Notebook: Wings' media day storylines
A look inside the Wings' media availability the day before the finals
Instead of their usual accommodations, the team rode up Atwater Street along the Detroit River in an old-school trolley. The team was scheduled to leave at approximately 2 p.m. The last two players to board were Kris Draper and Pavel Datsyuk, and the team gave them a hard time for arriving later than everyone else. Reports from the trolley said teammates were jokingly trying to charge them $500 apiece for the ride.
“How was the trolley ride over?” Justin Abdelkader said. “It was pretty packed. Everyone was pretty much doubled up, so it was pretty tight quarters.”
Lidstrom, Ericsson confirmed for Game 1: When asked about whether captain Nicklas Lidstrom, star forward Pavel Datsyuk, and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson will be ready for Game 1, coach Mike Babcock seemed positive that he will have at least two of them in the line-up.
“I think everybody's ready to go,” Babcock said. “Pavel's going to be the only last-minute decision. Everyone else will be ready.”
Ericcson was a late scratch for Game 5 vs. Chicago in the Western Conference finals after he had surgery for acute appendicitis that afternoon. Babcock said that while Ericsson wasn’t on the ice for Friday's morning skate, he will be ready Saturday's game.
“Ericsson's playing for sure,” Babcock said. “He just didn't want to with the surgery he had, they didn't want to put him on the ice today. But he'll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Hungry for more: Heading into the 2009 Stanley Cup finals, some experts have argued that the Penguins will be more hungry for hockey’s holy grail after coming so close last spring. But members of the Wings said that couldn’t more farther from the truth.
“Once you win it once, you want to win it again,” said Draper, who has won four Stanley Cups with the Red Wings. “It’s the greatest trophy in professional sports to win.
“Everything you do, the sacrifices that you make, from training camp right up until the end of this, it’s so worth while. So for us, I don’t think its fair to say that Pittsburgh’s hungrier than this hockey club, I totally disagree with that. We’re as hungry as we have ever been.”
Babcock, who will make his third finals appearance Saturday night, said that what makes it easy for him to get motivated is how excited his players are.
“No, it's the same thrill,” said Babcock, who led the Anaheim Ducks to the finals in 2003, and won the Cup with the Wings last spring. “I think the most exciting part for me is how excited the players are. I've said this a number of times … that the playoffs are totally different than the finals. Until you've been to the finals in the Stanley Cup you don't realize how exhilarating it is for the players. Just the scramble, especially this year, to get your family in and to get tickets and all that stuff.”
Lidstrom talked about how the opportunity to win another Stanley Cup might not always be there, so it’s important for his team to seize the moment.
“Well, first of all, you never know when you're going to get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup finals,” he said. “Whether you're having a great regular-season or winning the Presidents' Trophy or what not. You never know when you're going to be in the finals again, so just appreciate being here again and having a chance to win the Cup. It's something that I cherish a lot. You want to take advantage of that opportunity.”
Friends with the enemy?: Babcock knows Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma well. Bylsma, a native of Grand Haven, Michigan, played for Babcock when he was coach of the Ducks from 2002-04.
Babcock said that while he has shared coaching advice with Bylsma in the past, he doesn’t regret it now. He had a lot to say about his former player during his press conference on Friday.
“We went to the finals with Anaheim,” Babcock said. “He was a guy who was a heart-and-soul guy, a good teammate, a positive person. And he made his teammates better. After he was done playing, he was an assistant coach on our minor league team. We talked a number of times and he wanted the job in Grand Rapids.
“You know, I think we've talked periodically since that time. But the reason Dan's doing a good job is not because he talked to Mike Babcock, or not because he played for Andy Murray or played for me, it's because he's a good person. He works hard, and he has a passion for the game. Now he's sharing that with his players.”
Any regrets, Marian?: At the end of his press conference, Red Wings forward Marian Hossa was asked if he regretted leaving Pittsburgh to come play with the Wings last July, because of all the added media attention.
“Regrets?” Hossa said. “Not at all. I've got the chance to go to the finals and win the Cup. So not at all. If I wish the Penguins would not be in the finals? Well, that's a difficult question. But to tell you the truth, they're here and they deserve to be here because they're one of the best. They beat really good teams and they are in the finals. They deserve it.
The last team to repeat: With the Wings looking to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, lots of talk has been about the last team that accomplished the feat. That team, obviously, was the Red Wings in 1997-98. Goalie Chris Osgood, a member of those championship teams, compared this team to his former Wings' squad.
“I think both teams are pretty complete teams,” he said. “They're both deep. It's tough because it's a different era so it's different hockey, different teams, that was more clutch grabbing hockey. I think the talent level is a lot higher now.
“I think this team can win in more different ways than those teams could. We can win ugly. We can win a wide-open game. We can win the grind-them-out games where they're close 2-1 games where maybe we don't have anybody or we're not on our game. We're capable of just being satisfied grinding out a 2-1 win.”