Notebook: Wings 'fresh' for Game 6
Following the Red Wings morning skate before Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal series, a reporter asked him about the health of his linemate, Pavel Datsyuk.
“Everybody’s fresh. Fresh like a daisy,” Holmstrom said with a grin.
However, Monday afternoon, Datsyuk said the exact opposite.
“I think in the playoff times, nobody doesn’t have injuries,” Datsyuk said after the team landed in Detroit. “Everybody still plays. That’s why the NHL is good. When playoff time comes, everybody still plays.”
Judging by the news that Mike Modano will be inserted into the lineup, replacing Johan Franzen (ankle), Datsyuk’s statement was more accurate.
San Jose will also be without some of its firepower as forward Ryane Clowe didn’t make the trip to Detroit for Game 6.
Wings coach Mike Babcock said that Franzen has not been his normal threatening self.
“Mule’s out. He’s basically been out all series,” Babcock said.
Franzen has two goals and an assist in these playoffs. However, he is point-less against the Sharks.
“The thing great about this time of year, it’s them and us, it doesn’t matter if it’s (Joe) Thornton or Clowe or (Devin) Setoguchi, it’s a team game. They’ve got a good team, I’m sure they’ll slide someone in, I didn’t know that Clowe was out, so I just found that news. We’ve got to get our team ready to play, that’s what matters.”
The Wings’ coach said that he was not 100% sure of the Game 6 lineup, but said that Datsyuk will play.
“Pav’s OK,” Babcock said. “I thought Pav looked real good the other night, to tell you the truth. There are these rumors going around that he’s hurt. But he looks good to me. Mule’s not playing.”
When a reporter asked him if Brian Rafalski would play – the veteran defenseman missed morning practice – Babcock said he doesn’t expect to see Rafalski in the morning on game days.
“I don’t know if he knows, Rafi doesn’t like skating in the morning,” Babcock said. “You get over 35, you can do what you want, I guess.”
Meanwhile, San Jose coach Todd McLellan confirmed that Clowe has an upper-body injury and is not with the team. McLellan said he is focusing on the players who are still playing, not the ones who are out.
“Well it puts a little more pressure on other players,” McLellan said. “We’re taking that approach that the players who are actually dressed and involved in the game are more important than the ones that aren’t, so make sure that you show up and compete. Clowe, he’s obviously an important guy to our hockey club, but Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Brian Rafalski, are all guys who are playing with injuries who are all important players on their team as well. It’s not about the ones who are out of the line-up, it’s about the ones that are in.”
McLellan denied that Clowe’s injury came from the hit he received from Niklas Kronwall late in the second period of Game 5.
“He finished the game, he was out there in the last three or four seconds, and it had nothing to do with the hit that Kronwall laid on him,” McLellan said. “He finished the game, we think with this injury he’ll be able to play as we move forward, but we’ll have to wait and see until we get back.”
THERE WILL BE MISTAKES: When asked about how he expects Modano to perform in his first game since the Phoenix series, Babcock said that the veteran center will see an incredibly fast pace when he steps on the ice.
“As the series as gone on, it’s racing out there,” Babcock said. “There’s mistakes made defensively by both teams I think that you don’t see during the year because the pace is so high and they’re chasing them from behind so hard. There’s no room, so if you think you’re going to go out there and make a nice little play, that’s not going to happen. You’ve got to go out there and grind and compete and work. If you do that, the offense is going to come off the cycle, not off the rush, so we’ve got to find a way to get him involved.”
EXPECTING SWINGS: Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said that from prior experiences, the Wings know the Sharks will control the play during periods of time during Game 6.
“I think it helps having been there before,” he said. “Having said that, you have to show up and play, you have to go out and battle hard, and show up for every shift. There’s going to be some momentum swings in the game. They’re going to have the momentum, and you’ve got to play well in your own zone and you have to defend yourself, and we got to take it to them when we have a chance as well. It’s a matter of staying in the moment.”
FILLING IN FOR CLOWE: McLellan would not say who he will replace Clowe with in the lineup.