The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/14/11 at 02:05 PM ET
Updated 12x with Datsyuk stuff and Coyotes talk at 4:04 PM: Per the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff, the Red Wings held an optional skate today, but Duff reports good news on the Henrik Zetterberg front:
Babcock on Zetterberg: “He skated today.” Chance for Game 2? “There’s always a chance. I keep telling you he’s day-to-day.” #detphx
The Red Wings’ Twitter account confirms…
Babcock: It is one game and there is obviously another game here in a couple of days.
Zetterberg skated today, when asked his status for Saturday, Mike Babcock said he was ‘day to day’.
Wouldn’t read anything into the Zetterberg status. Babs has said he would be ‘day to day’ after missing the two CHI games last week.
The Sporting News’s Craig Custance confirms…
Mike Babcock says Henrik Zetterberg skated today. Babs on possibility of Hank playing Sat: “There’s always a chance. He’s day to day.”
But Duff notes that Babcock’s focus was upon the Wings starting on time, not Zetterberg:
Babcock: “Got a text from someone I know real well, who coached in league for long time. ‘Remind your team game starts at 7, not 7:45.’”
Also from the Wings’ Twitter account...
Babcock complemented the crowd last night. Also had praise for Bertuzzi’s play of late and Lidstrom when pressed on a question about awards.
Here’s the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness confirming that Zetterberg skated, but whether he skated with the team, took part in contract drills, was out for the whole practice, etc. etc., we just don’t know:
An encouraging sign was seen on the Joe Louis Arena ice when Henrik Zetterberg skated for the first time since injuring his left knee on a hit by Carolina’s Bryan Allen on April 6. Wings coach Mike Babcock did not know if he would be able to play in Game 2 Saturday afternoon.
“He skated today,” Babcock said. “There’s always a chance (he’ll play). He’s day-to-day, that’s what I keep telling you.”
The Wings had an optional practice Thursday and very few regulars took part in. Zetterberg led the Wings in points this season with 80.
Update per PhoenixCoyotes.com’s Alan Walsh: Here’s part of Babs’ presser audio:
Update #1 via Craig Custance, answering a question I posed to him:
@georgemalik He didn’t skate with the team. Skated by himself.
So he’s still a ways out.
Update 1:23 PM: Here’s MLive’s Ansar Khan’s report:
Almost all of the regulars stayed off the ice today during the Detroit Red Wings optional practice. But the team was encouraged to see Henrik Zetterberg back on skates.
Zetterberg skated briefly by himself before practice. He worked out off ice without the brace on his left knee. He said he is day-to-day, with no decision made yet on his status for Game 2 Saturday against Phoenix (1 p.m., NBC).
“I feel better today than I did yesterday,’’ Zetteberg said. “It was fun to be out there, feel the puck again. I didn’t do any serious stuff, just go out and stick-handle a little bit and have some shots. I didn’t expect that a few days ago, even though I didn’t do basically anything out there.’‘
Whether he skates again Friday remains to be seen.
“It’s day by day. We’ll see how I react after today,’’ Zetterberg said. “We bumped it up a little bit in the workout room today. Just got to see how I respond.’‘
Update #2 1:27 PM: Per NHL.com’s Brian Hedger:
Zetterberg skated by himself this a.m., took some shots, moved around etc. Still day to day #Redwings #DetPhx #nhlplayoffs
Zetterberg: ““I was out there for 15 minutes maybe. It was fun to be out there (and) feel the puck again. I didn’t do any serious stuff.”
Z’berg: “it was definitely fun to be out there. I didn’t expect that a few days ago, even though I didn’t do, basically, anything out there
Zetterberg: “I feel better today than I did yesterday. As long as you (see) that progress, then I’m happy.” #DetPhx #nhlplayoffs
And Duff again:
#redwings Dan Cleary on if he’d prefer road trips to Phoenix, or Winnipeg: “I think we all know the answer to that.” #detphx
Zetterberg on his skate: “I was out there for 15 minutes. It was fun to be out there, feel the puck again.” #detphx
Zetterberg on Game 2: “We’ll see how I react after today. We bumped it up a little bit in the workout room, just got to see how I respond.’‘
Update 1:40 PM: Here’s Helene St. James’ report from the Free Press—and wow, she reveals what’s bugging Z!
Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg remains sidelined with a second-degree MCL sprain in his left knee, but he took a tender first step today and skated for about 15 minutes.
“It was fun to be out there, feel the puck again,” Zetterberg said. “I didn’t do any serious stuff—just go out and stickhandle a little bit, lob some shots, and that’s about it.”
Zetterberg’s injury normally takes three weeks to heal, and it only has been a week since he got hurt April 6 at Carolina. As long as things are going well for the Wings in their first-round series against Phoenix—they won Game 1, 4-2, on Wednesday—Zetterberg will remain on the sideline.
“It’s a lot easier to be on the side when the team is winning,” Zetterberg said. “It was a really good start for them, and I think we played well and, hopefully, we can have the same effort on Saturday.”
Forward Mike Modano, defenseman Jakub Kindl and goalie Chris Osgood were the only Wings regulars who skated today, as most players took advantage of a two-day break before Game 2.
“I told everyone it was an optional and not to go on the ice,” coach Mike Babcock said. “When are we next going to have the chance for a day off?”
Update #4: Here’s Ted Kulfan’s report:
“It was definitely fun to be out there,” said Zetterberg, who missed Game 1 of the series against Phoenix and is considered day-to-day for Game 2. “I didn’t expect that a few days ago, even though I didn’t do much other than stickhandling and shooting and moving around. It was fun to be out there.”
Zetterberg was on the ice himself with skates, gloves and his stick.
“It was fun to be out there and feel the puck again,” Zetterberg said. “I didn’t do any serious stuff. Just basically go out there and stickhandle and (fire) some shots and that’s it.”
Zetterberg wasn’t sure if he’d be on the ice Friday, though.
“We’ll see how it reacts,” Zetterberg said. “We bumped up the workout in the room today too. We’ll see how it responds.”
Coach Mike Babcock wouldn’t commit to Zetterberg’s status for Game 2.
And here’s more from Pleiness:
“I was out there for 15 minutes. It was fun to be out there, feel the puck again. I didn’t so any serious stuff, just go out and stick-handle a little bit and have some shots.
“It’s day by day. We’ll see how I react after today. We bumped it up a little bit in the workout room today. Just got to see how I respond.”
He was asked if it would be easier to rest him if the Wings keep winning, “Absolutely. It’s a lot easier to be on the side when the team’s winning.”
Update #5 GENIUS from Brian Hedger:
Also, just re-listened to the Datsyuk quote I’d like to make a T-shirt out of. Officially: “Not fun to have no puck.’‘
Datsyuk in full:“Always surprised when I have puck. It’s not easy now, anymore, to get puck. And I’m happy so far. Not fun to have no puck.”
“There’s always a chance,” Babcock said. “He’s day to day.”
Zetterberg, who skated by himself and not with the team during an optional practice, has been day to day for a while now but he saw the Thursday skate as progress.
“I was out there for 15 minutes maybe. It was fun to be out there (and) feel the puck again,” he said. “I didn’t do any serious stuff. Basically just go out and stick-handle a little bit, have some shots and that’s about it.”
If the Red Wings continue to play as they did Wednesday—in a 4-2 victory—the urgency to bring back Zetterberg decreases. Johan Franzen snapped out of his goal slump and returned to his usual playoff form. Pavel Datsyuk played as if he’s on the verge of a dominant playoff run.
“I just know when Pav has the puck lots, we’re a better team,” Babcock said. “He’s an elite, elite player.”
Update 2:06 PM: Heres Babcock’s presser from DetroitRedWings.com:
The presser is worth framing.
Update: If you want to read Craig Morgan’s take on the Coyotes’ PK from Fox Sports Arizona, enjoy;
• Also from St. James: Dan Cleary razzes Johan Franzen:
Franzen scored twice the last 27 games of the regular season, but is already on a goal-per-game pace one game into the Wings’ first-round series against Phoenix after scoring the second goal in Wednesday’s 4-2 victory. That stretched Franzen’s postseason scoring streak to 14 games.
“He just hates the regular season, I think,” Cleary said. “We all know how important he is to our team and when he’s going, he’s very hard to stop. He gets on this roll and it’s just complete dominance, physically and skating, because he’s so powerful with and without the puck, and his shot is lethal. It started the last game and he’s just continued on with it. He’s always played well in the post season for us.”
Update: Here’s Brian Hedger’s Zetterberg report from NHL.com...
“I was out there for 15 minutes, maybe,” said Zetterberg, who missed the final two games of the regular season and Wednesday night’s 4-2 Red Wings win in Game 1 with what’s believed to be a knee injury. “It was fun to be out there (and) feel the puck again. I didn’t expect that a few days ago, even though I didn’t do, basically, anything out there—just stickhandling, shooting and moving around a little bit.”
As for skating again on Friday, that will be determined by how his body reacts to the work he put in on Thursday.
“We’ll see how it reacts after today,” said Zetterberg, Detroit’s leading point-scorer in the regular season. “It bumped up a little bit in the workout room today, too. (We) just have to see how it will respond and regroup tomorrow.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock also left the door ajar as to Zetterberg’s return timetable.
“There’s always a chance,” Babcock said, when asked about the Swedish star’s availability for Game 2. “He’s day-to-day.”
And here’s a Larry Lage placeholder:
Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle says a series-evening win would make the trip to Detroit successful.
The Red Wings have other plans after being pushed to a Game 7 last year against the same team.
Detroit beat Phoenix 4-2 Wednesday night and hopes to play with a sense of urgency at home Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round rematch.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock says he told his players not to be “busying pumping their own tires” and to focus on getting better in Game 2.
Detroit’s leading scorer, Henrik Zetterberg, skated Thursday morning for the first time since injuring his left knee last week. Zetterberg says he’s still day to day, adding that how he feels Friday will be an important factor in his comeback.
Update: One more from Duff...
Chris Chelios on ice, helping put #redwings Black Aces through their paces. #detphx
• Here’s Dana Wakiji’s Zetterberg update from FSD:
When Pavel Datsyuk missed time during the season with a broken hand, it was Zetterberg who helped pick up the slack in his absence. Now it’s Datsyuk’s time to return the favor. In Game 1 Wednesday night, Datsyuk scored the game-tying goal and peppered Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov with a Zetterberg-like eight shots.
“We miss (him),” Datsyuk said after the game. “He all season play well.”
For Zetterberg, it was a relief to watch his Euro Twin as the Wings won.
“It’s a lot easier to be on the side when the team is winning and yesterday was a really good start for them,” Zetterberg said. “They played well and hopefully we can have the same effort on Saturday.”
Ideally, the Wings would be able to beat the Coyotes without Zetterberg and the other Western Conference first-round series would go longer, giving the talented center more time to rest and heal.
• Via RedWingsFeed, Jimmy Howard will appear on NHL Live at 4:50 PM EDT….
Update: I’m going with no comment given that the Arizona Republic’s Jim Gintonio spoke to someone who claimed that the Red Wings were “afraid” of the Coyotes prior to last night’s game:
There was a positive in the Coyotes’ 4-2 Game 1 loss to the Red Wings, says analyst Tyson Nash, and it’s something the team needs to replicate for Game 2 on Saturday. He believes the team will be ready for the challenge.
“I think obviously the way they played in the first period, they need to draw on that again and remember the success they had, why they had it and how they had it, and play like that for a full 60 minutes,” he said. “It’s one game – you hate to see that one wasted with opportunities (Coyotes had). Obviously, there are going to be adjustments that are going to be made, but more than anything, they just need to forget about that one, they know it’s going to be a long series and rebound like they’ve done all year. “
Forgetting about a playoff loss is difficult, he said, but in the grand scheme of things not a huge obstacle. Nash said it probably is tougher to rebound after a loss in the regular season when a team has four or five days off between ames.
“Because it’s playoffs, and you know you’re going to have another kick and another chance at redemption against the same team, I think it’s a little bit easier,” he said. “Obviously it means a lot more, and this team will be ready like we’ve seen all year. The structure, the adjustments the coaching staff made all season long will be there next game.”
The Coyotes’ downfall in Game 1 revolved around the power play. They failed to convert in six opportunities, including a 5-on-3 that lasted for 1:30. Nash says it’s a confidence issue.
“You watch guys like Keith Yandle carry the puck up the ice; it’s like he’s squeezing his stick a little too tight,” he said. “And I think the more that people talk about it, the more they emphasize it at practice, the more you’re thinking about it, the tighter you’re squeezing your stick. It’s just natural to feel that way. But zone entries are the biggest problem, I find. And I also find they’re trying to get a little too fancy – I’m not a power-play specialist by any means , just take a look at my numbers – but from upstairs it just looks like they’re trying to make one extra pass, and that’s costing them.”
• USA Today’s Kevin Allen states the obvious about Zetterberg:
1. Might Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg (knee) be ready to play Saturday against Phoenix?
Answer: Zetterberg skated — and did some stick-handling and shooting — on his own for 15 minutes Tuesday. He said: “I feel better today than I did yesterday.” Because the Red Wings won Game 1 against the Coyotes, it seems fair to assume the Red Wings will err on the side of caution. “Just got to see how I respond,” Zetterberg said.
• Here are some more tweets from Brian Hedger:
Cleary on Franzen: ‘He’s been happier the last few days. He just hates the regular season, I think.’
Cleary on Franzen: ‘When he’s going, he’s very hard to stop. He gets on this roll of just complete dominance, physical and skating.’ #DetPhx
Cleary to Bertuzzi: re: fight—‘I said, ‘I guess that’s what you’ve got to do to get your name chanted around here.’ #detphx #nhlplayoffs
• And we’re shifting focus to the Coyotes, via Todd Walsh:
#coyotes D D Morris still “day to day.” Not on ice for practice. Tippett audio in moments
Coyotes D Ed Jovanovski following practice at Joe for game two #detphx http://twaud.io/qxc5
#Coyotes Captain Shane Doan following practice at Joe Louis Arena for game two #detphx http://twaud.io/qxc6
#coyotes HC Dave Tippett following practice at Joe Louis Arena for game #detphx http://twaud.io/qxcV
And the Coyotes’ Twitter account:
Audio: Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski answers questions after Thursday’s practice in Detroit. http://bit.ly/f86Yda
Here’s that link.
• Also: Fox Sports Detroit was nominated for THIRTY Emmy awards.
Update: Here’s Tippet via the Coyotes’ website and Flash audio,/a>;
“I got a text from somebody I know real well – coached in the league a long time – this morning, and he said, ‘Remind your team the game starts at 7, not 7:45,’ ” Babcock said. “We took too many penalties and so you look like you’re bad, but I really thought we took over in the second period.”
Involves avoiding taking penalties:
“I was surprised at how tight it was last night,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “And yet, we warned (them) before the game, we didn’t make an adjustment in the first period, and we went to the box. That’s our problem; we have to fix that problem.”
Adapting to the playoff rules that referees focus on during this time of year was something that some Wings’ players talked about following Thursday’s option practice. Babcock said the officiating crew, led by former referee Don Koharski, reiterated – to both teams prior to the start of the series – the points of emphasis for the referees calling this best-of-seven game series.
“Sometimes I don’t know why we change,” Babcock said. “I think we made great adjustments to the game a few years back, I think those adjustments should be maintained all the time. … These guys want to ref in the Stanley Cup finals, and in order for them to do that, they have to do whatever they’re told.”
Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said that the league’s focus is on making players keep their sticks down. Eight of the nine minor penalties called in Game 1 were for stick-type violations for hooking, tripping and high-sticking.
“We were told before this series started that they were going to clamp down on sticks parallel to the ice,” he said. “Whether you’re hooking someone or having your stick on someone’s gloves, they were making those calls, so it’s something you have to know going into the game.”
And here are YouTube videos of Danny Cleary…
And Ed Jovanovski speaking to the Windsor Star:
Update: DetroitRedWings.com’s Dave Burke asked several Wings to weigh in on Pavel Datsyuk’s superstar-level shooting ability
“Pav taking a lot of shots is what we want, he’s got a good shot,” Lidstrom said. “It’s a lot harder to defend him when he’s shooting more and if you step-up on him he can stick handle through you.”
Datsyuk’s numbers are telling. In 111 career playoff games, he has averaged 2.5 shots per game. During the regular-season, he has averaged 2.2 shots/game.
“I just know that when Pav has the puck lots, we’re a better team, and when he has the puck we’re not playing defense, and we feel better about ourselves,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Any time a guy gets eight shots on net, he must have done something right. He’s an elite, elite player each and every night.”
“I think he feels more comfortable now than when he first came into the league,” Lidstrom said. “He’s one of the leaders in the locker room as an assistant captain and he brings a lot to our team, not only on the ice, but off the ice as well.”
“He amazes us every single game,” Howard said. “I mean he does it in practice and in games. Like the game in Chicago where he stick-handled through four guys. … I’m just thankful he’s on my team.”
Asked if he ever felt sorry for opposing goalies tasked with stopping the Russian star, Lidstrom said, “I don’t think I feel sorry for them. It’s more of a fun thing for us when he’s on top of his game. It’s hard to take the puck away from him and he can take it hard to the net, too, like he showed last night. He’s not known for taking a lot of shots, but I think he had eight last night, so that’s encouraging to see. … He’s hard to play against when he plays like that.”
• And the Detroit Hockey Examiner’s Paul Hunter added a few quips from both teams from Thursday, with the Wings speaking warily of the Coyotes’ push-back on Saturday….
“What happens when one team loses is they get better,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said after Thursday’s optional practice at Joe Louis Arena. “And sometimes the other team is so busy pumping its tires, they don’t get better.”
“Everything starts all over on Saturday,” Danny Cleary said. “They’re going to come out harder and we’re going to have to match it, just like Game 1.”
“We have to win a game in this building,” Phoenix’s Vernon Fiddler said after the Coyotes’ practice at JLA on Thursday. “We came here knowing that a split would be a good thing … We have to get this game.”
The Coyotes and Wings agreed that shot-blocking was key for the Wings, who blocked 18 shots…
“Those are the kind of things that are going to win for you in the playoffs,” Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.
And Babcock suggested that the Wings need to give Jimmy Howard an easier workload…
“As much as we did some good things, we got good goaltending,” Babcock said. “That probably made it seem we were better than we were.”
“We’re going to need everyone, especially with Zetterberg being out,” Lidstrom said. “We needed someone to step up and Mule (Franzen) did that last night.”
While Dave Tippett suggested that his team needs to get back down to the business of beating the Wings into submission physically:
“Not enough players on our side who were physically involved in the game,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.
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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.