The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/18/11 at 05:41 PM ET
Updated 4x at 5:56 with miscellaneous news: According to the Red Wings’ resident, “It’s 85 where I am, and you have snow, ha ha!” correspondent, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, Johan Franzen is highly probable to play in tonight’s game between the Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes (10:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Arizona/CBC/Versus/WXYT), but Babcock isn’t going to hedge his bets that Franzen’s 100% certain to play:
“His face seems to be fine. It’s a tough play,” explained coach Mike Babcock. “He got a stick in the face by (Eric) Belanger (Phoenix center) on the way down, that one got him on the lip, and his head hit in the end boards. For most people that would hurt. We’re lucky he’s the Mule and he should be fine.”
Babcock said he’ll have forwards ready (likely Mike Modano) just in case Franzen can’t play. But Babcock doesn’t expect to change his lineup from the first two games.
“That’s what my plan is at this point,” Babcock said. “I’ll have extras dress (for the pre-game skate) but that’s not in my plan (for any changes).”
The Coyotes, for their part, understand the importance of this game. A win gets them back in the series, but a loss puts in them in an almost insurmountable hole.
“You find a way to win this and it changes everything,” Doan said. “That’s all we’re focusing on.”
The Coyotes will have defenseman Ed Jovanovski (upper body) in the lineup—he was hurt briefly in Game 2—but will miss defenseman Derek Morris (lower body) for the third consecutive game.
Kulfan raised an eyebrow about the fact that Franzen left the locker room before the media was allowed to enter it, and MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Franzen only took part in the morning skate for a brief period of time:
Franzen tried skating, wearing a visor, but didn’t stay out there long, shaking his head as he stood along the boards. He headed to the training room and wasn’t available for comment. His received facial injuries after being slammed into the boards on a hit by Shane Doan early in Game 2 but returned midway through the second period and finished the game.
Otherwise, no news is no news on the Zetterberg front…
Henrik Zetterberg (sprained left knee) skated again and is making progress, but he’s not expected to return until Game 6, if at all in the series.
And Khan believes we’ll see the following lineups for Detroit…
Ray Whitney-Eric Belanger-Shane Doan
Lauri Korpikoski-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt-Vernon Fiddler-Lee Stempniak
Andrew Ebbett-Kyle Turris-Mikkel Boedker
Keith Yandle-Michal Rozsival
Ed Jovanovski-Adrian Aucoin
David Schlemko-Rostislav Klesla
Franzen’s quick exit from both the morning skate and media dodge has the Free Press’s Helene St. James listing Franzen as “a game-time decision”...
Forward Johan Franzen will be a game-time decision tonight as the Detroit Red Wings take a 2-0 lead up against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 3 at Jobing.com Arena. In addition to dealing with some nasty cuts to his face stemming from Game 2, Franzen also has a sore ankle. He’s going to get that numbed up pregame, and if he can play, he’s in.
If Franzen plays, he’s expected to wear a protective mask.
That sore ankle stems from the hit, obviously, as he went into the end boards hard…
And St. James took note of the fact that both teams are expecting the atmosphere at Jobing.com arena to be electric:
“It’s fun,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “You get the Red Wings fans mixed in with the Coyotes fan, and it makes for a great atmosphere. Last year, in the games that were played here, the place was really loud, and I’m expecting the same.”
Phoenix captain Shane Doan said he could “feel the energy immediately” when he walked onto the ice, and is hoping it’ll help the Coyotes get back into the series.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed being down two,” he said. “But realistically, it is what it is, and you’ve got to win at home. We’ve got to win these two at home; that’s our focus. We’ve got to be a little more desperate, I think, 1-through-20. Our team is built on the fact we count on absolutely everybody on our team. When we’re good, that’s what’s going on. We need that.”
“He won’t be available to us tonight,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after Monday’s morning skate at Jobing.com Arena.
Babcock expects to use his Game 2 lineup for Game 3 on Monday night, with the Wings leading the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series 2-0. Zetterberg “tweaked” his lower body injury a few days ago, Babcock said, but has felt a lot better over the last two practices.
“Eventually when he’s ready he’ll tell us,’’ Babcock said.
On the Coyotes side, Ed Jovanovski will play Monday night.
“I’m good to go,’’ the veteran defenseman said after Monday’s morning skate.
Via the Coyotes’ website, here’s Dave Tippett’s presser…
As well as Mike Babcock’s presser…
NHL On the Fly’s game previews for Monday night…
The playoff-opening video the Wings are showing at the Joe, as Paul posted…
And Babcock and the players’ comments for Sunday were posted belatedly:
Update #1A: Grand Rapids Griffins GM Bob McNamara spoke to WBBL’s Huge Show about the Wings:
And Andrew Ebbett speaking to the media…
Jovo w out cage. He’s in. He prefers no cage. Not sure yet for game time. Morris didn’t skate. #detphx
Tippett talking about the need for “controlled emotion.” As he said yesterday, good players play hard without taking penalties.
• Fox Sports Arizona says that Ken Daniels will take part in their pre-game show;
• Coyotes.com’s Dave Vest also offered the following Tweets:
FYI, Nils Lofgren of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band will sing the national anthem at tonight’s game.
Regarding Derek Morris’ status, Dave Tippett said the Coyotes likely will have the same lineup for tonight’s game that they had in Game 2.
Here’s a stat for Coyotes fans: The Red Wings have lost eight of the last 11 Game 3 road games they’ve played in the playoffs.
• And NHL.com’s Jerry Brown filed a pre-game report:
“[Franzen’s] face seems to be fine,’’ Babcock said. “It’s a tough play, he got high-sticked in the face by (Eric) Belanger on the way down. His head hit the boards, which probably for most people that would hurt. We’re lucky he’s the Mule and he should be fine.’‘
Franzen returned to Game 2 midway through the second period without any facial protection and finished the game. If Franzen can’t go, veteran Mike Modano would be the likely replacement and the top three lines would be shuffled for the Red Wings, who will again be without center Henrik Zetterberg (sprained left knee).
Zetterberg skated again Monday and is making progress, although he won’t play in Phoenix and isn’t expected until at least Game 6 in this series, if there is one.
For the Coyotes, defenseman Ed Jovanovski took part in the morning skate and is good to go after suffering an upper-body injury in the second period of Game 2. Jovanovski also skated without a caged mask over his face for the first time since returning injury on April 1 and is contemplating playing without it for the first time as well. Jovanovski underwent orbital bone surgery in late February and missed 20 games before returning with the mask, which he has found to be restrictive and uncomfortable.
“It’s always tough finding pucks down low when you’ve got this barbed wire in front of your face,” Jovanovski said. “But you also have to be smart too. Anytime you go on the ice there is a risk you take. I’ll talk to the trainers and see what they say.”
• PhoenixCoyotes.com’s Dave Vest just posted his game-day preview:
“I think we’re pretty confident as a group that, hey, we can compete, and we can play, and it’s just we need to do it for a full 60 minutes,” Doan said. “We haven’t put it together the way that we want to, and we need a bunch of guys to step up.”
Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who left Game 2 in the second period because of an upper-body injury, will play tonight. Defenseman Derek Morris, who has missed the first two games because of an upper-body injury, is questionable. Ilya Bryzgalov, who has given up eight goals in the first two games, will be back in net for the Coyotes. The Coyotes fell behind 4-0 before rallying to within 4-3 in Game 2 on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.
“We just have to play harder,” defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. “We have to play a little faster and do things quicker, not necessarily charging guys or anything, but just getting the puck behind them quicker and using our speed. We did show what we could do when we put our minds to it.”
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett wants to see his team improve its play in all zones.
“Our guys are up for that challenge,” Tippett said. “We want that challenge. Our power play came through and got us back in the game (on Saturday). That’s the way a series goes, there’s always ebbs and flows like that.”
• The CBC’s series blogger provides an update on Chris Osgood:
Zetterberg isn’t the only player on Detroit’s injury list. Goaltender Chris Osgood, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, has been idle since early January following sports hernia surgery, and there’s no timetable as to when he might return. Journeyman Joey MacDonald has been suiting up as back-up to Jimmy Howard.
“I don’t know,” was Osgood’s assessment of his current physical status. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Even if he doesn’t get back in time for the playoffs, Osgood, 38, insisted he’d be back next season for sure.
“I’m coming back next year,” he said. “But I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking about getting ready to play if they need me to play.’‘
The Wings believe that time will come later, not sooner.
“You can’t be out three months and have two practices and come in and be Chris Osgood, it’s impossible,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. It says Osgood on the back of his jersey but it’s not Osgood. You can’t practice three times and say, ‘I’m ready to play in the National Hockey League.’ If it was that easy it wouldn’t be much of a league.’‘
• I already posted Terry Foster’s take on the NHL’s employment of the Detroit Police department to squelch the Wings’ octopus-throwing tradition, but I didn’t post this nearly priceless comment:
The throwing of octopi is a Detroit thing. It’s a great playoffs tradition that needs to continue. Now the NHL wants to step in a take away another tradition.
It’s already taken away from us the Maple Leafs and Canadiens, two Original Six teams we get to see play in Detroit about as frequent as solar eclipses. The league also forces the Wings to travel farther than any team in the NHL, so the sagging West Coast teams can boost attendance when the Wings come to town.
The Wings are like the NHL’s Cinderella. They’re a lovely shining jewel that has to scrub floors and make beds while the ugly stepsisters benefit.
I remember talking to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after the Wings won the Cup in 1998 about the importance of having a dynasty like the Wings in the league. He looked at me like I was crazy before giving a politically correct answer.
• Paul already posted this, but I think Elliotte Freidman’s Wings-related comments in his “30 Thoughts” are worth repeating:
6. Watching Johan Franzen come back in Game 2, face looking like it lost a fight with a chainsaw, was pretty incredible to most of us. What really struck me were the reactions of Galley and Glenn Healy. They looked at the Detroit bench, noticed the other players didn’t seem surprised at all and said, “It’s expected there. You can see how they expected he would come back. It’s an organization that knows what it takes to win and that’s part of it.”
7. When we were doing our piece on Pavel Datsyuk last month, Craig Simpson talked about how the Oilers coaches compared him to Wayne Gretzky in the sense that you could try to intimidate him, but he refused to cower. Kevin Weekes also brought it up Saturday, that you won’t scare him no matter what you do.
28. Understand the NHL was worried about salmon tossing in Vancouver, snake-tossing in Phoenix and maybe even dwarf-tossing in Australia. But, there’s got to be a better way than fining people in Detroit. Not only is it a great tradition, but Red Wings fans weren’t abusing it. It’s not like there were 500 a game.
• In prospect news, HQ Kelowna.com’s James Moore confirms that Mitchell Callahan’s coach, Ryan Huska, believes that the Wings will ask Callahan to “turn pro” next season:
Huska says the focus is already shifting to next season. For starters, the Rockets will need to find a new captain as defender Tyson Barrie is expected to move on to professional hockey with the Colorado Avalanche organisation, and Mitchell Callahan’s strong year could see him get a shot at playing in the Detroit Red Wings’ system.
Centre I.C.E. Arena held its first 2011 Red Wings training camp ticket sale on April 16th. This year’s camp will be held September 17 - 20 with the NHL Prospects Pournament scheduled for September 10 - 14. Local fans came out in numbers to buy tickets for the event, with all tickets for Saturday September 18th being sold. There are still available tickets for all other dates. A future Internet or fax sale is planned for later this summer. Stay tuned to http://www.theleftwinglock.com/ for future updates or check the Training Camp Central Page for more frequent updates.
One more thing from RedWingsFeed, via the Red Wings’ website and their Facebook page:
Snow at the Joe on April 18th? Believe it. We got 2 inches of snow in Southeastern Michigan early this morning.
Update #4: In the tidbits category: Yahoo Sports’ Kelly Friesen spoke to draft-eligible defenseman Brenden Kitchton about his pluses after a spectacular season with the Spokane Chief. If the Wings can snag him via a mid-round pick, they’d have quite the defenseman on their hands in a former prospect tournament invitee;
• Kelowna Rockets play-by-play man Regan Bartel believes that Mitchell Calalhan will indeed join the Wings;
• Danny Cleary wants to sell you a Rolex!
• And this story from the Fenton Patch’s Jason Alexander seems to be a proper foil to the Cleary commercial:
Katie Hasn’t Stopped Fighting
The Fenton teen is battling kidney cancer, but “I’m going places,” she said, including a recent Detroit Red Wings game and a visit to Florida.
Several months ago, the Wyatts heard some of the most devastating news a family can endure. Doctors said there wasn’t much more they could do in 14-year-old Katie Wyatt’s battle with kidney cancer. She had to sacrifice school. She had to give up regular visits from classmates. There was pain. There was fatigue. And there wasn’t much time.
Her family, father Doug Wyatt and his girlfriend Lisa Moryc and Katie’s mother Sandy Wyatt, cherished every moment they had with her. And although there has not been a cure and her case is still considered terminal, she’s feeling a little better these days. In fact, she’s even hanging out with the Detroit Red Wings.
“I’m feeling a lot better,” Katie said. “I’m walking around and going places.”
One of those places was a Detroit Red Wings game last month, where she sat in a suite, rode the Zamboni and met the players in the locker room after the game.
“They were all nice,” Katie said. “They all stopped and said hi.”
• Update #3A, per DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness:
The official Facebook page of the Red Wings surpassed the 500,000 mark in total followers this past weekend, making the reigning Central Division champs the sixth National Hockey League team to reach the half-million mark on the popular social networking website.
“We’re very pleased with the growth our social media outlets have seen this season,” says Red Wings director of marketing Rob Mattina. “In addition to more than doubling the number of Facebook followers we have, our official Twitter feed has become one of the most popular accounts in the NHL and serves as an outstanding conduit between the club and our fans. Vehicles such as these allow us to interact with our fans in a very direct and meaningful manner, and we will continue to explore new and exciting ways to engage our ever-growing audience and provide them with top-notch content and promotions.”
Detroit began the 2010-11 season with just over 200,000 followers on Facebook, with that number dramatically increasing in size in recent months thanks to a variety of integrated promotions with companies like AT&T and DMC as well as innovative endeavors such as the current ‘Create Your Moment’ viral video campaign, which has already attracted significant attention on the Red Wings’ official YouTube channel. Five Detroit players have also been a worldwide trending topic on Twitter this season – forwards Darren Helm (3/28/11), Mike Modano (3/21/11), Johan Franzen (2/2/11) and Pavel Datsyuk (10/8/10) as well as goaltender Chris Osgood (12/27/10). The Red Wings’ official Twitter feed currently has over 50,000 followers, making it by far the most popular account of any of Detroit ’s four major professional sports franchises.
As part of their ongoing commitment to social media, the Red Wings held a pair of ‘Tweet-Up’ gatherings in Boston and Nashville earlier this season, reserved exclusively for the team’s Facebook/Twitter followers in each city. Each event attracted more than 100 nonresident citizens of Hockeytown and gave fans the opportunity to meet and interact with their fellow Red Wings devotees. Furthermore, the team’s ongoing ‘DMC Social Media Fan of the Day’ contest has drawn submissions from over 2,000 fans in 15 countries, making it one of the most popular and diverse hockey-based promotions Web 2.0 has yet produced.
More information on the Red Wings’ social media efforts can be obtained by visiting the team’s official website at DetroitRedWings.com.
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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.