Kucherov on hit by Kronwall: “He made a hit. I’m not going to cry now. It’s a part of the game. That’s why we play here.”

DETROIT >> Some of the focus after the Wings’ Game 6 loss to the Tampa Bay Lighting Monday was the hit Niklas Kronwall delivered on Nikita Kucherov.

Late in the second period, Kronwall dealt his crushing blow as Kucherov was trying to leave the Lightning’s zone.

Kucherov went straight to the Tampa Bay locker room.

“I mean, it’s intense game, and those things happen,” Kucherov said. “It’s just hits. It’s just a part of the game.

“Not really,” Kucherov added when asked if he had seen the replay. “I saw it I think once, but I couldn’t see the whole thing.”

There was no penalty called on the play.

“It’s a hit,” Kucherov said. “He made a hit. I’m not going to cry now. It’s a part of the game. That’s why we play here.

Kucherov, who said he was fine after the hit, assisted on the first three goals the Lighting scored.

“I haven’t seen it in replay so I really can’t say too much about it,” Kronwall said. “I thought it was a clean hit at the time.”

When asked if the momentum forced him off his skates Kronwall said, “Yeah, usually when you go, the impact itself carries you up.”

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper also said he didn’t see the play.

“It was on that part of the ice that I didn’t see,” Cooper said. “The refs didn’t call a penalty so it must have been OK.”

Henrik Zetterberg thinks it was a clean check.

“When I saw it, it was a clean, hard hit,” Zetterberg said. “He had a good timing there, Kronner, and I don’t think their player saw him.”

The hit was delivered with the Wings trailing 3-1.

“For sure,” Tomas Tatar said when asked if the hit gave the Wings a lift. “He hit Kucherov, one of their good players. Playoffs are a tight game, lots of hits. One of these hits will get the team going, get the building going. We felt like we were on the horse. We let them score the goal 4-2 and kind of took us down.”

Loss of Glendening sparks Lightning comeback win

DETROIT >> With seven minutes and 28 seconds left in the third period, the tide of the Wings’ best-of-seven shifted for their favor to Tampa Bay’s all because the loss of one player … Luke Glendening.

Glendening went out after getting into a scuffle with Victor Hedman after suffering a right-hand injury and needed to be stitched up.

Glendening didn’t return to the game.

And during his absence, the Lightning scored three unanswered goals, all from their triplet line, to even the series with Detroit, 2-2, after a 3-2 win in overtime.

“I’ve watched him in the minors,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “I watched him play when they unfortunately beat us in the Calder Cup. He’s, I don’t know how to describe, he’s an extremely responsible player. There aren’t a lot of guys out there like the Glendenings. He’s done a heck of a job on our guys.

“To lose a player that plays an extremely important role for them, you look back know because we came back to win the game, so it was potentially a huge factor,” Cooper continued. “He’s a good player for them. There’s no question it had an effect because the triplet line there. They just have a vibe going on that first one and for him not to be around I’m sure there was a little bit of an effect.”

Glendening’s line, with wingers Drew Miller and Landon Ferraro, had put the clamps on Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov for nearly six periods at Joe Louis Arena.

That was until Glendening wen out.

“Obviously it was big play in the game,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I really thought we should be going on the power play there but I can’t control those things. Obviously getting his hand cut and missing the rest of the game matchup-wise, Johnson’s line got the next three goals.”

Johnson scored his first of two with 5:26 left in regulation and Glendening off the ice getting stitches after him and Hedman were sent off for roughing.

Johnson setup Palat for the equalizer just over a minute later.

“That’s just the way the game goes,” Glendening said. “Obviously I was frustrated not being able to be out there. He’s a dynamite player and when he gets time and space he can do special things.

Then, Johnson ended it just 2:25 into overtime.

“I don’t know, you’d have to ask Johnson,” Babcock said when asked why Glendening is so good against the Johnson line. “He’s a good player, he plays hard, he can skate. We think he’s OK. Just like all injuries in playoffs. You really don’t know until game time but the doc says they sewed him up and he’s going to be fine.”

Johnson now has four goals and an assist in the series.

“Just trying to limit their time and space,” Glendening said. “Miller and Ferraro have been great, trying to control the puck when we can. Blocking shots.”

Soon-to-be-37, Datsyuk showing no signs of lettingup

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings know what they’ve got in Pavel Datsyuk.

Wings coach Mike Babcock is worried about who’ll replace him one day.

“Pav’s a real good player, obviously, and to do what he’s doing, we were able to watch Nick (Lidstrom) do it for a long, long time and to see Pav do it at 30, well he’s just about 37, is great,” Babcock said. “It’s a real honor to be around him. He’s a good, good man. He’s a good teammate. He does it right. He leads by example. He’s better without the puck then he is with it if you can imagine that. He’s a great, great player. They only thing that makes you nervous is if he wasn’t here who’s taking his spot.”

On Tuesday, Datsyuk was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded to the NHL player “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

“When I come here I don’t think too far,” said Datsyuk, whose rookie season was in 2002. “My mind is too small to think too far. I just like enjoy it year by year and I’m happy where I am now.”

Datsyuk, who had just eight penalty minutes all year, had 26 goals and 39 assists in 63 games. His 65 points ranked second on the team despite missing 19 games with injuries.

“It’s impressive,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “If you look back at the years that he’s played in this league he would probably be nominated every year, and have a good chance of winning every year. He’s a special player and it’s awesome to see that he gets rewarded.”

Datsyuk has won the trophy four times (from 2006-09).

“When I first got here they said Pav couldn’t play in the playoffs,” Babcock said. “It’s the evolution of a player and understanding how hard it is in the playoffs. You don’t get much space and if you don’t score people say you can’t play, well I don’t think that’s the case at all he just evolved in it.

“Pav is a real team leader, he does things right and leads by example,” Babcock continued. “He has great thoughts offensively and defensively. He doesn’t mind sharing his opinion with the coach. He’s a treat to be around to say the least. He’s made me a lot better coach just through his vision and how he understands and thinks the game should be played. He’s a great teammate.”

Only Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers (seven) and Wayne Gretzky (five) have won this award more often than Datsyuk. Former Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Red Kelly also won it four times.

“I think it’s the best trophy ever,” Datsyuk said.

Former Wing Jiri Hudler, who’s now with the Calgary Flames, and Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar are the other two finalists.

“He’s a great player,” Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos said. “He plays well at both ends of the ice. He’s a smart player and obviously we have to be aware of him when he’s out there.”

Quote of the day

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock on his team digging on for Game 4, “I thought (Steven) Stamkos’ line was absolutely dominant in Game 2. They ate us up, we had no answers for them. Is that night to night? I don’t know. What I told our players today, after Game 1, when you win, the other team digs in. They dig in mentally, they get prepared. And then after Game 2, we dig in. The idea in a series is to race to four, not play to seven. It’s to dig in and get going, so our preparation has to be clear. All good players want to respond when they’re not quite as good as they were the game before and all good players want to be dominant every night and if you’re a scorer you like to score.”

Stay out of the box

DETROIT >> In Tampa Bay’s two loses in the series, the Lightning have gone 0-for-13 on the power play.

In their win they went 2-for-4.

“We’re on the penalty kill way too much, got to stay out of the box, that’s crazy,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We have good penalty killers. We’ve had good penalty killers. We got off to a great start this year, we struggled in net for a while there, but we seem to have our penalty killing back. To test it each night with six or seven is crazy, three would be enough.”

The Lighting also failed to score with 53 seconds of a two-man advantage.

“Well special teams are so magnified in games,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “You look at Game 1 and the special teams were 2-1 Detroit. They ended up winning by a goal. Was that the difference? Who knows? What was last night? 1-0 for them, they end up winning by two but special team goals have an impact. You look at Game 2, 2-0 for us, we end up winning the game. So you do the math and you’re looking at how these wins are chalking up. Special teams do matter.”

Ferraro brings a ‘dimension’ to Wings

DETROIT >> If the Detroit Red Wings make it to the second round, Landon Ferraro could join a few of his teammates that will have played more postseason games to begin their career than regular season with Detroit.

“Two weeks ago I was getting ready for our playoffs in Grand Rapids and then all of a sudden I’ve matched my regular season total three games into the playoffs,” Ferraro said after practice Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena. “Now it’s making sure I’m ready for the next game and try not to think too much about everything.”

Ferraro played three games during the regular season with the Wings. He’ll play his fourth playoff game with the team Thursday.

Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are the best two examples of that.

Helm played seven games during the 2007-08 regular season and then 18 in the playoffs. The next season, he played 16 in the regular season and 23 in the playoffs.
Abdelkader saw the ice just twice during the 2008-09 regular season and then played in 10 games that postseason.

“Lando’s played four years pro hockey, he’s been around for a long time he’s had some ups and downs,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s a real good skater, he scored 27 goals in the American League, even strength, none on the power play, so obviously he has a dimension.

“He can shoot the puck, he’s physical and he’s real fast. We’ve had a lot of transition over the last few years with young players and he’s one of the ones that looks like he could be part of the lineup for a while.”

Johnathan Ericsson played in 19 in the regular season and then 22 in the playoffs.

“You look at Helmer and Abby, that’s really how they got their starts,” said Ferraro, who played four games last regular season. “It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m going to do the best that I can.

“(Playoffs are) a lot tighter,” Ferraro added. “Everywhere you go you there’s someone right on top of you. When you have the puck you have to make a decision quick and get the puck moving or someone’s going to be right on you. You have in mind what you’re going to do when you get the puck is the biggest thing.”

His line, which also has Luke Glendening and Drew Miller, is also matched up at home against Tampa Bay’s explosive line – Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat – that combined for 74 goals, 200 points and a plus-102 rating.

“Just match their speed and make sure we give them no time, that’s the biggest thing,” Ferraro said about matching up with that line. “That line can skate. They have a lot of skill so if you take their time away that’s going to limit what they can do. You just try and frustrate them a little bit.

“I like how they play,” Ferraro added about his linemates. “It’s straight forward hockey. Not a lot of cutbacks, weaving up the ice, it’s get to the red line and get it in. Skate, use our feet as much as we can, get some hits, try and take it to the net. Just keep it simple. That’s how I like playing.”

Babcock on penalty kill: “To test it each night with six or seven is crazy, three would be enough.”

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena Wednesday afternoon.

The team had an optional practice with most of the regulars deciding not to skate.

Here’s a few quick answers from coach Mike Babcock after he addressed the media.

Q: The team was inconsistent down the stretch, how do you stop that from carrying over now?

Babcock: There’s two parts to that. Our part is we have to get prepared and ready to go and understand that Tampa is going to do their part too so the game has to be better. Each game of the series you have to get better to have success. We put ourselves in a good situation. We don’t want to give the situation back which mean our preparation has to be equal to their preparation today and tomorrow so we’re ready to go so that’s what our focus is.

Q: In the Wings’ two wins, Tampa Bay has been 0-for-13 on the power play.

Babcock: We’re on the penalty kill way too much, got to stay out of the box, that’s crazy. To give up a 5-on-3, it’s tough when you shoot it over the class or whatever we did. That 5-on-3 the posts were really kind to us. They made a real play to (Tyler) Johnson, that was tough to handle, but we have good penalty killers. We’ve had good penalty killers. We got off to a great start this year, we struggled in net for a while there, but we seem to have our penalty killing back. To test it each night with six or seven is crazy, three would be enough.

Q: How does Pavel Datsyuk continue to do what he’s doing at this age?

Babcock: Pav’s a real good player, obviously, and to do what he’s doing, we were able to watch Nick (Lidstrom) do it for a long, long time and to see Pav do it at 30, well he’s just about 37, is great. It’s a real honor to be around him. He’s a good, good man. He’s a good teammate. He does it right. He leads by example. He’s better without the puck then he is with it if you can imagine that. He’s a great, great player. They only thing that makes you nervous is if he wasn’t here who’s taking his spot.

Q: How has Datsyuk’s approach to the playoffs changed over the years?

Babcock: When I first got here they said Pav couldn’t play in the playoffs, I don’t know if you remember that. It’s the evolution of a player and understanding how hard it is in the playoffs. You don’t get much space and if you don’t score people say you can’t play, well I don’t think that’s the case at all he just evolved in it. Pav is a real team leader, he does things right and leads by example. He has great thoughts offensively and defensively. He doesn’t mind sharing his opinion with the coach. He’s a treat to be around to say the least. He’s made me a lot better coach just through his vision and how he understands and thinks the game should be played. He’s a great teammate.