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Hank guests on NHL conference call

Wednesday, 02.21.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
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Hank guests on NHL conference call
On Monday, Henrik Zetterberg was named First Star of the week for the second consecutive week. He's been on a bit of tear since the All Star break and is the leading scorer in the month of February recording 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points in eight games, included in that are four game-winning goals. He's five points ahead of Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who has 16 points in the month of February.

Last Saturday (Feb. 17) he recorded his first career hat trick in the Red Wings' 4-1 win in Phoenix. He currently leads Detroit in scoring with 64 points on 30 goals and 34 assists. With 22 games left in the schedule this season he is on track to match career highs of 39 goals, 46 assists and 85 points marks that he set last season.

The Wings are in a battle for first in the Central Division and Western Conference with the Nashville Predators who are one point ahead while the Red Wings have one game in hand.

Q. Can you just talk a little bit about the line you're on with Datsyuk and Holmstrom and why you guys work so well together? HENRIK ZETTERBERG: Well, I think me and Pavel have played together for a few years now on and off. And ever since coach put us together again we're playing good. And Holmstrom has just come in here, too, and just been tremendous for us. I think he deserves more credit for the things he does for us. He creates a lot of room and he gives us a lot of time to do things.

Q. He obviously is one of the best of setting up in front of the goal keeper. Can you talk about the advantage that is for you as a sharp shooter to have that big screen in front? HZ: Yes, most of the time when I shoot, Holmstrom is in front and the goalie doesn't see anything. Especially when I don't have the best shot in the league, it's easy for me to score some goals. Q. I wanted to follow that up to ask you about Holmstrom's ability to tip pucks. Do you ever catch yourself watching him, because he seems to do it so well setting up in front there, but how much do you respect the guy that does that night in and night out? HZ: He does a real good job for us. It is not easy to stand in front of the goalie and he takes a lot of beating in front but also he's great on tipping pucks. There is a lot of practice behind that. He's staying after practice to practice just on that, too. But I think he's the best in the league on that. Q. Just to switch gears a little bit. How often do the Nashville Predators come up in your locker room? They're really chasing you guys and are making a pretty good run for the division here. But how much do you guys talk about them and what they're doing in your own locker room? HZ: Actually, I think that we are the ones chasing them this year, and they have been playing really good, I think they won last night, so they're one point ahead of us. So it's just a great battle between us and we're going to play them five more times here. And I think that's going to decide who is going to be first or second. Because both us and them are going to win games and lose games. But when we play against each other, it's going to decide the first and second spot. Q. What's it like for them to go from an expansion team for the rivalry to get where it is right now? You've watched it over the years, used to be the team that you beat up on a little bit. But it's a little bit interesting how they've really turned it around in Nashville? HZ: Yes, they made some real good moves on free agency and also with the draft picks. And it takes a few years to develop a good team and they have been doing it for a couple of years now. Now they're one of the best teams in the league. Q. Maybe a little bit back to Nashville, and probably you've been asked this already. The addition of Peter Forsberg to the Predators, does that shift the balance of power out here in the West, what's your thought about the Predators adding him to their lineup? HZ: Of course it's going to have a new dimension. It's going to have, they already had a good team before. They've got Peter. And now he's, of course, he's a real threat for them. Especially in the power play and 5 and 3 and stuff like that. He's one of the best players in the world. So whenever you get a player like that for coming in and play 20 games and play the playoffs, it's going to help them a lot.

Q. And your team obviously, I mean two years ago you lost their three -- you lost to Calgary in the playoffs, last year first round you lost to Edmonton. I don't want to say any more pressure, but are the playoffs any more in your mind maybe feeling the team has to do more in the playoffs? HZ: Of course no one is happy how the way the season's been ending here for a few years now. And we just have to be really sharp when playoffs are coming up and we know it's a lot more even over all the teams now, who the first spot and the eight spot is not that big of a difference team-wise, and we just have to be ready when the first run starts and give it our all. Q. I work in Vancouver, a hometown question here. But there's some talk that Roberto Luongo, the Canuck goalie, should be in consideration for the Heart Trophy. I know you don't see them as often as other teams, but what has Luongo brought to Vancouver, do you think? HZ: I think it's brought a lot of safety for them. He's a real solid goaltender, and if they score basically two or three goals they're going to get at least one point. So of course he helps them a lot and the games I've been seeing it's just so solid back there and just brings a lot of points for the team.

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