no better time of year to do it.”
“When we signed him this year, you’re hedging your bet,” coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s a guy who’s played in the NHL, he’s played well. He’s capable, and he’s mentally tough enough.”
Mike Modano was willing to admit that the Wings weren’t exactly dominant while speaking to the AP’s Larry Lage:
The Red Wings, meanwhile, are in a 1-2-2 slump that has trimmed their cushion to six points in the Central Division over Nashville with six games left for both teams. Toews and Brent Seabrook scored in the first period to give Chicago a 2-1 lead that held up until Danny Cleary was credited with a goal early in the third that was later given to Zetterberg, who scored the second tying goal of the game on a shot that went off Chicago defenseman Chris Campoli.
“We kind of hung in there,” Detroit’s Mike Modano said.
Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom made it 1-all in the first period and became the NHL’s first 40-year-old defenseman with 60 points in a season. He surpassed the mark set by Ray Bourque, who had 59 points as a 40-year-old defenseman during the 2000-01 season - his last - with the Colorado Avalanche.
“It’s a tribute to his career and consistency,” said Modano, who is also 40 years old.
“Mac played great, but our play without the puck was not the best,” Modano said.
Nor was the Wings’ play with the puck. They were tagged with 8 giveaways and giving the Hawks 6 takeaways on the scoresheet, but that was a generous assessment—though the fact that the Wings fired 35 shots on Corey Crawford and another 34 wide or into Hawks players is as accurate as it gets…
And I don’t know how else to put it. Without Pavel Datsyuk in the lineup, and really, since the Wings realized that the injury bug wasn’t going to leave them alone at the beginning of March, they’ve struggled to regain their trademark swagger. March’s Red Wings have given up the game’s first goal on a very regular basis, surrendered leads and tied scores, and have more or less hung on via their goaltending, hoping to score a late game-tying goal and win the game in overtime.
If you’re charitable, the Wings possess a 5-4-and-4 record this month, but the blunt and honest truth is that the Wings have gone 5-and-9, have left their hopes of winning 50 games (which is the usual expectation of any Wings team over the past 15 years) and/or winning the West in the dust, and they’re basically hoping to hang onto 2nd place (again, the emphasis is on hanging on) as their home struggles continue and they continue to drop games against possible playoff opponents.
The Wings won’t face Wednesday’s opponent, the St. Louis Blues, in the first round of the playoffs, nor will they tangle with Carolina, but the Predators, Wild and Blackhawks (twice) are all potential opponents, and the Wings have stank on ice against Nashville and exactly looked dominant against the Hawks.
With an un-charitable 1-and-3 record on their 5-game home stand and uninspired, “Ah hell, we’ve still got players out? Well maybe we’ll play like ourselves when we get healthy” mentality…I’m not trying to pull what Mike Milbury did after the game, suggesting, “Ooo, booga booga, be afraid Red Wings fans, because your team is VULNERABLE” or something, but Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom’s lines to the press that don’t seem to find their way into print—“We’re playing well, but not well enough to win”—seem particularly accurate in describing the slightly scatterbrained play of a team that looks distracted, believing that it’s going to be get its act together “soon” instead of “now.”
The only real passion issued by the Wings regarding playing a potential first-round opponent that they’re not supposed to compliment involved that awful call involving Tomas Holmstrom and yet another potential goal, as the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell noted:
Zetterberg was less charitable about other aspects of referees Brad Watson and Kyle Rehman’s work. In particular, he felt Tomas Holmstrom should’ve been awarded a penalty shot in the second period when Niklas Hjalmarsson knocked the feet out from under the Wings forward who was in alone. There was no call and Zetterberg wasn’t buying Rehman’s explanation.
“Ref said he touched the puck first,” Zetterberg said. “I don’t know what kind of angle he saw that from. He clearly touched Holmstrom first before he touched the puck.”
As Waddell notes, the game involved bizarre refereeing in terms of consistency—six penalties were called in the first period, and another five were called in the 3rd, but the 2nd period was penalty-free…
It was a game that the officials did put themselves front and centre in from early on. After Jonathan Toews gave Chicago the lead 2:54 into the game, Todd Bertuzzi was given a major and a game misconduct for elbowing Ryan Johnson. The Hawks neutered themselves by taking two minors during the power play and made matters worse by surrendering Nick Lidstrom’s goal at 7:36 while the team’s were playing four-on-four.
The parade to the penalty box continued for both teams in the first period, but Chicago’s Brent Seabrook was the only one able to convert. Chicago should’ve extended their lead in the middle frame, but MacDonald stopped all 16 shots he faced. Among those chances were breakaways by Hossa and Kane.
And the refs did make one decent call in the third:
The Hawks were playing footsie again two minutes later as Tomas Kopecky had the puck in the net, but it was disallowed as it was ruled he kicked it in.
Zetterberg reiterated his point to the Free Press’s Helene St. James...
A dozen penalties were called overall, but the Wings were a bit upset there wasn’t one called on Niklas Hjalmarsson early in the second period after he interfered with Tomas Holmstrom on a breakaway.
“The ref said he touched the puck first,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “I don’t know what kind of angle he saw that from, but it clearly touched only Holmstrom first before he touched the puck, so—it goes fast out there, you can’t see everything.”
Who also took note of the game’s penalty-staggered pace...
Joey MacDonald finished with 38 saves, allowing two goals during a first period that was slowed by penalties so numerous only half the period was played at even strength.
“It was a lot of special teams in the first,” Zetterberg said. “It’s tough to get momentum in a game, but I think both teams figured it out pretty good.”
And she continued said train of thought in her game summary...
he Blackhawks scored 2:55 into the game when Jonathan Toews got behind the defense and sneaked a short rebound behind Joey MacDonald. Todd Bertuzzi was ejected at 5:17 after a elbowing major on Ryan Johnson, but Nicklas Lidstrom calmed things down with a one-timer from the left point during 4-on-4 minutes later. The Blackhawks took two penalties to offset the 5 minutes they should have had with Bertuzzi’s penalty. They made it 2-1 at 13:18 when Brent Seabrook connected on Patrick Kane’s rebound. The teams played at even strength for only slightly more than half the period.
Tomas Holmstrom had a breakaway denied in the second period when he was brought down by Niklas Hjalmarsson, though no penalty was called. MacDonald made several strong saves, but Corey Crawford was strong, too.
The Wings finally solved Crawford during a power play early in the third period, when Henrik Zetterberg’s shot went in off Chris Campoli. Video review upheld the call that the puck that went into Detroit’s net minutes later was kicked in by former Wing Tomas Kopecky, and the Wings got a goalpost save on a Seabrook shot soon after. The Wings killed a Chicago power play late in the third period, and kept the Blackhawks from getting a shot on goal between 6:41 and 18:07. Zetterberg got called for hooking Kane with 3.7 seconds left in regulation. Marian Hossa scored 51 seconds into overtime.
But the Wings, who continue to allow opponents to cycle down low in their zone, chasing the puck carrier and opening up lanes for their opposition to use lateral passes to back-door players with open nets gaping toward them, find themselves continuing to struggle to clear their own zone, looping back endlessly in the neutral zone and at the opposition blueline, resulting in multiple odd-man rushes against, and when the Wings do gain possession and control of the puck, at least on Monday, they not only fired off an inordinate number of one-and-done opportunities, but they’re also passing up shots and scoring chances left and right to over-pass the puck.
Hell, Johan Franzen led the team with six shots, had another 6 blocked and fired 2 wide, Zetterberg had 4 shots and 7 total attempts, and both Eaves (2 shots) and Kronwall (2 shots) had a total of six attempts, but Franzen and Filppula (1 shot) in particular could have broken the 10-shot mark if they’d chosen to shoot the puck instead of attempt to pass it across a sea of Blackhawk defenders’ sticks.
In the end, the wings scored one goal on four power play opportunities, and Babcock suggested to St. James that this fact decided the game:
Wings coach Mike Babcock: “They scored two on the power play, and we didn’t. I thought we had good power plays, but they scored two and that’s the difference in the game. ... You’ve got to give Joey MacDonald a ton of credit, I thought he gave us an opportunity to be in the game.”
The Wings could only state the obvious before complimenting the Hawks’ ability to execute on their scoring chances, as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan noted...
“Both teams had lots of chances, but two good goalies played good games,” Zetterberg said. “They made a good play to win the game.”
Nicklas Lidstrom opened the Wings’ scoring. The goal was Lidstrom’s 15th, but it also gave him 60 points, making him the first defenseman over 40 years of age to score 60 in a season. Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook (power play) scored for Chicago. Toews, Hossa and Kane combined for 17 shots on net. But MacDonald frustrated them most of the evening.
“I knew they were going to throw a lot of pucks at me,” said MacDonald, starting in place of Jimmy Howard (sprained left shoulder). “They’re a great team with a lot of talent and you knew they were going to come out hard.”
With Chicago scrambling to just make the playoffs, every point is crucial. Hossa delivered — as he did for a season with Detroit two years ago — with a laser.
“He has a great shot and he had a few opportunities the whole game,” said goalie Joey MacDonald, who was superb with 38 saves. “I pushed out and got as big as possible. (But) guys like that, when he tees it up from the hash marks, he made a good shot there.”
Zetterberg agreed while speaking to the Chicago Daily Herald’s Tim Sassone...
Hossa was double shifted much of the night and led all Hawks forwards with 23:52 of ice time to go with his goal and assist. Hossa took shifts with Marcus Kruger and Bryan Bickell, and with Tomas Kopecky.
“He was real good tonight,” Zetterberg said. “It didn’t surprise me he scored the winner.”
And even Babcock joined in while speaking to MLive’s Ansar Khan:
“Hossa, Kane and Toews were really dominant, seemed to have the puck a lot and be dangerous,” Babcock said. “Hossa had a breakaway (MacDonald made the save), Kane had a breakaway (shot wide), those are quality chances. You got to give Joey MacDonald tons of credit. I thought he did a good job, he gave us an opportunity to be in the game and knocking on the door.”
“They move the puck so well,” MacDonald said. “Hossa’s got a great shot. He had a few opportunities all game. I pushed out, tried to make myself as big as possible. You don’t want to push out too big because you got two guys back door waiting for the rebound. You want to stay patient with it. A guy like that tees it up from just above the hash marks ... he made a good shot there.”
Henrik Zetterberg’s hooking penalty with 3.7 seconds remaining in the third period carried over into overtime.
“It’s unfortunate, they had basically one against four there and we took a penalty,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “So they scored two power-play goals and that was the difference in the game.”
Only Lidstrom was willing to suggest that the Wings have some work to do in terms of tightening up defensively:
“I thought we were backing in a little too much, giving them some chances from the point or the forward coming late,” Lidstrom said. “But they have a lot of skill up front, the back end as well. They’re buying time with the puck and waiting for the third man.”
He also duly noted that the Wings have a stiff task ahead of them in their closing-weekend-of-the-season games against the Hawks, as he told Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji:
Meanwhile, these two division rivals aren’t done with each other yet. They play a home and home in the last two games of the regular season.
“It’s going to be tough games against them,” Lidstrom said. “They’re battling for a playoff spot and this was a big win for them to get two points. I’m sure we’re going to see games like this the next two games against them.”
Kris Draper agreed prior to the game, as he told the Detroit News’s John Niyo:
“I think these next three games will kind of define us and Chicago,” the Wings’ Kris Draper told me Monday morning, “The last couple years — with us playing them in the conference finals (in 2009) and then them winning the Stanley Cup last year — and with the good, young players they have and the youth we have, I would say that rivalry is back. And I think it’s great.”
Of course, it’d be better if both teams agreed on that point. Ask any of the Blackhawks who their chief rival is right now and they’ll tell you it’s …
“Vancouver,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said, giving the nod to the last two playoffs, when the Blackhawks beat up the Canucks in the Western Conference semifinals. “I’ve been here for six years and I think that’s been the biggest rivalry since I’ve been here. If you go way back when, I think Detroit’s definitely Chicago’s biggest rival and probably always will be in a lot of people’s eyes. But the last few years, Vancouver has to be the best one for myself.”
Blame the league’s expansion if you want. Or the salary cap. Or the post-lockout rule changes. Or even the Wings themselves, because the easiest way to create bad blood is to spill a little, and the Wings’ turn-the-cheek way of getting ahead — for the most part, at least — isn’t all that conducive to making enemies.
But separated by only a four-hour drive, and with so much history between these two franchises and their respective fan bases, it won’t take much, right?
“First of all, if we were to play them in a playoff series, I think the animosity would be instant because of the fans and what’s at stake,” Draper said. “What defines a rivalry is that you’ve got to go through one another to get to the Stanley Cup Finals or to get into the playoffs. … So who knows? There’s a chance we could be lined up against these guys. And if Detroit and Chicago hook up, you’re gonna see some great hockey.”
With six games left on the regular season schedule and at least 2nd place in the West, if not a decent home record and a little closer to 50 wins than the 44 the Wings presently have to shoot for, I’d argue that it’s time to see some better hockey from the Red Wings right now.
Highlights: TSN posted a 2:21 highlight clip;
ESPN embedded a 39-second highlight clip in its recap;
Versus went with the individual goal clip route, posting Johnathan Toews’ 1-0 goal…
Nicklas Lidstrom’s 1-1 goal…
Brent Seabrook’s 2-1 goal…
Danny Cleary’s 2-2 goal…
And Marian Hossa’s gamer:
Comcast Sportsnet Chicago posted a 2:15 highlight clip;
NHL.com posted a full highlight clip:
Post-game: TSN’s Steve Kouleas and Mike Johnson spent 3 minutes and 15 seconds talking about the Bertuzzi hit;
So I don’t overwhelm your browser with Flash galore, here’s Joel Quenneville’s post-game presser from the Blackhawks’ website…
Comcast Sportsnet Chicago posted clips of Hossa, Toews, Quenneville, Patrick Kane, Corey Crawford and Duncan Keith talking about the Hawks’ Tuesday game vs. Boston, and CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers’ take on the game, too;
WXYZ posted a 1:05 clip of comments from Joey MacDonald, Wings coach Mike Babcock and Henrik Zetterberg:
The Wings’ website posted a clip of some sensational Joey MacDonald saves…
And a post-game clip of Joey MacDonald and Mike Babcock speaking to the media:
Photos: The Detroit Free Press posted a 15-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 22-image gallery;
The Chicago Tribune posted 5 photos in its “Blackhawks in action” gallery;
NHL.com posted a 28-image gallery;
Yahoo Sports posted an 11-image gallery;
Shots 41-35 Chicago, breaking down as 14-14 in the 1st period, 16-9 Chicago in the 2nd, 12-10 Detroit in the 3rd and 1-0 Chicago in OT.
The Hawks went 2-for-6 on the PP, going 1-for-5 in 4:52 of 5 on 4 time and 1-for-1 in 51 seconds of 4 on 3 time. The Wings went 1-for-4 in 6:20 of PP time.
MacDonald stopped 38 of 41 shots; Crawford stopped 33 of 35.
Our goals: Lidstrom (15) from Filppula (21) and Rafalski (38);
Zetterberg (23) from Hudler (26) and Rafalski (39), PPG.
The 3 stars, per Detroit Hockey Weekly’s Paul Harris: Toews, MacDonald and Hossa.
Faceoffs 36-23 Detroit (61% won by Detroit);
Blocked shots 21-14 Chicago;
Missed shots 13-12 Detroit (total shot attempts 69-66 Detroit);
Hits 24-11 Detroit;
Giveaways 8-4 Detroit;
Takeaways 12-6 Detroit.
Faceoffs: Filppula went 13-and-10 (57%); Zetterberg went 11-and-7 (61%); Helm went 4-and-4 (50%); Abdelkader went 4-and-0 (100%); Hudler went 3-and-0 (100%); Draper went 0-and-2; Modano won his only faceoff.
Shots: Franzen led the team with 6 shots; Zetterberg had 4; Lidstrom, Abdelkader, Cleary and Draper had 3; Eaves, Rafalski, Helm, Modano and Holmstrom had 2; Hudler, Filppula and Kronwall had 1.
Blocked attempts: In addition to firing 6 shots on the net, Franzen had 6 attempts blocked; Kronwall hit Blackhawks players 4 times; Stuart, Zetterberg and Filppula had 2 shot attempts blocked; Lidstrom, Eaves, Salei, Zetterberg and Modano had 1 shot attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Eaves missed the net 3 times; Cleary, Ericsson and Franzen missed the net 2 times (that’s 14 total attempts for Franzen); Rafalski, Zetterberg, Filppula and Holmstrom missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Both Abdelkader and Cleary had 4 hits; Salei, Draper and Ericsson had 2 hits; Lidstrom, Eaves, Hudler, Zetterberg, Helm, Bertuzzi, Filppula, Kronwall, Franzen and Holmstrom had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Stuart, Salei, Hudler, Rafalski, Zetterberg, Helm, Bertuzzi and Filppula had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Hudler and Draper had 2 takeaways; Abdelkader, Eaves, Stuart, Salei, Rafalski, Filppula, Kronwall and Modano had 1.
Blocked opponent shots: Salei and Kronwall blocked 5 shots apiece; Lidstrom, Stuart, Rafalski and Zetterberg blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Bertuzzi took a 5-minute major, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct; Zetterbreg, Helm, Ericsson and Kronwall took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: Eaves, Salei, Draper and Helm finished at -1; Lidstrom, Filppula and Franzen finished at +1. The team finished at a collective -1.
Points: Rafalski had 2 assists; Lidstrom and Zetterberg had goals; Hudler and Filppula had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 24:02 played; Filppula played 22:57; Lidstrom played 22:53;
Stuart played 21:38; Zetterberg played 20:18; Rafalski played 18:45;
Ericsson played 18:40; Cleary played 18:01; Franzen played 17:58;
Hudler played 16:23; Helm played 15:39; Abdelkader played 14:18;
Salei played 13:49; Eaves played 13:02; Holmstrom played 12:59;
Modano played 10:47; Draper played 9:55; Bertuzzi played 1:30.
Wings notebooks: In case you didn’t notice in the recaps, Nicklas Lidstrom established a significant milestone on Monday, as DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose points out:
A month shy of his 41st birthday, Lidstrom became the oldest defenseman in NHL history to net 60-points in a season when he fired a shot from the point, which tied the Blackhawks at 1 in the first period.
Lidstrom’s 15th goal, coupled with 45 assists, gives him his highest point total in the last three seasons.
Prior to Monday, he had been tied with hall of fame defenseman Ray Bourque, who compiled 59-points during his final NHL season with the Colorado Avalanche in the 2000-01 season.
• Lidstrom offered an amusing quip about his milestone to Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji:
With his goal, Lidstrom, 40, became the oldest defenseman to reach 60 points in a season.
“I’m proud of it,” he said. “I didn’t really think much about it until someone told me the other day that I had a shot at it. I’m proud of reaching that milestone.”
When asked whether he might get 60 points at age 50, Lidstrom laughed.
“When I’m 50 I’ll be sitting in a lawn chair somewhere, maybe watching a game and enjoying a beer,” he said.
Sometimes being a “perfect human” involves admitting that you have an ego, and that you’re proud of your accomplishments. I think that part of Nicklas Lidstrom’s personality separates him from your usual “perfect” athlete—he’s more than willing to admit that he’s proud of his hockey accomplishments, that he’s driven to succeed, and that his best accomplishments involve his wife and four kids.
• Of promotional Lidstrom-related note, from the Red Wings:
There are only 27 full-time captains in the 30-team NHL, but there are countless leaders throughout the league, and their leadership can be recognized in numerous ways, some not always easy to quantify.
The Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone has been awarded since the 2006-07 season, and is presented “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular-season.”
The award is named after Mark Messier, one of the finest leaders in NHL history who was a six-time Stanley Cup champion and is one of three players to have captained three different teams. Nominees are solicited from fans, clubs and NHL personnel, but the selection of the three finalists and the ultimate winner is made by Messier himself. Previous winners of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone are Chris Chelios of Detroit (2006-07), Mats Sundin of Toronto (2007-08), Jarome Iginla of Calgary (2008-09) and Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh (2009-10).
This year, the NHL is using an online site for voting to provide Messier with direct input from you and your fellow NHL fans about who is the NHL’s Ultimate Leader.
From now through April 10, NHL.com subscribers can vote on daily match-ups between two of the NHL’s acknowledged leaders, fueling a single-elimination bracket tournament that will result in one player being crowned the fan’s choice for the 2010-11 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone.
Vote today for your favorite Leader, by clicking here.
• Wings forward Danny Cleary is now the subject of a motivational poster which the government of Newfoundland and Labrador wants schools to display prominently, and DetroitRedWings.com’s Dave Burke spoke to the artist who painted the picture of Cleary, one James Long:
“I immediately spoke with Dick Power who coached Danny all through his life here in Newfoundland,” said Long, in a phone interview with DetroitRedWings.com. “So I met up with him in Harbour Grace and we went over a lot of stuff and went through the S.W. Moores Arena where Danny played and was trying to show his background, where he was a Newfoundlander and what he had gone through. I tried my best to get all of that in there, so I’ve got the old rafters of the arena and tried to blend it in there with the rafters of Joe Louis Arena and the Stanley Cup banner. I just tried to get all of those accomplishments all together in one image.”
Earlier this month, Cleary hosted a group of high school students at Joe Louis Arena from his hometown. The Gonzaga Vikings, a prep hockey team from St. John’s, the capital city, was in town to play in a youth tournament. Cleary has a cousin on the Gonzaga team.
“When you’re younger, the NHL is always the pinnacle,” Cleary told the student-athletes. “You grow up watching it and admiring it and hope one day you can get there.”
During their visit to Detroit, the Vikings enjoyed watching the Red Wings as they prepared for a game that evening against the Edmonton Oilers. As Cleary’s guests that night, they got to soak in the NHL atmosphere, as well as watch the Wings bounce back to post a 2-1 victory in overtime.
“Fortunately for me, I was able to get here,” Cleary said, “and you hope those kids have the same dreams.”
• This merits notebook status because it’s intriguing: the Grand Rapids Griffins’ Randy Cleeves offers a rather obvious comment rather Joey MacDonald, made before the Wings-Hawks game:
When MacDonald starts for the Red Wings tonight in place of the injured Jimmy Howard, he’ll look to extend his current shutout streak of 107:53 that stretches over parts of four games. While well-documented in this blog, MacDonald’s success in Detroit has apparently gone unnoticed by many of Hockeytown’s resident chicken littles, for whom the Red Wings’ goaltending sky is constantly falling.
At what point does MacDonald’s body of work become enough evidence to convince the doubters that he is a more-than-capable NHL netminder? His 49-game run with the Islanders two seasons ago wasn’t enough, despite being named the NHL’s Third Star for November 2008. This season, he owns a team-leading 2.05 GAA and 0.928 save percentage through 13 games, numbers that would do the trick in most of the league’s outposts. But still his Detroit detractors persist.
I very honestly believe that the Red Wings may have good reason to re-sign MacDonald as their back-up if Chris Osgood ends up retiring, and if he doesn’t re-sign with Detroit, I think that he’ll definitely find NHL employment this summer, thin goaltending market included.
Cleeves also points out that now-Grand Rapids Griffins forward Gustav Nyquist has begun his pro career in the AHL, but will make only one appearance at Van Andel Arena, on April 8th.
• Yucky! Per the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
Thomas McCollum was called up Monday from Toledo of the East Coast Hockey League to serve as MacDonald’s backup Monday. McCollum, 21, backed up Jan. 15 and was to do so again Feb. 18, though during that day’s morning skate he took a puck to his right pinkie. McCollum’s fingertip remains black and blue—and bare.
“I had to have the nail removed because it was causing me a few problems, and so they thought it was better to take it off,” McCollum said. “It was pretty quick—the worst part was getting the shots to numb it.”
Yes indeedy, I’m the son of a Detroit probation officer who wrote pre-sentencing reports for particularly violent criminals, and a nurse who still loves watching orthopedic surgery, and I’m squeamish as all hell get out.
• The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan offered an amusing quip from Pavel Datsyuk:
Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) took part in the morning skate and is aiming for a return Wednesday, or this weekend at the latest.
“Next game, I hope,” he said. “But I hope every game is my (next) game.”
Johan Franzen , who returned to the lineup for Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Blackhawks after missing four games with a groin injury, was asked about last season’s playoffs. Not about the early exit for the Red Wings — a second-round loss to the Sharks — but about the Stanley Cup run by the Blackhawks and whether he was rooting for them.
“For (former teammate Marian ) Hossa most of all,” Franzen said. “He really deserved it. He deserved to finally get one for himself.”
“That’s real tough, to have missed (winning) it for two straight seasons,” Franzen said. “He’s a good guy.”
This does not exempt Emmerton from having to clear waivers if he’s sent down to the Grand Rapids Griffins next season: it merely allows him to be sent down and recalled without having to clear re-entry waivers until the 2012-2013 season;
MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms:
The Red Wings have signed forward Cory Emmerton to a three-year, $1.6 million contract extension. Emmerton, a skilled center Detroit selected with its top pick in the 2006 entry draft (41st overall in second round) has 11 goals and 26 assists in 59 games in Grand Rapids in his third full season with the Griffins.
Emmerton is out of minor-league options after this season, so he would be subject to waivers before being sent down, if he doesn’t make the NHL roster. His new contract is a two-way deal for the first season (lower salary in the AHL) and one-way the final two years. The salary cap hit is $533,000.
He also spoke to McCollum about his ups and downs:
McCollum had a rough start to his second pro season, going 6-11-2, with a 3.18 goals-against average and .881 save percentage with the Grand Rapids Griffins before being assigned to Toledo. He’s fared better for the Walleye, going 11-9-2, with a 2.76 GAA and .909 save percentage.
“It’s been pretty up and down season,” McCollum said. “Since I’ve been at Toledo, I’ve played a lot of games, seen a lot of shots. I’m really starting to get that confidence back. I know I can play at this level. I just got to maintain that confidence, doing it day in and day out.”
“I’m still only 21, a lot of people tend to forget that,” McCollum said. “Jimmy didn’t break into the league until he was 25. Time’s definitely on my side, just try to take it one day at a time and try to get better every day.”
• And Jimmy Howard told the Macomb Daily’s George Pohly that he expects to return in short order from his shoulder injury:
Jimmy Howard skated Monday, his first time on the ice since the Red Wings goalie injured a shoulder against Toronto on Saturday.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t (scared by the injury),” Howard said. “It was scary. But the MRI came back with great news, no tears or anything. I dodged a bullet and I’m thankful for it.”
Howard doesn’t expect the injury to bother him in the playoffs.
“Not at all,” Howard said. “I’m just waiting for the soreness to go away, and the stiffness, and hopefully I’ll be back Wednesday night.”
Power Rankings: The Wings generally took dips in this week’s first crop of power rankings, starting with those of the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau…
6 Detroit Red Wings [last week] 3: Wings went 0-2-1 against Preds, Pens and Canucks last week
And continuing with ESPN’s Scott Burnside‘s crop…
7 ([last week] 3) Red Wings: The Red Wings have just one win in their past four games and have to get Pavel Datsyuk back and healthy to have any shot at a long playoff run.
Though Sportsnet’s Mike Brophy...
6 [last week] 5 Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings are down to third-stringer Joey MacDonald to man the crease after starter Jimmy Howard is shaken up in a win over Toronto Saturday night.
Sportsline’s Wes Goldstein...
4 Red Wings [last week] 4: Big guns Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk are expected back this week as the Red Wings try to hang on to the West’s second seed.
And TSN’s Scott Cullen were charitable in their estimations:
This Week3 Last Week2 Detroit Red Wings: Of course the Red Wings would prefer to have Jimmy Howard available, but Joey MacDonald may be a capable replacement. He does have a .928 save percentage in 13 appearances with the Wings this year and has allowed more than three goals in a game once in seven starts.
Key Injuries: C Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), G Jimmy Howard (shoulder).
MacDonald possesses a 2.13 goals-against average after Monday night&
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