Detroit Red Wings DetroitRedWings.com presented by AT&T
2015-16 Ticket Plans Available Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App
 

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

A Game within a Game

Zetterberg, Thornton plan for head-to-head battles

Friday, 10.28.2011 / 3:22 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
X
Share with your Friends


A Game within a Game
Henrik Zetterberg and San Jose's Joe Thornton know each other very well when it comes to taking face-offs against one another. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
DETROIT -- When you’re watching tonight’s game, pay close attention to the activities in the face-off circle, especially the gamesmanship when Henrik Zetterberg lines-up across from San Jose’s Joe Thornton.

As much as the Red Wings and Sharks have built a rivalry over the last few seasons, Zetterberg and Thornton have done so on a personal level. While they won’t be mistaken for the league’s top two centermen at taking draws, their staunch battles for puck-possession could likely determine tonight’s outcome … again.

“Actually tonight is going to be fun,” Zetterberg said. “I’ll be taking a lot of face-offs against Joe, and have done so throughout my career. Usually they’re some pretty good battles.”

In 11 games last season – including an epic Western Conference semifinal series that went the distance – the two centers went head-to-head in the circle 82 times with Zetterberg winning the draws 47.6 percent of the time.

But both men said Friday morning that more goes into taking draws then fans know, including some occasional shenanigans.

“You try to know what they like and what they try to do,” Zetterberg said, “and they probably know what you like to do. Basically, it comes down to cheating. The guy who cheats the most usually wins the most.”

Thornton agreed, saying, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying, that’s my motto half the time.”

Another big factor is the five-inches in height that Zetterberg gives up to the 6-foot-4 Thornton, who uses every bit of his 230-pounds to muscle face-off wins.

“Being a bigger guy, you have to use your strength, use your stick-size and just try to over-power other centers,” Thornton said. “I try to be as strong as I can, just try to be quick and try to be powerful on them. That’s what my plan usually is.”

By league rule, the visiting player must put his stick blade on the ice first, immediately followed by the home player. This gives the home team the advantage, which should work in Zetterberg’s favor tonight.

“It is different at home against him,” said Zetterberg, of Thornton. “He likes to come in late with the stick, and he has great timing and he’s strong on his bottom hand. I’ll say that it’s a little easier at home. But in the Shark Tank, it’s tough to take draws against him.”

While Thornton lists Vancouver’s Manny Malhotra as the NHL center that gives him the most trouble on draws, Zetterberg isn’t far behind, he said.

“With Hank, he’s just so competitive, he never gives up, and I think he digs and it’s a sense of pride for him,” Thornton said. “I think Malholtra is the toughest guy I face. But Pavel (Datsyuk) is tough, Hank and (Ryan) Kesler are tough. Those are the guys that you play the most because they’re in your own conference and you’re always going head-to-head with them.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

DetroitRedWings.com is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and DetroitRedWings.com are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
© NHL 2015. All Rights Reserved.

 
Advertise/SponsorshipsOlympia Entertainment | Code of Conduct | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Employment | Contact Us | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map