The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/10/11 at 01:04 PM ET
Updated 11x at 2:47 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks prepare to face off tonight (8 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Bay Area/Versus/TSN/WXYT), big news emerged regarding the absence of a particular Shark, as noted by the Detroit News’s John Niyo:
Ryane Clowe out for Sharks. Didn’t make trip. Talk of flu-like symptoms, but have to think its result of Kronwall hit in Gm 5?
Johan Franzen also skipped the Wings’ morning skate, as noted by the Red Wings social media coordinator Jake Duhaime, which means that Mike Modano’s in (more after the jump):
The Wings will go through their traditional morning skate, followed by San Jose. If we have any lineup related news, we’ll pass it along.
The Wings are on the ice at JLA. yfrog.com/h0nlvvkj
Nobody wants to see Draper’s ‘Chuck Norris’ look go away anytime soon. yfrog.com/h86wkddj
Have not spotted Franzen out there as of yet.
Lidstrom: We have the same approach for tonight’s game. We know it is do or die and we have to play our game.
Cleary on the crowd: We have good fans who are knowledgeable and expect big things from us.
Kronwall: We need to play a solid game for 60 minutes tonight. That’s what we need to do.
And the Sporting News’s Craig Custance confirms that Franzen is out and Mike Modano’s in:
Modano in for Game 6. Says he found out last night.
WXYT 97.1 the Ticket confirms...
Modano in, he knew last night, Franzen out
And NHL.com’s Dave Lozo, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun (who says that Pavel Datsyuk took the morning skate), CSN Bay Area’s Ray Ratto, the San Jose Mercury News and CSN Bay Area’s Brodie Brazil confirm that Clowe did not make the trip [edit: so does NHL.com’s Brain Hedger, the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff and the Detroit News’s Chris McCosky]:
Ratto notes the following about Clowe:
Clowe played last 1:20 of Game 5, so if it is something significant, he played with it for awhile
Update #1: Rolling along, via 97.1 the Ticket:
Nick Kronwall expects tonights atmosphere to be “off the hook”
Babcock confirms Modano is in for Franzen (ankle) tonight; coach says Datsyuk is good to go
“There’s rumors going around that he’s hurt, but he looks good to me.”—Mike Babcock on Pavel Datsyuk. #SJSDet
Babcock: Mule (Franzen) is not playing tonight.
Stating the obvious, via Duff:
Babcock on Franzen: “He’s basically been out the whole series.” #sjsdet
Babcock on other lineup changes: “I’m not 100 per cent sure.” #sjsdet
Tomas Holmstrom on #redwings injuries: “Everybody’s fine. We’re all fresh as daisies.” #sjsdet
Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji...
“Mule’s out, basically been out all series.” #Wings coach Mike Babcock
#Wings Babcock: “I like watching playoff hockey because it’s men making plays.”
#Wings Mike Babcock said he “hadn’t decided” on any other lineup changes than putting Modano in for Franzen. #SJSDet
Here’s Modano’s line, via LeBrun:
Rafalski didn’t skate this morning but Babcock says he’ll play tonight; also says Modano will warm up alongside Datsyuk and Holmstrom.
Ahem, via Brazil:
Kronwall on Clowe: “Obviously you don’t want him to be too badly hurt. But they said it was flu symptoms.” #sjsharks #redwings
Update #2: Here’s the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s Modano report:
Mike Modano will replace Johan Franzen in the lineup for Game 6 tonight at Joe Louis Arena. Franzen has been bothered by an ankle injury. Modano will take the pre-game skate with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom.
“He’s come in before late notice, in Phoenix, and did an excellent job to say the least,” Wings forward Danny Cleary said. “It’s not an easy situation to deal with considering his career.
“One last shot and he really hasn’t been able to get in,” Cleary added. “His professionalism, work ethic and his attitude can’t be questioned. He’s here when we need him.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock would not say who the other forward is what will be a healthy scratch.
• MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms:
San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe did not make the trip for Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Sharks said he has flu-like symptoms, which seems ridiculous. There is rampant speculation that he was hurt on the open-ice hit from Niklas Kronwall during the second period of Game 5 on Sunday.
Waiting for official word from the Sharks.
• The Mercury News’s David Pollak offers this on Clowe:
Still nothing from the team, but word being spread is “flu-like symptoms” kept Ryane Clowe off the plane — leaving open the possibility, I suppose, of a private jet whisking him here today if he woke up feeling better. More shortly.
DETROIT — Ryane Clowe is not here with the Sharks.I don’t know any more than that right now and questions trying to find out went unanswered. Is it an injury issue? No answer, but I can tell you he was on the ice when Game 5 ended. Will he be able to play tonight? No answer.
• CSN’s Brazil offers the following speculation:
Benn Ferriero wearing a white sweater = top 2 lines, so is Ben Eager. #sjsharks
• If you’re interested, via 97.1 the Ticket:
Update #3: In the “radio interviews” category, Fox Sports Detroit’s Larry Murphy spoke to WDFN’s Matt Sheppard this morning…
And USA Today’s Kevin Allen appeared on WBBL’s B&B show:
Update #3.5: Let’s all be offended, via the Mercury News’s David Pollak:
“They said it was flu-like symptoms so I don’t think it’s got anything to do with that hit whatsoever,” said Kronwall, whose source for that tidbit about those symptoms was the media, not anybody official.
Did Kronwall get the sense he may have hurt Clowe with that hit?
“I don’t know, I never really think too much after a hit. You just go out there and try to play physical and that’s just how I go about it,” he said.
Was there any talking on the ice between him and Clowe?
“No he’s an honest player,” Kronwall said, “plays hard, works hard.”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he wasn’t aware of the Clowe situation until a reporter asked him about it at the morning briefing. But he played down any impact on his team’s preparation for the game.
“The great thing about this time of the year is that it’s them and us and it doesn’t matter if it’s Thornton or Clowe or Setoguchi – it’s a team game and they’ve got a good team,” Babcock said. “I’m sure they’ll slide someone in. I don’t know who it’ll be. We’ve got to get our team ready to play,” he added. “That’s what matters.”
• The Sporting News’s Craig Custance filed a report confirming that Clowe is out…
• And the Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms that Franzen is out and Modano is in:
“Mule is just a little sore, so Mike called me and let me know that I’ll be going in,” Modano said. “I’m a tad excited to say the least.”
Pavel Datsyuk, who is dealing with a sore wrist, is in, but Babcock said there might be other changes up to the lineup. He pulled Jiri Hudler from Sunday’s lineup, opting instead to have more speed by going to Drew Miller. Modano, from Westland, is starting the game on the left side of Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, and will man the second point on the power play.
“It’s the same thing with Mo and any other player,” Babcock said. “He comes in with an opportunity, a good opportunity for him, good opportunity for us. He can skate. He’s got to compete.
“The series is going. I mean, there’s mistakes made out there by both teams that you don’t see during the year because the pace is so high. There’s no room. If you think you’re going to go out there and make a nice little play, that’s not going to happen. You’ve got to go out there and grind.”
Update #4: More on Clowe from Kronwall:
“Obviously, you don’t want anyone to get hurt,’’ Kronwall said. “They said it was flu-like symptoms. I don’t think it has anything to do with that hit whatsoever.’‘
Asked if he thought he shook up Clowe after the hit, Kronwall said, “I don’t know. I don’t think anything too much after a hit. You just go out there, try to play physical.
“He’s an honest player, works hard, plays hard. He’s a good player.’‘
Clowe has been one of the Sharks’ best players in the postseason, leading the team with 13 points (four goals, nine assists). He has no goals and six assists in this series.
“We have to go about it just like as if he would have been in the lineup,’’ Kronwall said. “I know he’s a big key for them.’‘
• Khan also suggested that the Sharks might be the Wings’ “perfect match” earlier this morning;
• Via the Wings
http://twitvid.com/VOTJO - Brief video glimpse of our morning skate prior to Game 6.
• NHL.com’s Hedger also spoke to Modano about lining up against the SHarks:
Modano on Sharks: ‘Nabokov’s not there anymore, so I kind of enjoyed playing against him. Niemi’s a different story.’ #SJSDet
Modano: I’ve been in that division since the days they played in the cow palace. W/Doug Wilson there they’ve created a winning attitude.
• Also: Per the NHL’s spreadsheet‘s worth of game notes, Dan O’Rourke and Paul Devorski will work tonight’s game, with Brad Kovachik and Scott Driscoll working the lines;
• And NHL.com’s Dave Lozo offers these Sharks updates:
No line rushes today for the Sharks, so it’s tough to say who will go into Clowe’s spot. Eager said he doesn’t know if he’s in. #SJSDet
McLellan still hasn’t said Clowe is out, but everyone in the locker room talked about him not playing tonight. #SJSDet
ESPN’s LeBrun disagrees:
Just chatted with Sharks coach Todd McLellan who confirmed Ryane Clowe is out for tonight with upper body injury
Update #5: Here’s DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose’s Modano report...
“The game in Phoenix went pretty well, so you just kind of wait and see,” said Modano, of his situation. “You do your part to kind of be prepared the best you can, but until you get out there tonight and get those first couple shifts in, hopefully you can relax after that.”
Franzen, who was injured in Game 2 against Phoenix, labored through the first five games in this series. He skated for nine-minutes in Game 5, and doesn’t have a single point against the Sharks.
“This time of the year, for the Mule to do what he did, is pretty honorable,” Modano said. “Everybody tries to suck it up for your teammates and to win and to eventually move on series to series. He did what he could, he’s played hard, but I’m just excited to get an opportunity and hope to make the most of it.”
Besides his potential offensive production, Modano’s presence will be useful in the face-off circle, especially if Datsyuk can’t manage to take draws. The Wings’ top face-off men in the playoffs – with a 55.4 winning percentage – Datsyuk hasn’t taken a draw since late in the third period of Game 4.
“We’ll try to share the load,” Modano said. “I think it’s just wait and see how (Datsyuk) feels the first couple he takes, and then try to slide in.
“It’s been a while since I’ve taken them, but the way our wingers compete and help out, that’s a big advantage for us.”
And the Wings’ website just posted Babcock’s presser:
And here’s the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch’s morning skate report:
The Wings will dress veteran Mike Modano in Franzen’s place. The Sharks can put rugged winger Jamal Mayers in the lineup, but losing Clowe is a huge blow. He’s the club’s best player with four goals and 13 points in 11 playoff games.
“The Mule is a little sore so (coach) Mike (Babcock) called me and let me know I’ll be going in,” said Modano. “I’m excited to say the least. At this time of the year for The Mule to do what he did is pretty honourable. Everybody just tries to suck it up for their teammates to win. He did what he could. He played hard. I’m excited to get an opportunity.”
The Wings aren’t going to change their approach just because there’s no Clowe in the lineup.
“It doesn’t change anything for us. We’re going to have the same approach whether he’s playing or not,” said Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom. “We know it’s do-or-die for us to stay alive in this series. It’s been the same approach as the last two games: one game at a time.”
Update #5.5: The Detroit News’s Ted Kuflan weighs in:
The Wings won’t have Johan Franzen, who has been hampered by a left ankle injury. Franzen will be replaced by Mike Modano, who’ll make his first appearance in this series. The Sharks will miss Ryane Clowe, who didn’t make the trip to Detroit. The team is calling it flu-like symptoms, although there is speculation Clowe may have concussion symptoms stemming from the second-period hit in Game 5 from Niklas Kronwall along the boards.
Modano got the news Monday from coach Mike Babcock he was going to replace Franzen.
“Excited, to say the least,” said Modano, who had an assist in Game 4 of the first round when he replaced Franzen against Phoenix. “It was tough sleeping knowing I’m playing and no mystery about it. In some sense, that’s good; in some sense, it’s bad. It was kind of a restless sleep, but you have time to think about what you want to do as a player.”
Neither Pavel Datsyuk nor Brian Rafalski took part in the morning skate but both are in the lineup. Clowe leads the Sharks with 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists). He did finish Game 5, a game in which Clowe had an assist and played more than 18 minutes.
“He’s been one of their best players. He’s physical and he holds on to the puck. He’s a really good forward. That’s a big loss for them, for sure,” Tomas Holmstrom said.
Update #5.75: Take this, from CSN Bay Area’s Brodie Brazil, as you will:
Coach McLellan said Clowe’s injury has nothing to do with Kronwall hit, that he’ll be able to play moving forward. #sjsharks #redwings
Ditto for the Sharks’ website:
Ryane Clowe won’t play with an upper body injury. He stayed home in San Jose.
McLellan says the players dressed for the game are more important than the players that aren’t. He’ll finalize the lineup before the game.
More Modano from NHL.com’s Hedger:
“It was tough last night sleeping, knowing that I was playing and there was no mystery about it,” said Modano, 40, whom some would argue is the greatest American-born player in NHL history. “It wasn’t coming here and waiting and seeing after warm-up or whatever. In some sense that’s good. In some sense that’s bad. I mean, you get kind of restless sleep, but then again you have time to really think about what you want to do as a player and what’s expected of you. It’s a Game 6, elimination game and the fans are going to be very revved up.”
Detroit didn’t skate forward lines at practice on Tuesday morning, but coach Mike Babcock said he plans on warming Modano up on Tuesday night in Franzen’s top-line spot with center Pavel Datsyuk and right wing Tomas Holmstrom. That could help Datsyuk with faceoffs, as the Russian star is rumored to have a wrist injury that resulted in him not taking any draws in Game 5. The Red Wings haven’t officially admitted Datsyuk is even injured, but Babcock did let reporters draw their own conclusions after saying “he’s our best faceoff guy,” when asked about his lack of faceoffs after Game 5. Modano, who’s played center for most of his 21-year NHL career, said he’ll be prepared to perform in the circles for draws if called upon.
“We’ll try to share the load there,” Modano said. “We’ll just see how (Datsyuk) feels, the first couple he takes and try to slide in. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken them, but the way our wingers compete and help out, that’s a big advantage for us.”
It could also be an advantage to have Modano in there for Franzen, who re-injured his ankle in Game 5 and wasn’t able to skate well enough to play in the third period—when Detroit scored three times to win after falling down 3-1 early in the period. Having a healthy Modano able to skate could be a big boost for the Wings, who still trail the series 3-2 despite gaining momentum with two straight wins.
“I’m excited just to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s all you look forward to all season long, to be involved in some sense and be on the ice with these guys and competing—knowing they’re going through some physical and mental abuse out there and to kind of help lighten that load maybe and not be such a target.”
Update #5.8: Here’s NHL on the Fly’s game preview:
Update #6: Here’s the Mercury News’s Pollak’s morning skate report…
Forget flu-like symptoms. Todd McLellan just described Clowe’s injury as upper body. He said, no, it didn’t have to do with the Kronwall hit and, as mentioned earlier, the coach pointed out that Clowe was on the ice to finish the game.
Still, it was something that happened during the game and not on the ride home. McLellan added that the team anticipated having Clowe available going forward.
The Sharks coach would not tip his hand as to either which player would be added to the lineup replacing Clowe or what changes, if any, might be coming to lines other than the one he played on.
• NHL.com’s Dave Lozo noted McLellan’s comments about Clowe:
“It puts a little more pressure on other players,” McLellan said. “He’s obviously an important guy to our hockey club. It’s not about the ones that are out of the lineup. It’s about the ones that are in.”
Clowe was hit hard by Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall during Game 5, but did not leave the game due to injury. Clowe was on the ice for the final 1:20 as the Sharks pressed for the tying goal before falling 4-3. McLellan said the injury had nothing to do with the hit and believes Clowe could be available for a Game 7 or in the next round should the Sharks advance. Clowe has 6 assists against the Red Wings in this Western Conference Semifinal series, which the Sharks lead 3-2. When asked if Clowe’s injury potentially happened off the ice, McLellan responded, “Unless his wife slashed him at home, it happened during the game.”
“During the course of a year, you’re going to have a guy that’s out,” Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. “Different guys have to step up. That’s been the case all year. I wouldn’t expect anything different from us tonight. Guys just have to pick up the slack for Clowe.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wasn’t aware of Clowe’s absence until he was asked about it. Babcock said it wouldn’t change anything his team does in terms of preparation or scheme.
“The great thing about this time of year is it’s them and us, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Thornton or Clowe or (Devin) Setoguchi. It’s a team game,” Babcock said. “They’ve got a good team.”
• And Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji noted the Wings’ takes on Modano’s addition...
“It’s the same thing with Mo as it is with any player,” Babcock said. “He comes in with an opportunity for him, a good opportunity for us. He’s got to skate, he’s got to compete. It’s racing out there. There’s mistakes being made defensively by both teams that you don’t see during the year, because the pace is so high. There’s no room. If you think you’re going to go out there and make a nice play, it’s not going to happen. You’ve got to go out there and grind and compete and work hard. If you do that, the offense is going to come off the cycle, not off the rush. We’ve got to find a way to get him involved in that.”
“It’s not an easy situation to deal with, considering his career,” Cleary said. “He’s a Hall of Fame player, one last shot and hasn’t been able to get in kind of his groove. His professionalism, work ethic, can’t be questioned, his attitude. When needed, he was huge for us in Phoenix. Then tonight, it’s another big game.”
And the Wings suggested to Wakiji that Clowe’s abscence isn’t a big tactical deal…
“It doesn’t change anything for us really,” Lidstrom said. “We’re going to have the same approach whether he’s playing or not. We know it’s do or die for us to stay alive in this series and it’s been the same approach as the last two games, just one game at a time, get out there and focus on that first period. Get things going early on in the game.”
Because their bottom line remains the same:
“We’re trying to stay loose,” Lidstrom said. “We know the importance of the game. We know what’s at skate here so we have to stay loose as a group. We’re focused, too, and we have to be focused. We know it’s the same scenario as the previous two games, that we have to win or we’re done. That’s the approach that we have.”
The Wings are a veteran team who have been in all kinds of different situations through the years, which helps when adversity hits.
“I think knowing that a lot of the guys have been around for a long time, they can keep the calmness in the room,” Kronwall said. “They say the right things and everyone else tries to feed off that and listen to a lot of what they have to say and just kind of go about it the way they do. We have guys who’ve been around a long time and they lead the way for us.’‘
• I’ve got nothing on this one by Craig Custance:
Dan Boyle on Mike Modano: “I’m not buying that he’s done. I think he’s got a lot of life in him.”
• If you wish to watch Barry Melrose’s take on tonight’s game, it’s embedded within LeBrun’s Clowe/Modano report;
• Technically speaking, TSN’s Bob McKenzie on the Wings and Sharks, blah blah blah, SI’s Darren Eliot on tonight’s game, blah blah blah…
Who’s Hot: Even McLellan acknowledged that Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk was the best player on the ice in Game 5 – not that he was breaking any news there. Datsyuk, who leads the Wings with seven points in the series, was his regular dynamic self and his takeaway and set-up of the game-winning goal was nothing short of spectacular. Fellow superstar Henrik Zetterberg (1g, 5a) has gotten better with every game, after a knee injury forced him to miss the Red Wings’ first round sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom leads the Red Wings with four goals.
The Sharks have gotten scoring from a wide range of players, as eight San Jose players have at least three points in the series. Dan Boyle (2g, 4a) and Clowe (6a) are tied for the team lead in points, while Couture (2g, 3a) and Joe Thornton (5a) are right behind. Devin Setoguchi’s team-leading four goals in the series have also been key.
Storylines: San Jose would certainly like to avoid a Game 7 in this series, especially now that the Vancouver Canucks have advanced and are awaiting the winner. The Canucks finished off the Nashville Predators on Monday night to win that second round matchup, four games to two.
History is still on the San Jose’s side…kind of. The Sharks are 5-2 all-time when leading a playoff series three games to two, but are just 4-13 all-time in a Game 6. That includes the series-clinching victory over Los Angeles in this year’s first round, when Joe Thornton scored in overtime. Incidentally, the last time the Sharks played a Game 7 was in 2008, when they defeated Calgary in the first round, 5-3.
Update 6.5: Here are the Sharks addressing Clowe’s absence while speaking to their website’s staff:
“Everyone has to pick it up that much more,” Patrick Marleau said. “He’s a big part of this team, but it’s a big opportunity for someone to step up.”
“I think during the course of the year you’re going to have a guy that’s out and different guys have to step up and that’s been the case all year. We just have to pick up the slack,” Captain Joe Thornton said.
“There are no excuses, regardless of who is in the lineup or not. We could have five guys out and it’s not going to matter,” Joe Pavelski said. “At the end of the day, it’s about wins and losses.”
“During the season the lines were shuffled around,” Pavelski said. “We know what we want to do. We have a structured set and we want to do it the right way.”
“We want to get that fourth win and we’ve had some success in this building in the past so we’ll draw upon it,” Marleau said. “We’ll come out and have a good game tonight. We’ve got to play our system to a T. We want to come out on our toes, play loose and have some fun out there. It’s a great opportunity and that’s how we have to look at it.”
“When the puck’s dropped you forget about a lot of stuff,” Pavelski said. “This time of the year everyone is banged up a little bit or tired here or there. It’s just getting there and getting that next chance.”
• And here’s the Sporting News’s Craig Custance’s Modano story updated with quotes:
“Tough last night sleeping and knowing that I was playing and there was no mystery about it,” Modano said following Tuesday’s morning skate. “Just excited to get an opportunity and hopefully make the most of it.”
Franzen has been laboring all series with his bad ankle. Getting fresh legs in the lineup might provide a boost for the Red Wings. The Sharks lead the series 3-2 but the Red Wings won the past two games to stave off elimination. Modano isn’t the player he once was, but the Sharks are bracing for a motivated veteran.
“I’m sure Modano will be flying here ready to go,” Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. “I’m not buying that he’s done. I think he’s got a lot of life left in him. Hopefully we’ll be ready for it.”
When healthy, Franzen is among the playoffs’ most productive goal-scorers. When the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 2008, it was Franzen’s 13 goals that led the postseason. He had 12 goals in 23 playoff games the following year, when the Wings lost in the finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins. His ankle injury has kept him far off that pace, with two goals in eight games. He’s a minus-1 in the playoffs.
“He did what he could,” Modano said. “He played hard.”
Update #7: WDFN posted several YouTube-formatted clips of Mike Modano…
And Danny Cleary speaking to the media:
• Here’s more Clowe stuff from the Mercury News’s Pollak:
“He’s got an upper body injury and stayed home in San Jose,” coach Todd McLellan said after word spread about Clowe’s absence during the team’s morning skate.
McLellan would not go into the specifics of the injury, but said it was not related to the heavy hit that Red Wing defenseman Niklas Kronwall delivered late in the second period of Sunday night’s 4-3 loss to Detroit. The Sharks coach would not say which player would replace Clowe in the lineup, but indicated it would either Ben Eager or Jamal Mayers, both of whom have seen playoff action but sat out Game 5. McLellan added that the coaching staff was still sorting out its options on line combinations with Clowe unavailable. Clowe has four goals and nine assists for 13 points to lead San Jose’s offense through 11 post-season games. He skates on a line with Logan Couture and Dany Heatley, and is considered one of the team’s more emotional leaders.
“We’re going to miss him. It’s tough to replace Ryane Clowe,” Couture said, noting that the opening in the line does give other players an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise had. “I don’t think anyone can step in and do exactly what he does. But guys are going to try.”
Clowe’s absence could mean that fourth-line left wing Benn Ferriero might move to Couture’s line. Or McLellan could move Couture onto the top line with Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi, then create a second line of Patrick Marleau, Heatley and Clowe’s replacement.
• If it matters, here’s Sharks broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky’s game preview;
• This does matter: Ken Kal spoke to Mike Modano and a few other Wings about tonight’s game:
Update #8: Tomas Holmstrom is a sarcastic genius, as noted by the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
Here’s Tomas Holmstrom’s response when asked about Pavel Datsyuk’s injury.
“Everybody’s fresh. Fresh like a daisy,” Holmstrom said.
Aaaannnnd, per Pleiness again:
Here is Mike Babcock’s response when asked if there were anymore lineup changes besides Mike Modano replacing Johan Franzen, “I’m not 100-percent sure. How’s that?”
Then he was asked if defenseman Brian Rafalski was OK since he didn’t take part in the morning skate Tuesday morning.
“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Raffi doesn’t like skating in the morning,” Babcock said. “You get over 35, you can do what you want.”
• You may also be excited by the Sharks’ official game preview video…
Update #9: Sportsnet chose to post Ken Daniels’ interview with “Hockeycentral at Noon,” all ten minutes of it, as video instead of audio:
And the CBC’s series blogger took note of Mike Modano’s comments about hopping into the lineup in Game 6
“It’s a Game 6, an elimination game,” Modano said. “It’s going to be very revved up and the intensity level playing here with the fans the way they are, it will be pretty fun to be a part of it.”
As well as his take on Franzen’s attempts to play despite battling a sprained left ankle…
“This time of the year, for Mule to do what he did, it’s pretty honourable,” Modano said. “Everybody’s trying to suck it up for your teammates to win and eventually move on from series to series. He did what he could, he played hard, but I’m just excited to get an opportunity and I’m hoping to make the most of it.”
This remains a genius comment:
“Everybody’s fresh,” Holmstrom claimed. “Fresh like a daisy. There’s no problems.”
Regardless, he did go on to express his admiration for Datsyuk’s performance, including a three-assist effort in Detroit’s 4-3 Game 5 win.
“I’ve played with him a long time,” Holmstrom said. “You think you’ve seen it all, then he takes it up another notch.”
• And here’s the Mercury News’s David Pollak’s second game-day report:
[T]he Sharks will be without their leading playoff scorer and the reaction from the San Jose locker room.
“It’s tough,” said Logan Couture — the one Shark who may miss Clowe the most as the two have meshed well together all season. “I didn’t find out till yesterday on the plane that Clowe wasn’t coming and you feel for him off the ice first. I wanted to make sure he was all right and he’s doing a little bit better. We’re going to miss him. It’s tough to replace Ryane Clowe,” Couture continued, noting that the opening in the line does give other players an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise had. “I don’t think anyone can step in and do exactly what he does. But guys are going to try.”
Couture said he didn’t know who his linemates would be, or even which position he would be playing when Game 6 started.A couple obvious options:
1) Todd McLellan moves Benn Ferriero up from the fourth line and puts him in Clowe’s spot alongside Couture and Dany Heatley. Couture and Ferriero skated together last season in Worcester and on occasion in San Jose.
2) McLellan moves Couture onto the top line with Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi, slides Patrick Marleau to center on the second line with Heatley and Ferriero. Or someone else. It’s less likely — but still possible — that McLellan could tinker with the third line, which continues to click, of Joe Pavelski, Torrey Mitchell and Kyle Wellwood. Who knows
Nobody connected to the Sharks wants to see a repeat performance out of Pavel Datsyuk tonight after he picked apart the Sharks in Game 5. But Douglas Murray had an interesting take on things when the issue of how to stay on top of Datsyuk came up.
“I’m not going to take away from the game he played. He obviously played a great game with three assists and made some great plays. But the biggest problem was not him beating us one-on-one last game. We actually kept him on the outside. The problem,” Murray continued, “was we didn’t take care of the guys that were open around him. You’ve got to have one guy handling him, but if you put two guys on him or multiple guys, someone else gets open and he can dish him the puck. That’s more important—one guy takes care of him and everybody else does their job. That’s where the breakdowns were.”
• Technically speaking, Patrick Marleau, blah blah blah, via NHL.com’s Dave Lozo;
• Via RedWingsFeed, Bill Clement engaged in Howard-vs-Niemi talk:
• And NHL.com’s Hedger talked to Kronwall about the Wings’ defensemen jumping up into play:
After Logan Couture beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard just 54 seconds into the third period on Sunday night at HP Pavilion, it seemed like the San Jose Sharks were poised to end this Western Conference Semifinal series in five games—just as they did against the Red Wings a year ago. That goal put them up 3-1 in the game and Detroit reporters were probably starting to write the Red Wings’ 2011 obituary. Instead a goal by defenseman Jonathan Ericsson just 2:49 after Couture’s made it 3-2 and gave the Red Wings hope. They scored two more—including the game-winner on a deflection of a blast from the high slot by captain Nicklas Lidstrom—and stole that game to make it 3-2 in the series in San Jose’s favor as the teams prepare to play Game 6 on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m., Versus, TSN, RDS).
“That was huge,” Lidstrom said of Ericsson’s goal, which was the second of the game by a Detroit defenseman. “It just kind of gave us the momentum back. We were only a goal behind. It just gives you a big boost when you score that early after a goal you give up.”
Nicklas Kronwall did the same thing in the second period, after Joe Pavelski put the Sharks up 2-0 with 4:28 left. Less than a minute after Pavelski’s goal, Kronwall took a slick cross-ice pass from Pavel Datsyuk and wristed a shot past Antti Niemi on the far side through traffic from the right circle to make it 2-1 heading into the third. It shouldn’t have been a surprise in this series, however. Both teams have gotten a lot of offense from their defensemen, led by Detroit’s Lidstrom (4 goals, 6 points) and San Jose’s Dan Boyle (2 goals, 6 points). In all, the Red Wings have gotten goals by three defensemen and a total of 6 goals and 11 points from their blue line. The Sharks have also gotten goals from three defensemen, amounting to 4 goals and 9 points.
“In the game the other night, we were behind—so we needed goals,” Lidstrom said following Detroit’s morning skate on Tuesday. “Guys read the plays good and got in there at the right moments and scored some big goals for us.”
“It helps the team if the defense can be part of the offense, but you’ve got to be smart about it,” Lidstrom said. “You can’t be gambling and getting up there and get caught out there. It’s just a matter of reading the play.”
“It’s not like you just press a button and say, ‘OK, guys, go out and do it,’” Kronwall said. “It just doesn’t work like that. You have to pick your spots when to jump in and when not to. Overall, I think if we can just play a more solid game for 60 minutes, we’ll be in good shape. If we don’t skate, like we didn’t do for the first two periods last game, we’ll be in trouble.”
Update #9.5: This is just plain cool:
Update #9.75: The Sporting News’s Craig Custance posted a Clowe update...
Update #10: Even more video: The Sharks’ website posted clips of Joe Thornton…
And Sharks coach Todd McLellan speaking to the media:
Update 10.25: The Detroit News’s Chris McCosky’s trying to shift disturb about Valtteri Filppula‘s lack of production:
“Hopefully I can do more in the rest of the games and help the team out,” Filppula said.
After a strong opening series against Phoenix (goal, four assists, 10 shots and a plus-3 in four games), Filppula has been mostly silent against the Sharks (no points, eight shots, minus-2).
“These are tough games,” he said. “There’s not been a lot of five-on-five goals scored. Our power-play line hasn’t been as good as it needs to be. We need to start getting more goals there for sure and hopefully create some chances five-on-five, too.”
The size of the Sharks forwards - Filppula’s been matched up quite a bit against Kyle Wellwood and Joe Pavelski - certainly has limited his space on the ice and neutralized his elite skill level.
“The playoffs are tough,” said Justin Abdelkader, who has been on Filppula’s line most of this series. “You want to bring your game every night but some games, it just doesn’t happen for one reason or another. He’s a player that’s going to work hard. He has lots of skill and finesse but he’s a blue-collar player. He’s going to work hard at both ends and do everything he can. Maybe the pucks aren’t finding him or bouncing his way. It’s part of the game. He just needs to keep battling through it.”
“We need it from every guy,” Babcock said when asked specifically about Filppula. “There’s no room (on the ice). It doesn’t matter what your name is. There’s going to be no room once the game starts. Just get it in, get it out and get it on the net as hard as you can and hope it bounces or try to jam it in. I like watching playoff hockey because that’s what it is. It’s men making plays. It’s not the exhibition season and it’s not February.”
Tomas Holmstrom also stated the obvious regarding Ryane Clowe while speaking to CSN Bay Area’s Brodie Brazil:
“He’s been one of their best players. He’s physical and he holds on to the puck. He’s a really good forward. That’s a big loss for them, for sure,” Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom after Tuesday morning skate.
Update #11: Here’s ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun’s gauging of the Sharks’ locker room regarding Clowe’s absence...
It’s a big loss,” Sharks blueliner Dan Boyle said after the morning skate. “He’s been one of our best players all year long and the playoffs, too. If guys get injured, other guys have to step up, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
“During the course of the year, guys are going to go down. It’s just no different,” said Thornton. “Guys have to step up just like anybody else went down. It’s business as usual and we’ll have guys step up in his place.”
“Everybody has to pick it up that much more,’’ said Sharks forward Patrick Marleau. “He’s a big part of this team. It’s an opportunity for someone to step up.”
“You never want to have one of your top guys out, but it’s one of those things within a series that can bring a team together,” said Boyle.
And Niklas Kronwall’s take on the importance of “getting started on time”:
“Game 5 was a brutal start,” said Kronwall. “We didn’t play well for two periods. Jimmy kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win. If we play the same way we did in Game 5, we’ll be in big trouble, so we have to come out with a better start. We have to move our legs better.”
Update 11.5: Yoy, per the CBC’s series blogger:
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