The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/03/11 at 02:01 PM ET
Updated 7x with Howard talking snow at 3:18 PM: Today’s Red Wings and Sharks practice updates begin via Twitter and Red Wings social networking manager Jake Duhaime, who reports that Mike Babcock chose to shake up the Wings’ lines today:
Tuesday’s practice is underway at JLA. http://yfrog.com/h2myowlj
Datsyuk and Zetterberg are not practicing on the same lines. Z is with Bert and Cleary, Pav with Mule and Holmstrom.
NHL.com’s Brian Hedger reports that Brian Rafalski didn’t practice today...
At #Redwings practice. Looks like Rafalski not out on ice. Kindl working w/Ericsson. #SjsDet
Datsyuk & Zetterberg split up in practice, Datsyuk centering Franzen/Modano on the left & Holmstrom on the right. 40 between 11 & 44
Hudler-Filppula-Abdelkader & Eaves-Helm-Draper the other lines for #Redwings.
And NHL.com’s Dave Lozo...
Wings about to take the ice at JLA for practice. They’ll likely split up Zetterberg and Datsyuk. #SJSDet
Red Wings top two lines at practice: Franzen-Datsyuk-Holmstrom, Bertuzzi-Zetterberg-Cleary
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun...
Wings on the ice just now http://yfrog.com/gyjesqtj
Lines so far at practice: Datsyuk with Franzen/Holmstrom; Zetterberg with Cleary/Bertuzzi… so Datsyuk and Zetterberg split up…
And DetroitRedWings.com’s Michael Caples are firing off Twitter updates as well:
@DetroitRedWings and Modano was rotating into the Datsyuk line earlier. Took Mule’s turn for a shift.
No #Rafalski for the @DetroitRedWings today. Hopefully it’s just a maintenance day for the veteran defenseman.
Eaves just sent a weak loft past #Osgood, prompting harassment from #TheMule. @DetroitRedWings practice wrapping up.
Practice is already over as of this first update, via the Wings’ account...
Practice over. Large media crowd starting to assemble in the locker room.
Lidstrom: I think we can spend more time in their zone and by doing that, we’ll be able to get more shots.
Datsyuk: Every team in the playoffs battles for every puck and wants to win every game. San Jose is a good team and wants to win too.
Big crowd of reporters around Pav. http://yfrog.com/h744843313j
Kronwall said the team’s ‘mood’ is good and that players are excited to put the first two games behind them and get on with the series.
WXYT’s Jeff Riger is covering the media scrum as well…
Mike Modano does NOT think he will play in game 3
As is the Detroit News’s John Niyo:
Wings’ Draper says he will be back in lineup for Gm 3
And the main reason I’m filing this update so early involves the fact that Ken Daniels spoke to The Fan 590’s Greg Brady this morning…
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to WDFN’s Matt Sheppard earlier this morning…
And coach Mike Babcock spoke to 97.1 The Ticket’s Stoney and Bill, saying that there will be a lineup change “for sure,” and that the Wings will continue to not complain about the penalties assessed against them:
Octopi Toss at Hockeytown Cafe tonight in #Detroit. Winner gets #RedWings playoff tix! Hosted by 97.1 The Ticket
Update 1.5: I hate, hate, hate the fact that MLive won’t post certain articles until 8 in the morning. Here’s Ansar Khan’s belated take on the Wings’ lack of secondary scoring:
[T]he Red Wings’ high-powered offense hasn’t delivered, limited to one goal in each game. Part of that is because of Antti Niemi’s strong play (he’s stopped 57-of-59 shots for a .966 save percentage), but much of it also is because of Detroit’s forwards not being hard enough on San Jose’s defense. The balanced attack in the first-round sweep of Phoenix has been shut down, with the exception of Pavel Datsyuk. He has been dazzling, setting up both goals with great passes, but he can’t do it all himself.
Other forwards must deliver for the Red Wings to get back in this series. The onus is on their big, stocky wingers—Johan Franzen, Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi—to spend more time grinding the puck in the offensive zone and being physical, making the Sharks’ defense work harder. That will create more traffic around Niemi and force him to work harder.
Franzen clearly is not back to speed after missing Game 4 against the Coyotes with an ankle injury. He had no shots in Game 1 against the Sharks, but was more engaged in Game 2. Bertuzzi has just two shots on goal in two games. He can’t get thrown off his game by the agitating Ben Eager. The pair, along with Cleary, have been held without a point in two games. All have another gear.
So do Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula. Zetterberg, out three weeks with a sprained knee, skated much better in Game 2.
A lineup change is possible, if for no other reason than to shake things up. Kris Draper or Mike Modano might be inserted, perhaps in place of Jiri Hudler, who played well the first game, not so much the second game.
Waiting that long to publish an article doesn’t do much of anything other than force those of us who try to get to as many updates overnight as possible to miss coverage, and the articles can get lost in the shuffle because they’re published by the time some people are already at work and have finished up their morning reading.
Comcast Sportsnet California’s Brodie Brazil is covering both teams’ practices, too:
#redwings say changing lines is not a big deal. Holmstrom expects ‘good results, by switching things up’. vs. #sjsharks
Ditto for Fox 2’s Jennifer Hammond:
Draper will play in game 3
Draper talks to media about playing in game 3. #RedWings http://yfrog.com/h2lbvtij
Miller is odd man out with Draper back on line with Abdelkader and Eaves.
The CBC’s Elliotte Friedman also posted several Wings-related observations in his “30 thoughts” column:
9) One scout on San Jose/Detroit: “In the first round, Detroit dominated Phoenix because, with Derek Morris out, the Coyotes didn’t have enough mobile defencemen.” Darren Helm was particularly effective in driving them crazy. The Sharks are better equipped to deal with that, especially now that Dan Boyle is returning to his high level of play.
10) The big complaint about Joe Thornton was that he didn’t have a “higher gear” in the playoffs. He hates that, but is really battling Pavel Datsyuk so far. It’s noticeable. If you don’t compete hard against Datsyuk, he’ll eat you alive.
11) People are starting to talk about the Sedins like they talked about Thornton.
12) Looked like Todd Bertuzzi barely escaped a serious cut when caught by a skate on his left wrist in Game 1. He wears those short gloves and I couldn’t believe there wasn’t blood. Shots on bench showed he tapes his wrists. Old viz of him, however, doesn’t indicate that. I think it’s new, and he’s pretty lucky.
28) A lot of angry Coyote/Duck fans after Keith Yandle and Lubomir Visnovsky weren’t nominated for the Norris. Real good players who had terrific years, but honestly: would you take either of them over Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom or Shea Weber?
Here are some updates from 97.1 The Ticket...
Kris Draper in for game 3, Drew Miller out!
Babcock telling his guys not to worry about snow showers
Even though Draper said he’s playing Babcock claims he hasn’t made any line up changes
Mike Babcock; On Draper being in line up for game three “I haven’t decided on any line up changes.”
Mike Babcock; “At playoff time you’re doing whatever you think as a coach is the right thing for your organization to win.”
Babcock; “I want our team to play better, I want more out of our forwards.”
Babcock: “They’ve been better than us, if we want to keep playing we gotta be better than them.”
#redwings say changing lines is not a big deal. Holmstrom expects ‘good results, by switching things up’. vs. #sjsharks
Babcock: “The bottom line is, we’ve got to win a game. We’ve got to win the next game.” #sjsharks #redwings
Jimmy Howard on snow showers: “They’re just trying to get under my skin. They can pitch-fork me all they want” #redwings #sjsharks
Howard: “They can do whatever they want. They’re not going to take me off my game.” #sjsharks #redwings
Babcock: I haven’t decided on any lineup changes. #NHLPlayoffs #SJSDet
Babcock said he wants to see more out of his forwards and a better job on 50/50 pucks.
Babcock: Bottom line is that we’ve got to win a game. We’ve got to win the next game. #NHLPlayoffs #SJSDet
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch...
Datsyuk and Zetterberg aren’t skating together this morning at JLA #SJSDet
Coach Mike Babcock not tipping his hand on lineup changes. Appears veteran Kris Draper may play. #SJSDet
Babcock would not confirm that lines at practice (Datsyuk and Zetterberg split up) would be a go for Game 3, nor confirm any lineup changes
Having said that, I do think Babcock is leaning towards having Zetterberg and Datsyuk on different lines tomorrow night. We’ll see.
Update 1.75: Per the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
Quick update from practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena. Kris Draper practiced on a line with Patrick Eaves and Darren Helm. After practice, Draper said he was back in the lineup. However, Wings coach Mike Babcock said during his press conference that he has yet to decide who was in or out of the lineup.
From the look of practice, Drew Miller and Mike Modano would be scratched.
Also, defenseman Brian Rafalski missed practiced, but is expected to play Wednesday.
And here’s a strange update via the Mercury News’s David Pollak:
Red Wings practiced first this morning at Joe Louis Arena, so knocking out a quick post on the news from their side of things.
Mike Babcock just finished saying that nothing has been decided yet as far as lineup changes or reshuffled lines.
But Kris Draper sounded in the locker room like a veteran who knew he was about to see action after missing the first two games of this series. And Mike Modano sounded like a veteran who knew he would not be coming off list of healthy scratches anytime soon. So who sits if Draper plays? Best guess among the folks who cover the team regularly is Drew Miller.
As far as the lines, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were on different lines at one point, but no real sense as to how things will play out tomorrow night.
Other than that, it was mostly talk about the need to get more traffic in front of Antti Niemi and a little reminiscing about 2002 — when the Red Wings lost a pair of games at home to Vancouver in the first round, then came back to win that series in six games en route to a Stanley Cup parade.
MLive’s Ansar Khan believes that Draper will play as well:
Kris Draper will be in the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against the San Jose Sharks at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m., FSD).
Draper, a healthy scratch the first two games, will replace Drew Miller.
Update #2: The Wings’ website just posted a Flash audio clip of Babcock’s presser.
Update 2.5: Ha, per Brazil:
#sjsharks and #redwings have this exact saying posted in their rooms: http://yfrog.com/h0ju9ajj
Also: Rob Otto, yadda yadda yadda.
Update 2.75: Khan updated his practice post with a quote and lines:
“I am (excited). This never gets old, this time of year, playing in the playoffs,’’ Draper said. “During the regular season sometimes you get the dog days, but this time of year, you love it. You love getting in your vehicle driving down to the Joe and realizing that it’s playoff hockey.’‘
Draper, a healthy scratch the first two games, might replace Drew Miller. Coach Mike Babcock said he has yet to decide on his lineup. Mike Modano, also scratched the first two games, said he doesn’t think he is playing.
Here are the lines they skated with:
Franzen-Datsyuk-Holmstrom (Modano working in)
Draper-Helm-Eaves (Miller working in)
Brian Rafalski did not practice but is expected to play in Game 3.
Here are the defense pairings they used in practice:
Update #3: Here’s Babcock’s presser on video:
Also: Good Rafalski news from LeBrun:
FYI Rafalski didn’t skate today but Babcock said he’s playing tomorrow night
Update 3.25: I hate covering this, but, well, here’s TSN’s Darren Dreger:
Snowing in May: The games within the game intensify and are magnified during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. What can be ordinary in the regular season becomes extraordinary in the postseason and fodder for analysis. Such is the case in the Western Conference semi-final between Detroit and San Jose where the Sharks have resorted to an age-old form of mental warfare in an attempt to rattle Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard….the snow shower.
Through two games of the best-of-seven, Howard has been doused with snow on four separate occasions. The first occurred in game one when Sharks forward Joe Pavelski slammed on the breaks, covering Howard’s mask with snow which sparked an angry reaction from Howard, and subsequent penalties, but there was no penalty assessed for the snow shower.
In Game 2, Pavelski repeated the performance and immediately after doing so, quickly peaked over his shoulder in anticipation of an angry Red Wings mob about to strike, but Detroit’s reaction was guarded - and again no penalty was called against Pavelski for unsportsmanlike conduct. Not to be outdone, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton also joined in on the snow spraying fun in the third period - although Howard’s response to Thornton’s contribution included a hefty chop to Jumbo Joe’s lower body, but no penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct was called.
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom reportedly complained about the Sharks’ tactic during Game 2 and shortly after Pavelski’s second attack, TSN’s broadcast showed NHL referee Kelly Sutherland talking to Pavelski on the Sharks bench, presumably warning him of the threat a minor penalty would be called if his taunting persisted.
The odd snow shower is part of the game and is unlikely to get called in the playoffs, but four in two games establishes a pattern, so either the officials will call a penalty in Game 3 following San Jose’s fifth run at Howard, or Detroit will start going after Antti Niemi.
The latest I saw snow fall was on June 9th. I’m just sayin.’
Update 3.5: We’ll go with this from Brazil, too:
http://yfrog.com/hs7dasmj http://yfrog.com/h6qg0hjj http://yfrog.com/hsbm0znj #redwings
Trailing 2-0 in the second-round series against the San Jose Sharks, the Detroit Red Wings coach is going to make changes for Game 3 Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.
After trying Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk together for the first two games, Babcock is going to break them up and is considering putting veteran Kris Draper in the lineup as well. Datsyuk skated with Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom while Zetterberg was with Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary.
Babcock wasn’t going to tip his hand.
“I haven’t decided on any lineup changes,” said Babcock. “I want our team to play hard. I want more out of our forwards. I haven’t decided who is playing with who and I haven’t decided who is in either.”
The Wings know the task is difficult.
“We need to score more than one goal,” Datsyuk said. “We need to get two or three and the power play has to get better as well. We need to get more traffic and more shots on the net. We’ve got to go to the net.”
Update #4 Via the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
“I haven’t decided on any of the lineup changes,” Babcock said. “At playoff time you’re doing whatever you think as a coach is the right thing for your organization to win. That’s how simple it is.”
“I want our team to play hard,” Babcock said. “I want more out of our forwards. I want to spend more time in their offensive zone and sustain pressure. I think we can backcheck harder and be harder on 50-50 pucks all over. That’s a challenge to all our forwards. That doesn’t matter with who’s playing with who or who’s not playing with who. I haven’t decided who’s playing with who tomorrow as of yet and I haven’t decided who’s in either,” Babcock ended.
Draper did not play in Games 1 and 2 in San Jose.
“I am (excited),” Draper said. “This never gets old, this time of year, playing in the playoffs. During the regular season sometimes you get the dog days but this time of year, you love it. You love getting in your vehicle driving down to the Joe and realizing that it’s playoff hockey,” Draper added. “We’ve just got to win one game. We win Game 3, it’s 2-1, it’s a series. We know that, we believe that. We have to be more determined, more focused. The way we were today, you can kind of see guys have that attitude. I think it’s going to carry over to tomorrow night and guys are going to be ready to play and we have to respond and everybody knows that we have to be better.”
And here’s the Free Press’s Helene St. James’ practice post:
“I talked to Mike this morning,” Draper said. “He said I was going to be back in. It’s never fun to be a healthy scratch, especially at this time of year, the most important time of the year.”
Babcock wouldn’t confirm the change, saying, “I haven’t decided on any lineup changes.”
Defenseman Brian Rafalski missed practice because of a knee injury but probably will be OK to play. The Wings have to hope so, because Rafalski’s breakout passes are key to getting the offense going.
The advantage to playing Draper is his face-off skill—he’s often out on penalty kills solely to take the draw. He could serve that purpose in other situations, too, skating off immediately after the face-off.
Bertuzzi and Cleary have been playing between Justin Abdelkader, and while that line did well at neutralizing Shane Doan’s line in the opening round against Phoenix, gaining Zetterberg should lead to more offense from the group. Zetterberg missed the entire first round because of a knee injury, but his rust is pretty much gone.
(A funny situation happened today when a reporter, seeking to find out how Zetterberg was doing, asked, “Are you feeling yourself out there?” Zetterberg replied, “What’s that?” The reporter (not me) rephrased, “Are you feeling like yourself?” Zetterberg said he was.)
Here’s a quickie update from LeBrun...
Sharks also changed lines in practice today: Couture-Thornton-Setoguchi; Clowe-Marleau-Heatley ... Who knows if that sticks for tomorrow
And, somewhat ironically, via Facebook and 97.1 The Ticket:
Want Wings Playoff Tickets, Then come to Hockeytown Cafe tonight at 5:30 and register for the Stoney and Bill Octopi Challenge. You must register before hand to take part in the Octopi Toss!
Update 4.5: Via the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
“I haven’t decided who is playing with who (lines) as of yet, and I haven’t decided who is in,” Babcock said.
Babcock shuffled the lines during Wednesday’s practice, with multiple looks, in hopes of finding some combinations that will lift a dormant Wings offense. Draper played in all four games of the Phoenix series but has not played against San Jose. Draper would likely replace Drew Miller on a line with Patrick Eaves and Darren Helm. Draper spoke candidly about expecting to play.
“Are the emotions going to run a little higher? Absolutely,” Draper said. “I have to make sure to keep the emotions in check and channel them.”
Mike Modano skated briefly on a line with Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi during practice, and worked the point on a power-play unit — Modano’s usual spot during the regular season. But Modano didn’t feel optimistic he’d make his series debut.
“As of today, it doesn’t look like it,” Modano said. “I continue to wait for the call.”
Update 4.75: No news is no news, via LeBrun:
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said his line changes today may or may not stick for tomorrow. The chess game is on with Babcock ...
#sjsharks skated with different top 2 lines today, McLellan says they might switch to match what the #redwings do.
As for Antti Niemi, he’s a jerk, per Hammond:
Niemi prepared for increased chance of “Snow Showers” in Detroit, adding - “It should be a penalty if it’s done on purpose.” #Wings #Sharks
So is McLellan:
No time for gimmicks or circus acts “No indication (from my team) that it’s intentional.” McLellan says we’re just going for the blue paint
That’s a lie.
And I have no idea what to think about this Sharks “Tweet”:
Mitchell skate several minutes at practice with a hanger on him. Smiling, Mitchell said he may have had it coming for a few things.
Update #5: No news is no news via Hedger...
The #Sharks also jumbled their lines and coach Todd McLellan said it’s in anticipation for changes #Redwings might make. #SjsDet #chessmatch
#Redwings talked about using their speed more and hanging onto the puck better in the offensive zone. Easier said than done, tho #SjsDet
But the Wings’ website just posted a clip of Mike Modano speaking to the media…
And the Mercury News’s David Pollak filed his First practice update from the Sharks’ side of things:
Looks as if Mike Babcock isn’t the only one giving the impression he may be tinkering with his lines. Todd McLellan mixed things up a little today on his top two lines, too. Logan Couture was at left wing on a line with Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi. Patrick Marleau skated at center with Ryane Clowe and Dany Heatley on the wings.
But, like Babcock, McLellan said he hadn’t made the decision on how things would be set up when Game 3 begins.
At first glance, it sounds like the traditional playoff gamesmanship — why change things when you’re up 2-0 in a series. But the Sharks offense has only produced two goals in more than six periods of hockey, so it’s plausible change may be coming. At least for a shift or two.
Again, for what it’s worth, the third line remained intact — Torrey Mitchell, Joe Pavelski and Kyle Wellwood. And both Ben Eager and Benn Ferriero were out there with Scott Nichol — who did a little double duty with Jamal Mayers and Jamie McGinn as well.
Quickie update: ESPN posted a YouTube video of ESPN’s LeBrun speaking to Danny Cleary.
Update #5: Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji filed a superb report about the Wings’ desire to take things one game at a time...
“You focus on that next game coming up,” captain Nick Lidstrom said. “You can’t be thinking too far ahead. You just focus on being ready for Game number 3 and go out there and do your best in that game.”
“That’s what we have to focus on, winning one game,” [Brad] Stuart said. “One game at a time. That’s why you hear it so often, because it’s true. You don’t want to be looking any further than what’s right in front of you. It’s all about the next game, so focus on that. After that, you focus on the next one and so forth.”
While also focusing upon scoring more via “grind time” in the Sharks’ end:
“We need more than one goal,” Pavel Datsyuk said. “Two or three will help us a lot. And the power play, too.”
“From top to bottom, we’re not doing a good enough job getting the puck deep and getting shots at net and being harder at the net,” [Darren] Helm said. “It’s hard to score goals when you’re playing in your zone the whole game.”
“We haven’t tested Niemi enough yet,” [Niklas] Kronwall said. “Anytime we have a chance, we have to get the puck to the net. It’s not always going to be that great shot or that wide open shot. We just have to make sure the puck gets in there. Just lob one in there and create some traffic in front of Niemi as well.”
“We’re making it tough on ourselves to have any kind of chance to play in their zone,” Helm said. “We’re just giving it right to them and not playing hard enough, finishing our checks as much as we should be. It’s pretty easy to play against if you’re not doing those things.”
Via the Wings’ website, here are Darren helm and Patrick Eaves speaking to the media as well:
Update 5.5: According to
JMWall24, the Wings have just released some tickets on Ticketmaster;
• The Detroit News’s David Guralnick just posted a practice gallery;
• Ouch, per the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek:
There was a moment, earlier in these playoffs, when Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was asked about his team’s power play woes against the Detroit Red Wings - and he made a good point. Tippett said he didn’t like to isolate one specific aspect of his team’s play, on the grounds that you can sometimes win games without scoring a power-play goal, or lose them even if you’re successful with the man advantage. Tippett stressed the overall quality of a team’s performance ultimately carried the greatest weight for him in terms of its success or failure.
As the NHL playoffs get deeper into the second round, it’s hard to dispute Tippett’s point, especially as it relates to the opposite levels of special teams success of the two teams threatening to meet in the Eastern Conference final. At one end of the spectrum is the Boston Bruins, up 2-0 on the Philadelphia Flyers despite the fact that they have yet to score a single power-play goal in these playoffs (0-for-28).
At the other end is the Tampa Bay Lightning, which has a league-leading 10 power-play goals on 36 chances (27.8 per cent). Tampa and the Detroit Red Wings are the only two teams still alive in the playoffs doing anything with the man advantage - and it isn’t really helping Detroit. Despite a relatively solid 5-for-23 mark (21.7 per cent), the Red Wings are down 2-0 to the San Jose Sharks.
Update 5.75: Per the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
The Sharks are looking at making changes, too, at least based on today’s practice, which had Joe Thornton centering Logan Couture and Devin Setoguchi and Patrick Marleau with Ryane Clowe and Dany Heatley.
Asked whether it was a sign of things to come for Game 3, Sharks coach Todd McLellan hedged.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” he said. “I think Detroit will make some changes with their lines; they’ve got a couple of veteran players who’ve played in this situation before, and they may be in the lineup. So we’ve got to be prepared to react and be ready to go. We’re not sure what we’re doing yet. We’ll wait and see.”
Update #6: Todd McLellan’s fibbing, via Ansar Khan:
The Detroit Red Wings were upset that the San Jose Sharks were giving goaltender Jimmy Howard what they felt were deliberate snow showers the first two games of the series. Sharks coach Todd McLellan responded to that issue again after practice today at Joe Louis Arena.
“I have no time for gimmicks or circus acts or anything like that,’’ McLellan said. “We’ll address it with our players. My feedback from them is there’s no intent.’‘
He said they’re going to continue to go hard to the net.
“We are going to the blue paint. No one’s going to take that away from us,’’ McLellan said. “We’re going to stop in the blue paint and we’re going to stand there and nothing’s going to change moving forward. I guess we have to be a little more cautious of where we stop in that blue paint, but that’s not changing.’‘
That’s why Jimmy Howard has to get out of the “blue paint” and challenge the Sharks’ shooters more aggressively.
I’ll guess that we’re gonna go with Draper Controversy as the headline for the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s quote odyssey:
“It’s of my hands,” Draper said. “Something like that, this time of the year it’s out of a player’s hand.
“I guess you kind of look at it that I wish we were up 2-0 and I wasn’t playing, to be honest with you,” Draper continued. That would be a good thing, but as much as I want to play I’d rather be in a situation where we were up 2-0. That’s not the case and obviously some changes are going to be made.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock said he has yet to decide on Wednesday’s lineup or line combinations.
“I found out this morning,” Draper said. “I just want to get out there and play. I’m looking forward to getting in the lineup and playing. I’m just a spoke in the wheel. I just want to use my energy and enthusiasm. I’ve played a lot of hockey with (Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves) before and we’ve always felt we can do some good things.”
And NHL.com’s Dave Lozo focused on the fact that the Sharks have continued to win one-goal games against Detroit:
“I think we’re fresher,” Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We were coming off a Game 7 in Phoenix last year and playing two days later. I thought we were close in last year’s games as well, but I think we’re even closer in these two games.”
That’s an opinion shared by the Sharks.
They’ve been one-goal games. They’ve been that close,” Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. “As well as we’ve played, we’ve only beaten them by one goal. We know we need to keep getting better.”
Most teams with a 2-0 lead in a series wouldn’t tinker with what’s been working, but coach Todd McLellan shuffled his lines during Tuesday’s practice. The Sharks have scored just four times in this series, and the goals from Benn Ferriero and Niclas Wallin were the result of fortunate bounces. The third line with Torrey Mitchell, Joe Pavelski and Kyle Wellwood remained intact, but the top two lines were Logan Couture-Joe Thornton-Devin Setoguchi and Ryane Clowe-Patrick Marleau-Dany Heatley.
The offensive pressure from the Sharks has been pretty consistent throughout the series, and McLellan said the change wasn’t something that would necessarily carry over into Wednesday’s game. He wants his team prepared should the Red Wings place Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on different lines, as they were during Tuesday’s practice, and insert veterans Kris Draper and/or Mike Modano, who didn’t play in Games 1 and 2.
“I think Detroit will make some changes with their lines,” McLellan said. “They’ve got a couple veteran players that have played in these situations before that may be in the lineup. We’ve got to be prepared to react and be ready to go any way. We’re not sure what we’re doing yet. We’ll wait and see.”
“I don’t think we expect to blow Detroit out any time we play them,” forward Ryane Clowe said. “The fact that we’re beating Detroit in one-goal games, it’s a good sign of experience and composure.”
Update #7: DetroitRedWings.com’s Michael Caples reports that Jimmy Howard was the subject of serious media attention on Tuesday, but he shook off the snow shower controversy:
Howard isn’t going to allow the Sharks, nor the media attention, to become a distraction when the Western Conference semifinals series resumes with Wednesday’s Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena.
“They’re just trying to get under my skin,” Howard said. “I don’t care. They can come in and pitchfork me, snow-shower me. I don’t care.”
Howard wanted nothing to do with the subject when asked about it following Tuesday’s practice at Joe Louis Arena.
“They can do whatever they want,” he said. “They’re not going to take me off my game.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock said that he has informed his players to look past the Sharks’ attempts, citing that it general manager Ken Holland is on the case.
“I told our players today that we have a general manager and he looks after that stuff,” Babcock said. “We have to forget about being distracted, be disciplined and be determined.”
UPdate 7.5: Here’s Comcast Sportsnet Bay Arrea’s practice update:
DETROIT—The Sharks and the Red Wings are preparing for Game 3 and while nothing is official, it was notable that both teams skated with slightly different lines at Tuesday practice. For San Jose, coach Todd McLellan separated Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
Detroit lines in practice:
Franzen-Datsyuk-Holmstrom (with some Modano)
Draper-Helm-Eaves (with some Miller)
Sharks lines in practice:
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