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Red Wings-Blackhawks set-up: combat math

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Chicago/Versus/WXYT, and as the Tigers are playing at Comerica park today, expect parking to be expensive) hoping to extinguish the defending champs’ playoff hopes minus the services of Henrik Zetterberg, whose “lower-body injury” has taken on a life of its own, and Niklas Kronwall, whose “upper-body injury” is at least severe enough that the Wings are keeping him out of the mix for this weekend’s games.

At this time of year, it’s all about math, and as the Western Conference standings and the fact that the Hawks are coming off a controversial 4-3 OT win over St. Louis on Wednesday don’t add much context, I’ll let the Chicago Daily Herald’s Tim Sassone explain the Blackhawks’ situation:

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Midnight Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg injury info run

I tend to literally lose sleep around this time of night because I’m vacillating between, “I desperately need a break from hockey” and, “Dammit, I’m sitting on stories that should be out there, but if I post ‘em now they’ll get buried on the second or third page by the middle of the morning.” Between that and the fact that Detroit’s newspapers don’t update their websites until 2-4 AM, I’ve found an hour of restless sleep at least makes the five hours between finishing up a game preview and rousing myself from bed for the Wings’ morning skate a little more tolerable.

That being said, a few evening stories popped up regarding the status of Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg, who’s out with a supposed “lower-body injury” (ankle? knee? Charley horse? All three?) for this weekend’s back-to-back games against Chicago, and these stories offer different perspectives on Zetterberg and Wings coach Mike Babcock’s exchanges with the press that are worth posting here and now—and MLive’s Ansar Khan kicks off the proceedings by noting that Zetterberg wasn’t quite sure whether he’d play when the playoffs begin:

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University of Michigan, University of Minnesota-Duluth to square off for NCAA title

On Saturday at 7 PM EDT, the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota-Duluth will battle for the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championship (and the game will air on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com) in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Michigan advanced via a 2-0 victory over the University of North Dakota. Shawn Hunwick stopped 40 shots for Michigan. North Dakota lost forward Brock Nelson, who was stretchered off the ice after losing his footing while being checked by Luke Glendening, who was not penalized on the play.

In the other semifinal, the University of Minnesota-Duluth rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to defeat the University of Notre Dame 4-3, scoring a remarkable three goals on the power play while killing all five of Notre Dame’s man advantages.

Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan did not fare in the scoring for Notre Dame, registering 3 shots but also taking an interference penalty which gave Minnesota-Duluth the opportunity to score it 4-2 goal.

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Custance: if the Red Wings reach the Cup finals, Mike Modano’s done

Red Wings forward Mike Modano has sounded like a man who’s uncertain of his hockey-playing future, and he confirmed as much to the Sporting News’s Craig Custance, suggesting that a long playoff run will be good enough for him even if the Wings don’t win the Cup:

f the Red Wings advance to the Stanley Cup Final this spring, regardless of the outcome, Modano will retire this summer.

“If we got there and we won or lost, I’m done,” Modano told Sporting News. “That’s my feeling on the whole deal. Hopefully it ends that way one way or another.”

There’s a cloud hanging over the upcoming NHL playoffs: this may be the last chance the hockey world gets to witness some of the best players of their era, playing at the highest level. As a player, there isn’t a more ideal way to end a career. Lift the Stanley Cup, do a lap around the rink and skate into the arms of your family after your final game. It has to be a consideration for more than just Modano and [Boston Bruins defenseman Mark] Recchi. Future Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has been quiet on plans beyond this season, and as a Norris Trophy candidate, continues to play at a high level. But if the Red Wings win the Cup, is there really another reason for him to return next season?

Modano agrees with Ken Holland’s theory that playoff experience is practically currency at this time of year…

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Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert to be remembered via charity motorcycle ride on June 26th

I don’t want this to get lost in the Zetterberg injury update thread because it’s a reality check of the first order: the Windsor Star’s Sonja Puzic reports that family members and friends of late Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert will hold a charity motorcycle ride almost a year after Probert’s passing to raise funds for a very worthy cause:

In memory of hockey legend Bob Probert, Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital and [Canadian Auto Workers] locals 444 and 2458 are organizing a fundraising motorcycle ride this June to benefit the local angioplasty program. The June 26 inaugural Bob Probert Memorial Ride will be led by former Detroit Red Wing and Chicago Blackhawk Chris Chelios and will start at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, then wind through Windsor and Essex County.

The ride will raise funds for the expansion of Hotel-Dieu’s angioplasty program. The hospital has only one cardiac catheterization lab and is looking to build a second one as part of a major expansion project. Probert, 45, a former Detroit Red Wing and NHL all-star who lived in Lakeshore, died suddenly of heart failure last July after collapsing on a boat in Lake St. Clair.

His wife, Dani Probert, said Thursday her family is honoured to raise money for a worthy cause in his memory. For more information visit probertride.com.

Perhaps appropriately, the Sault Star’s Mike Verdone spoke to Danny Gare, Rick Vaive and Mike Krushelnyski about Probert’s absence from the NHL’s Alumni Tour. Probert’s greatly missed by just about everyone who knew him.

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On Frozen Four semifinal Thursday, HF posts a Q and A with Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan

Update: If you missed it, the South Bend Tribune’s Jim Meenan spoke to Sheahan on Tuesday, too: Red Wings prospect and University of Notre Dame forward Riley Sheahan and his teammates will tangle with the University of Minnesota-Duluth in one of the Frozen Four semifinals today (5 PM EDT, ESPN2, ESPN3.com; the University of Michigan and University of North Dakota face off in the other semifinal at 8:30 PM), and Hockey’s Future’s DJ Powers engaged in a Q and A session with Sheahan, discussing his evolution into a forward who can be relied upon in every situation…

Hockey’s Future: Having watched you play this season, one thing I’ve noticed is that you seem to have rounded out your game more and have really improved your defensive play. Can you talk a little about that and how that has enabled you to contribute to your team’s success this season?

Riley Sheahan: When I came to Notre Dame last year, I was coming from a league that wasn’t the most talented, but I did put up a lot of points there. Now being here at Notre Dame, I’ve really focused on becoming a more-rounded player. It’s just kind of gone from there. Coach Jackson is really strict with his systems and he teaches us how to play the game not only in the offensive zone but in the defensive zone as well. I haven’t really gotten too caught up in my point production. I think in the second half of the season, it’s been coming along better. I just try to focus on being effective in all zones and hopefully the (added) numbers will come.

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Dreger: NHL will tweak the net to try to avoid O’Halloran situations

Per TSN’s Darren Dreger, the NHL’s at least going to make some tweaks so that notorious goal-deciding referee Dan O’Halloran and the rest of the NHL’s refs have better, ahem, visual data when making calls as to whether a puck actually crosses the line:

The NHL requires conclusive evidence to overrule the call on the ice and since the video support wasn’t there to do that, the call by O’Halloran on the ice was the determining factor. Camera angles, poor video quality and obstructed views have always plagued video review.

There have multiple proposals considered to improve this process, but the league seems focused on the nets and changes that can be introduced to increase visibility.

In addition to testing a thinner mesh on the top of the nets, the National Hockey League will also be changing the ribbon that essentially protects skates from hitting the base of the net. The existing ribbon that wraps around the base is white, but will be replaced this summer at the research and development camp by a clear band which will extend three feet back of the goal line from each post.

Reconfiguring the nets isn’t going to eliminate goal line controversies in the NHL, but the league hopes these subtle tweaks will help limit them.

Continued.

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Red Wings practice updates: Henrik Zetterberg’s out for the weekend, ‘day to day’

Updated repeatedly, most recently at 4:11 PM: Rut roh, per MLive’s Ansar Khan:

Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg is having an MRI this afternoon on his injured leg/ankle. General manager Ken Holland said this morning that the club will know more later this afternoon.

Update: Via the Red Wings’ Twitter account:

Draper: We aren’t sure how long Z will be out, but we are prepared to play without him this weekend.

And via 97.1 The Ticket’s Jeff Riger:

Draper sounding like Zetterberg is going to be out for a while but when I asked him how long he claimed he has no clue. Bizarre tone though

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Red Wings-Hurricanes wrap-up: Wings leave Carolina on the limp (and contract talk)

The Red Wings flew back to Detroit on Thursday night having accomplished none of their goals—in staying healthy, sharpening their special teams and continuing to round into playoff form—thanks to a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in which the Wings lost the services of Henrik Zetterberg (ankle) for the rest of the regular season, traded one-and-done chances with the Canes and both tried to get “too cute” on a 4-minute power play and gave up a goal as soon as Drayson Bowman finished serving his double minor for bloodying Danny Cleary’s nose.

Zetterberg (who’s suffered his second significant ankle injury thanks to nemesis Bryan Allen) and the Wings limped out of the rink only a point behind the 2nd-place San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference standings because the Sharks, who have a game in hand on Detroit, lost to Anaheim, and the Wings offered the all-too-familiar, “We played well, but they were more desperate” line to the press. It’s starting to sound more than a little hollow, while the Hurricanes, who are still two points behind the 8th-place Rangers in the East, were delighted with their effort.

Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward, who stopped 42 shots, spoke to the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander about his performance and the Canes’ mindset going forward, while duly noting that the Canes’ ability to both kill off the Wings’ 4-minute power play and extend their lead shortly thereafter essentially determined the game’s result:

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Make it ‘out for the weekend’ for Red Wings forward Henrirk Zetterberg

I just hope it’s not a high ankle sprain: Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg left Wednesday night’s game between the Wings and Hurricanes after appearing to twist his ankle as his left leg collapsed underneath him when cross-checked by Bryan Allen, and after the game, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told MLive’s Ansar Khan that the Wings don’t plan on taking any chances with Zetterberg:

Coach Mike Babcock said he doesn’t know the extent of the injury but assumes Zetterberg will sit out the final two games of the season against Chicago.

“He got his leg tangled up with someone out there. We’ll have our own people check him out when we get back tomorrow,’’ Babcock said. “He probably won’t play through the weekend. We’ll see after that.’‘

Updated: This is very rare, but NHL.com posted a video of Zetterberg suffering his injury:

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About The Malik Report

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.

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