Daily Archives: May 29, 2013

In some ways, Wednesday night marks an end to an Original Six rivalry between Wings and Blackhawks

CHICAGO – In some ways, Wednesday night marked an end to an Original Six rivalry when the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks met in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals at the United Center.

Next season the Wings will be moving to the Eastern Conference which means the only way the teams will meet in the Stanley Cup finals.

“The next time we face them in the Stanley Cup playoffs it’ll be a lot of fun; that means we will have gotten someplace so that’s a good thing,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said Wednesday morning. “For me, I’ve mentioned this already, is I really like the city. They have high end players. I like the way the Blackhawks play because they play fast. I like coming in the building. Their captain is what a captain should be, he’s respectful of the game and does things right.”

This was the 16th playoff series between the storied franchises and 81st meeting overall in the postseason.

“There’s no better way to go out with these guys than a Game 7, win or go home game,” forward Justin Abdelkader said.

“We couldn’t have scripted it any better with hopefully a win for us,” defenseman Kyle Quincey said.

The teams have met twice in the Stanley Cup finals in 1934 and 1944 with the Blackhawks’ winning both series.

“They remind me of our franchise in a lot of ways,” Babcock said. “The history that’s around it, you bump into guys every time you’re in the building. I like that part of hockey. When you’ve been in a long time and you’ve had a lot of respect for the game, Original Six means something to you.”

The teams, who are separated by less than 300 miles of road, have faced each other in more regular season games than any other two clubs in NHL history.

The first meeting took place on Nov. 24, 1926. The Detroit Cougars beat the Black Hawks, 1-0, on a goal by Frank Frederickson with five minutes remaining in the third period. The assist went to Hobie Kitchen and rookie goalie Hap Holmes recorded the shutout.

“It was rough, a lot different when I was a kid,” Abdelkader said of the early years that he can recall of the rivalry. “The Proberts, McCartys, Kocurs, it was fun. All you have to do is look at the jerseys, Original Six, two of the best jerseys in the league. Just the tradition and what each organization is about, every time you put on the jersey you take pride in it.

“And the fans are just into it,” Abdelkader said. “They’re a big part of why the rivalry has been so good. It’s been fun to be a part of. To see both cities get behind their teams and the excitement and energy in both stadiums is always fun.”

With Chicago’s team falling on hard times for a bit, Colorado took over as the Wings’ biggest rival. From 1996-2002 the teams met five times in the playoffs.

And in Game 6 of their meeting in the 1996 Western Conference finals, Claude Lemieux checked Kris Draper from behind into the boards that sent the Wings forward to the hospital with a broken jaw, shattering a cheek and an orbital bone.

“That took over for a few years when they had those certain players and that one hit certainly sparked everything,” Quincey said. “But as soon as those players retired and the team and game changed that rivalry fizzled pretty quick.”

“Once Chicago got good again, they got (Patrick) Kane and (Jonathan) Toews and picked up a few other players the rivalry kind of renewed itself, got new energy,” Abdelkader said. “It’s tough when one team is really good and the other team is not so good, maybe it’s not going to be there as much, but when both teams are good and they’ve won a Stanley Cup over the past five years the rivalry intensifies that much more.”

The Pittsburgh Penguins were a rival for a few seasons after meeting the Wings in back-to-back finals.

“That was good there, but even those guys we played them in the finals, but we didn’t see them during the regular season,” Abdelkader said. “I’d have to say it’s Chicago for me.”

The Wings will play next season in a Division with three Original Six teams, Boston, Montreal and Toronto, along with Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay.

“Travel-wise it’s going to be good,” Abdelkader said. “It’s going to be a lot different. Travel-wise it just makes so much sense, but it’s going to be a bummer not coming here three or four times a year.”

Chicago will be in a division with Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.

Columbus will also move from the West to the East, which will house of 16 of the league’s 30 teams.

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Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have stepped up their game when it comes to Game 7s

CHICAGO – Superstars are called upon to step up when the team needs them the most.

And that’s been the case with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

In five career Game 7s, Zetterberg has two goals and six assists, while Datsyuk has four goals and one assist.

That’s why Wings coach Mike Babcock doesn’t worry about his two superstars heading into Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the United Center.

“That’s because I’ve been hanging around them for a long time,” Babcock said. “Pav had six shots on net (in Game 6). He was home-free (Monday) night and didn’t score, he didn’t get up over the pad. Like he’s due. So the way I look at guys like that when they haven’t scored in a bit they’re due, they’re bound to come through.”

Zetterberg has yet to score through six games in the series, but does have three assists.

Datsyuk has just one goal and one assist in the series with Chicago.

“Everyone talked about (Jonathan Toews) for a long time,” Babcock continued. “It’s the same thing. When you’re due and you’re a good player and you work hard and you’re determined eventually you’re going to break out. So to me those guys are like money in the bank as far as I’m concerned.”

Zetterberg did come through in the clutch for Detroit in Games 6 and 7 against Anaheim. He had two goals and an assist in Game 6 and followed that up a goal and an assist in Game 7.

Datsyuk had a goal and two assists in Game 6 against the Ducks.

“That’s why they are who they are,” Niklas Kronwall said of Zetterberg and Datsyuk. “I wish I could tell you why. They bring it every night and in games like these is when they shine the most.

“They seem to find that comfort zone and just go out there and produce and make things happen out of nowhere,” Kronwall added. “They’re two of the best players in the league and we’re really happy that they’re on our club and not the other teams.”

Toews had been held without a goal this postseason before he finally lit the lamp in a must-win Game 5 for Chicago.

He then had two assists in the Blackhawks’ second must-win game of the series, Game 6.

“I just think anybody who is a scorer, who is getting shots on net is bound to score,” Babcock said. “If you’re not getting any shots on net, you’re not getting any looks, you’re not going to get any opportunity that way. We had looks (Monday) night, there’s no question about it. In the end, if you fail to execute around the net that’s just part of it. You have to find a way to put it in the net. Close doesn’t get you anywhere at this time of year.”

Valtteri Filppula also has come up clutch in Game 7s, registering a goal and five assists in five games.

Jimmy Howard is 2-1 in three Game 7s, with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” Howard said. “They’re a really good team. They showed it in the last two games. Just made a couple mistakes and it wound up in the back of our net.

“Some days they go in, some days they don’t,” Howard continued. “It’s just one of those things where you put it all behind you. It’s just one game. Nothing matters what happened previously in the serious. You just go out there and play.”

As a franchise, the Wings are 14-9 all-time in Game 7s.

Wings are 14-9 all-time in Game 7s; Zetterberg and Datsyuk have stepped up when it comes to these games

CHICAGO — Here’s a look at how the Wings have done all-time in Game 7s, coming into tonight with a record of 14-9.

2013: Western Conference QF vs. Anaheim, W 3-2
2011: Western Conference SF vs. San Jose, L 3-2
2010: Western Conference QF vs. Phoenix, W 6-1
2009: Stanley Cup Final vs. Pittsburgh, L 2-1
2009: Western Conference SF vs. Anaheim, W 4-3
2002: Western Conference Final vs. Colorado, W 7-0
1996: Western Conference SF vs. St. Louis, W 1-0 2OT
1994: Western Conference SF vs. San Jose, L 3-2
1993: Norris Division SF vs. Toronto, L 4-3 OT
1992: Norris Division SF vs. Minnesota, W 5-2
1991: Norris Division SF vs. St. Louis, L 3-2
1987: Norris Division Final vs. Toronto, W 3-0
1965: Semifinal vs. Chicago, L 4-2
1964: Stanley Cup Final vs. Toronto, L 4-0
1964: Semifinal vs. Chicago, W 4-2
1955: Stanley Cup Final vs. Montreal, W 3-1
1954: Stanley Cup Final vs. Montreal, W 2-1 OT
1950: Stanley Cup Final vs. NY Rangers, W 4-3 2OT
1950: Semifinal vs. Toronto, W 1-0 OT
1949: Semifinal vs. Montreal, W 3-1
1945: Stanley Cup Final vs. Toronto, L 2-1
1945: Semifinal vs. Boston, W 5-3
1942: Stanley Cup Final vs. Toronto, L 3-1

And here’s how the players have performed in the past.

Here is a look at how the Red Wings have fared in Game 7s:
Skater GP W-L G A Pts.
Justin Abdelkader 4 3-1 1 0 1
Joakim Andersson 1 1-0 0 0 0
Todd Bertuzzi 5 3-2 2 0 2
Damien Brunner 1 1-0 0 0 0
Daniel Cleary 5 3-2 1 1 2
Carlo Colaiacovo 1 1-0 0 0 0
Pavel Datsyuk 6 4-2 4 1 5
Patrick Eaves 5 4-1 0 0 0
Jonathan Ericsson 5 3-2 1 1 2
Valtteri Filppula 5 3-2 1 5 6
Johan Franzen 4 3-1 0 2 2
Darren Helm 4 2-2 1 0 1
Jakub Kindl 1 1-0 0 1 1
Niklas Kronwall 5 3-2 0 0 0
Drew Miller 3 1-2 0 0 0
Gustav Nyquist 1 1-0 0 0 0
Kyle Quincey 1 1-0 0 0 0
Mikael Samuelsson 5 2-2 1 1 2
Brendan Smith 1 1-0 0 0 0
Ian White 1 1-0 0 0 0
Henrik Zetterberg 5 3-2 2 6 8

Goalie GP W-L GAA Sv%
Jimmy Howard 3 2-1 2.01 .938

Let the clichés continue to fly and fly and fly and fly….

CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg was loaded with every cliche you could think of as his team prepares for Game 7 tonight against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center.

Here are just a few of them…

“We feel like the ball’s in our court here, we have home-ice advantage, we have to do everything we can to get off to a good start and get a win here.”

“All we’ve been doing here is looking to win. That’s been our goal here the whole time, advance to the next round and get it done in seven or five, whatever that might be. We’re happy we came back and that’s all behind us right now. A lot of things can happen in one game, we all know that. We have to come out prepared and be ready to go right off the bat.”

“We have to play the same way we have over these last two games. We feel like we have a second chance to advance.”

“We’re just excited to play this game tonight. It’s a fresh start for both teams, it’s one game that decides it all.”

“It’s exciting, we’re going to come out flying here tonight and do our best to advance.”

“We’ve faced elimination two games in a row, but the biggest thing is not to let up here, we have to play desperate here again, our backs are still against the wall. We can’t be happy by just coming back. We have to find a way to win this last one here, that’s all that matters.”

“It seems like there is a lot of talk going into (Game 7), but at the end of the day it’s just another hockey game. Everyone is going to be a little bit hungrier, a little more desperate. You might see goalies make that desperation save or players diving head first to block a shot.”

“At the end of the day we have to approach this game like we have games all year and we’ve been successful because we’ve played that similar style. Just be a little more aggressive, a little more hungry and I think we can do that and we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

Wings will face Kings … if they get by Blackhawks

DETROIT — The NHL released the schedule for the Western Conference finals and if the Wings do advance to face the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings they’ll open the best-of-seven series Friday at 9 p.m. at the Staples Center.

Game 2 would be Sunday at 8 p.m.

Games 3 and 4 will be at Joe Louis Arena, Tuesday and Thursday. Both games will start at 8 p.m.

The Kings, who are 7-0 at home this postseason, reached the finals after beating the San Jose Sharks, 2-1, in Game 7 on Tuesday.

Los Angeles has won 14 in a row at home, which includes the regular season.

Here is the entire schedule if the Wings’ beat Chicago in Game 7 tonight.

Game 1: Friday at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 2: Sunday at Los Angeles, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 3: Tuesday, June 4 at Detroit, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 4: June 6 at Detroit, 8 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC)

x-Game 5: June 8 at Los Angeles, 8 p.m. (NBC, CBC)

x-Game 6: Monday, June 10 at Detroit, 8 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC)

x-Game 7: Wednesday, June 12 at Los Angeles, TBD (NBCSN, CBC)

x-if necessary

Here’s the schedule if the Blackhawks beat Detroit.

Game 1: Saturday at Chicago, 5 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 2: Sunday at Chicago, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 3: Tuesday at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)

Game 4: Thursday, June 6 at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC)

x-Game 5: Saturday, June 8 at Chicago, 8 p.m. (NBC, CBC)

x-Game 6: Monday, June 10 at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC)

x-Game 7: Wednesday, June 12 at Chicago, TBD (NBCSN, CBC)

x-if necessary

Rolling Stones’ show may cause for some bad ice at United Center

DETROIT — There’s a chance the ice may not be at its finest at the United Center after the Rolling Stones performed there Tuesday night.

“It’s a busy building,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “Some nights are tough. That’s the way it is. It’s the same for both teams. We can’t really worry about that too much. If it’s chippy a little bit, we’ll just have to play a simple game. You can’t make too many pretty plays. It’s very similar in most buildings.”

The Blackhawks also share the arena with the Chicago Bulls.

The Red Wings do not share Joe Louis Arena with another team, although the venue hosts an occasional concert.

“It’s same for both teams,” Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “Usually when we go to Joe Louis, it’s one of the best ice surfaces in the league, I’d say. I guess it’s tougher here for the guys to have the ice in top shape with so many different events here. You’ve got the basketball, concerts – I understand it’s tough to keep the ice in great shape but it’s the same for both teams so you can’t really complain about it.”

Toews, who’s a Rolling Stones fan, won’t be at the show.

“We’ve got bigger fish to fry right now,” Toews said.

Pressure on both teams’ for Game 7 of Red Wings-Blackhawks series

DETROIT – After playing two consecutive games with the pressure squarely on their shoulders, the Chicago Blackhawks now have someone who can share that burden.

Battling back from a 3-1 hole in their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series with the Detroit Red Wings, the Blackhawks have forced a Game 7 back at the United Center. It starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“There’s pressure on both teams,” Chicago’s Jonathan Toews said. “Both teams really want to win. I think most of that pressure comes from within. You want to win for yourself. You want to win for the guys next to you. And it was no breeze getting to this point. Even though it was a shortened season, every guy in this room, whether they play every night or the guys that sacrifice their playing time and get scratched, whatever it is we have a lot of great individuals here who paid the price to get here. That’s where the pressure comes from and nowhere else. We want to win for each other. That’s what matters most.”

Chicago began the year 21-0-3 and won the Presidents’ Trophy with the league’s best record.

“I’m not worried about if we have anything to lose or anything like that,” Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “I’m just worried about winning the game. It’s all we’re thinking about in here. We turned it around. We’ve been playing a Game 7 type of game the last two games and we’ve been doing it pretty good. But it’s all for nothing if we can’t win the next game here, and personally Game 7s are the most exciting games to play.”

The Wings needed wins in their last four regular-season games just to qualify for the postseason as the seventh seed.

“We’re going to look at it as more fun,” Chicago goalie Corey Crawford said. “We’re excited about this game, having it in our building. The crowd is going to be loud. Like I said, it’s just going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun to go out there to try to win a game and move on.”

After taking Game 1 in the series, the Blackhawks were outscored 9-2 over the next three games, which resulted in their first three-game losing streak of the season.

They have since outscored Detroit 8-4 over the last two games.

“We look back the last couple games, we thought we were in a pretty good place when we had this meeting after Game 4,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “The belief was definitely in the room here and we believed in each other and we wanted to go capture the momentum. Thought we did a great job in Game 5 with the crowd and everybody behind us. We got the momentum back, went in their building and did the same thing and had a great start, got it back in the third period and here we are. I think we’re excited about where we’re at and basically we couldn’t ask for a better move from where we were after Game 4 to where we are at the moment.”

In 2011, Chicago was in a similar situation against Vancouver, falling behind 3-0 before forcing a Game 7 on the road that the Blackhawks lost 2-1 in overtime.

“I remember winning three games in a row and just the feeling of invincibility,” Toews said, recalling that series with the Canucks. “I think maybe this time we know it’s one thing to carry that momentum and ride it into a Game 7. But that other team is going to come back with everything they’ve got, too. So we have to be ready for that.

“When you go into another building in a tough game, one of those things that you’re trying to take away from the other team is that energy that they feed off of,” Toews continued. “You try not to worry about that sort of thing too much when you’re on the road.”