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Posted On Saturday, 04.16.2011 / 8:25 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Franzen OK after Doan hit

DETROIT -- Sitting at his locker after Detroit's 4-3 win at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, Johan Franzen looked the part of a playoff hockey player.

He had a bloody gauze plug stuffed up his left nostril, stitches zig-zagged on his forehead and more blood crusted near his mouth. His nose was yellowish, swollen and turning purple and though his demeanor was as calm as ever, he was clearly upset about the hit that did all the damage.

While skating into the Phoenix zone, he was hit by Shane Doan from behind and his body wound up careening into the boards with his face hitting first. No penalty was called on Doan and after the game, both head coaches said they thought no call was warranted.

Franzen returned midway through the second period. Also in the second period, Detroit's Darren Helm was called for boarding on a big hit he put on Ed Jovanovski near the end boards behind the Coyotes. Franzen, who thought Doan's hit was illegal, also took issue with Helm being penalized for his.

"From behind? Three feet from the boards?" he asked rhetorically of Doan's hit. "Yeah, usually you get thrown out of the game for that, but I guess shoulder on shoulder like Helmer is worse."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock didn't think either hit should’ve been penalized, but Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said Helm's hit did warrant the time he served in the penalty box. Doan said he wasn't trying to injure Franzen and didn't think it was that violent of a hit.

"I didn't hit him that hard," Doan said. "I think he lost his balance. Him and I were both racing to get the puck. He sees me coming and he tries to hit me as much as I tried to hit him. Obviously it's a bad situation the way he goes into the boards. You never want to see anybody get hurt."

Still, though he says there is no burgeoning personal "rivalry" with Doan, Franzen was not pleased with what happened. He left the ice immediately and had to be put under observation for possible concussion symptoms while being stitched.

"I don't think me and him is anything," Franzen said of he and Doan. "He plays hard and he's out there trying to get their team fired up and trying to look for big hits. I have no problem with that. I have a problem with bad hits. He should be thrown out of the game. No question about it."

Did he watch the replay?

"No, but I felt where he hit me, my numbers," Franzen said. "Really dangerous hit. I'm happy I just got stitches and nothing else."

Tippett sounded just as irked at Helm's hit on Jovanovski, which knocked him out of the game.

"Jovanovski got run into the boards," Tippett said. "If you look at Franzen, he stops and turns back, he goes into the boards on his own. Doan never hits him. Doan doesn't touch him while his body is on the boards. He stops and spins … Doan hits him four feet in the center of the ice. The one at the end of the rink is Helm running a guy into the end boards. Big difference."

Babcock saw it slightly different.

"Neither one should be a penalty," he said. "Franzen toe-picked and Doan had kind of bumped him. In my opinion, no penalty. Then Helm self-chipped, went in, Jovanovski knew he was there. Helm hit him hard. No penalty."

Face-shield for Franzen? Mule says 'No'

After he came back from the training room, Franzen just had his helmet on with no visor, cage or face shield protecting his stitches – which numbered as many as 21 according to a report on the NBC TV broadcast.

During the broadcast, cameras picked up Babcock talking to Franzen on the bench and appearing to ask him about putting on a visor. Franzen declined. He was also asked about it after the game.

"They were talking about it, but I can't play with that," Franzen said. "It's tilted up, so I think if I would've had a visor going into the boards I probably would've cut my face even more probably."

Babcock said he hopes the face shield will find its way onto Franzen's helmet before game 3 in Phoenix.

"I was amazed he came back with no facial protection," Babcock said. "He'll probably have to get that fixed up. It's important for us to have the Mule and he'll be ready to go next game."


GAME 2 QUOTABLES

RED WINGS


Helm on Datsyuk’s between-the-legs shot: "Second time he's tried it. He's got lots of skill. It doesn't really surprise me. He's pretty amazing. The rebound came to me and I just made sure I got it in the open cage.''

Franzen on concussion concern after Doan hit: "You go flying into the boards … that's always a concern, but I was lucky enough. I think the forehead is pretty strong – strong bone. Used that to take the hit and it worked out good."

Franzen on how his face looks after stitches: "I don't have any looks to worry about. I'm alright."

Datsyuk on his between-the-legs attempt: "Most times it's hard to shoot from here, but you know, if you make a nice move, you have an open small corner. It's a really good save and I'm happy it's a rebound, too."

Datsyuk on Helm's rebound goal off the between-the-legs shot: "I'm little bit upset, because why he don't shoot it between legs?"

More Datsyuk on between-legs shot: "It's spontaneous. Just try to shoot and score. Happy, too, Helm scored off it. Would be looking bad if he didn't score a goal."

Jimmy Howard on Datsyuk move: "He does a lot of crazy stuff in practice. The fact that he pulls it off in practice and almost pulls it off in a Stanley Cup Playoff game is truly remarkable."

COYOTES

Yandle
on late rally: "There's no quit in our group, that's for sure. When we are down that much we work harder."

Dave Tippett on improved Phoenix power play: "You look at two of the goals and they came off shots that were rebounds. I thought our intent around the net was better (today) in the 5-on-3. We had some more poise that we were missing in that first game."

Tippett on special teams play: "We need to bring our power play and our penalty kill together and work on the same page."

Ray Whitney: "Two power-play goals get you behind and when that team smells blood, they're pretty good a picking the pace up."

Shane Doan: "We weren't dissatisfied with the way we played the first 20 minutes. They found ways to get pucks through and to the net and capitalized on their opportunities."

Doan: "Datsyuk's been the best player on the ice for the first two games. He's their best player."
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Posted On Saturday, 04.16.2011 / 1:15 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Emptying The Notebook

Often, writers get more quotes than we can actually fit into a story. So, as they say in movies, some good stuff winds up on the cutting-room floor.

Here is some notebook items from both sides:
 
RED WINGS

Kirk Maltby, retired "Grind Line" member and now Detroit scout: "There were times we'd get labeled as not being tough enough or not having a tough guy on that line, but as an organization we've always seemed to pride ourselves on not putting somebody in the lineup just because of their toughness. We're not going to just put somebody in the lineup that can't play the game as well as be tough. You have to bring both."

Maltby on tradition the 'Grind Line' started in Detroit: "We were a little unorthodox on how we created the Grind Line. We brought (Joe Kocur) out of the beer leagues. That doesn't happen much. But we do take pride in the fact that we maybe played more minutes than most fourth lines on other teams in those Cup runs. We feel like we were a significant part of it. You need a little bit of everything to have success and fortunately we were there at the right time."

Maltby on current fourth-line center Darren Helm: "His biggest attribute is his skating. He's not the biggest guy in the world, but that might be the biggest misconception of him because he's really strong and is in great shape. We joke around and say if his hands could ever catch up to his feet, he'd be a really dangerous player -- but he loves playing and has good smarts when it comes to penalty killing and forechecking and things like that. Obviously his skatng allows him to do things like that."

Justin Abdelkader: "I'm never going to be satisfied. Being in this profession, if you're satisfied you're in the wrong profession. I don't think any of these players, even our veteran guys, if you ask them whether they're satisfied ... they're still trying to get better each day."

Abdelkader on playing center instead of wing: "That’s kind of my natural position, center. I've kind of been bumped around -- center and wing -- throughout the year. Whatever they play me at, I'm comfortable at each position."

Abdelkader on what he likes most about center: "Just ... maybe the responsibility. You're counted on defensively on faceoffs, obviously. I feel like I've gotten a lot better in taking faceoffs. I would like to be counted on more as we go forward on taking faceoffs. I've just got to keep going out there and winning and getting better."

Mike Babcock on Darren Helm: "Helmer plays the game at a high pace and he drives the 'D' crazy. He turns well. He can take it to the net. He's a good penalty killer. But he plays a heavy game. For a 200-pound guy, he plays heavier than that because he’s so quick and so hard. He's hard to play against."

Babcock on tradition of people throwing octopi onto the ice in Detroit: "I like calamari as much as the next guy. I don't like batter on it, but I like it spicy and cooked. That's part of the tradition here. I just hope the guys that come on to scrape it off aren't digging up the ice. I hate when they dig up the ice. I want it to be smooth. Other than that I don't have a lot of thoughts or concerns about it."

Babcock on Abdelkader playing second-line center: "He's good. At this point he's not a gifted playmaker or anything, but he's a big strong guy. He's very determined. He's good in the face-off circle. Otherwise, we're not as big down the middle. It's great to have a heavy body in that spot."

Babcock on Red Wings camping outside the crease: "We had a lot of called-off goals during the year and we didn't like it, so instead of having (Tomas Holmstrom) have his heels in the paint, we kind of got a six-inch imaginary line there that we use and we do the same with (Danny Cleary) -- making sure our guys are outside the paint. Yet, we still wanted to be right there at the edge, not disrupting the goalie’s play, but being there and being available for rebounds and pushing the goalie back."

Nicklas Lidstrom: "We were told before this series started that they were going to clamp down on sticks parallel to the ice, whether you're hooking someone or have your stick on someone's glove. They've got to be hard on that and I thought they were (In Game 1). They were making those calls. You just have to know going into the games to keep your stick on the ice and try not to hook players and use your stick like that."

Lidstrom on Red Wings PK: "We were aggressive at the right moments and not being too spread out. When we get spread out, they can make those passes through our box and find the opening. We did a good job of being aggressive at the right moments."

Lidstrom on blocking shots: "I'm not one of the big shot blockers, but it takes a lot of courage, because you're not that close to the shooter. When you go down on one knee to block a shot, usually turning sideways, it takes a lot of guts to be able to do that."

COYOTES

Ed Jovanovski on wearing a cage because of facial injury this season: "I haven’t worn one of those since minor hockey. It was the most traumatic injury I've had."

Dave Tippett: "We talked about some areas we feel like we can improve in, but if you look at the game there's some things we did well, too. We've bee a pretty resilient group through the whole season."

Tippett on blocking shots: "It's dangerous, but that's how you win. Simple as that. We had some times where we attempted to block shots and didn't get the job done. It's an area we have to be better at."

Tippett on Bryzgalov: "You look at his games against the Red Wings all season  ... (they) were strong. You get into a tough series, there's certain things, different aspects of a series, how it goes … when your team is chasing a game, you're going to give up more opportunities. Each game is kind of defined by that, but Bryz is a solid player. He's our backbone of our team and when he plays well, we usually fare well."

Ilya Bryzgalov on what the key is to winning Game 2: "I think key is to stop the puck. This is my job. More I stop. More chances we have to win."

Bryzgalov on playing the Red Wings: "Yeah I love it. It's always fun, a great challenge to play against one of the greatest players in the world (Pavel Datsyuk)."

Bryzgalov on Red Wings crowding the front of the net: "I know it's going to happen. I know it will be that way again. I just have to fight through and find the puck."
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Posted On Friday, 04.15.2011 / 5:33 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Coyotes hope to match Wings hit for hit

Phoenix prides itself on playing gritty, hard-hitting hockey and none of the Coyotes enjoyed being outhit by the Red Wings 33-28 in Game 1 on Wednesday night.

Captain Shane Doan led Phoenix with eight hits, but wants to see more Coyotes flying around the rink on Saturday afternoon for Game 2 against Detroit at Joe Louis Arena.

"I think in this room we've got to take it a little personal," Doan said of being outhit by what most classify as a skilled finesse team. "A few guys have to take it personal. It has to be a group effort. It can't be one or two guys who lead it. It has to be a whole group."

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett would like to see that group again being led by Doan -- who also has offensive skills, but often benefits offensively from the checks he doles out.

"I like Doan physical, because that's who he is," Tippett said on Friday. "When he's a bull out there, that's when he's at his best. When he's a bull in a china shop, that's even better than just being a bull."
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Posted On Friday, 04.15.2011 / 3:14 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Bryzgalov issues quote of the day

Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was asked on Friday about Detroit's longstanding tradition of fans hurling octopi onto the ice to help bring good luck to the Red Wings. Does it bother him at all?

"No," he said. "They're not throwing the whole octopus on me … otherwise, I would stink."
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Posted On Friday, 04.15.2011 / 3:12 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Morris still not back for Phoenix

Veteran defenseman Derek Morris again didn't skate on his own or with the Coyotes at their practice on Friday and Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said he's still day-to-day in his recovery from an upper-body injury.

David Schlemko played in Morris' place for Game 1.

"He's been pretty good," coach Dave Tippett said. "He was fine the other night. It's not as if he hasn't played this year. He's played a lot for us and with the injuries to our blue line that we've had, he's a young player that's come along and given us quality minutes. He's a good puck-mover. Smart player."
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Posted On Friday, 04.15.2011 / 3:11 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Zetterberg skates again, will travel

Injured Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg (lower body) skated on his own for the second straight day, but will not play in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

Zetterberg, who missed the last two games of the regular season and Game 1 against Phoenix on Wednesday night, is still being listed as day-to-day with the injury. He will also make the trip with the team to Phoenix as he continues to show progress.

"Zetterberg's making the trip for sure," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said after the Red Wings' Friday practice. "We're hoping he's playing here soon."
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Posted On Friday, 04.15.2011 / 3:08 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Detroit looking to cut down on penalties

After committing five penalties in the first 25 minutes of Game 1 and six overall, the Red Wings know they can't keep parading to the penalty box and completely shutting down the Phoenix power play.

Detroit killed off all six penalties in the first game, but it's probably best not to keep testing goalie Jimmy Howard and the penalty killing units so often.

"We can't take the penalties, especially the stick penalties," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We high-sticked someone, we took, I think, four other stick penalties. I mean, they told us before (the game) how it was going to be and we didn't handle it the right way."

Luckily, the penalty killers and Howard were up to the task on more than one occasion.

"In the end, we were fortunate that Howie made an unbelievable save on (Radim Vrbata) on a 5-on-3 when he was by himself, he made a great save on (Ray Whitney) when they got a nice carom off the backboard and he made a breakaway save on (Shane Doan)," Babcock said. "Otherwise we don’t win the game. That's the facts. These things can all be helped with better discipline and recovering with your feet instead of your stick."
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Posted On Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 5:58 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Kronwall leaned on heavily in return

After missing the final five games of the regular season with an upper-body injury believed to be a shoulder issue, Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall returned to action in Game 1 and played a big role in the Red Wings' 4-2 win.

Not only did he log 21:21 of ice time -- second only to Brad Stuart's 23:25 -- but Kronwall spent 6:04 on the ice killing off Phoenix power plays. That was about two-thirds of Phoenix's 9:09 of man-advantage time and the Wings didn't allow a single power-play goal.

Kronwall also blocked two shots, which he didn't have to think twice about doing despite his injury.

"You don't really think about it," he said. "All you want to try to do is prevent that puck from going through. It's just as simple as that. You want to try to block as many shots as you can."
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Posted On Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 5:57 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Wings not surprised by 'Mule'

The Red Wings talked a lot about how they just knew Johan Franzen would show up big in the playoffs, and then the Swedish power forward known as "The Mule" proved them right in Game 1.

His rocket wrist shot through the legs of a defenseman and past a stunned Ilya Bryzgalov was the highlight, but he also added an assist on Detroit's first goal, logged five shots on goal, missed the net five times and dished out four hits.

He even blocked a shot and won the only faceoff he took. All that after being somewhat invisible during the final 27 games he played in the regular season -- a span in which Detroit’s leading goal scorer potted just 2 goals.

The performance wasn't exactly "ho-hum" for his teammates to see, but close.

"He's been happier the last few days," forward Danny Cleary said on Thursday. "He just hates the regular season, I think. When he's going, he's very hard to stop. He gets on this roll of just complete dominance, physical and skating. He can be so powerful, with and without the puck, and his shot is lethal. So it just continued on, him playing well in the postseason."
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Posted On Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 2:02 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Detroit-Phoenix Live Blog

Zetterberg skates, considered day-to-day

DETROIT -- Any progress is good for injured Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg, and what the star did on the ice at Joe Louis Arena Thursday morning qualified as such.

Two days earlier, Zetterberg met with reporters after Detroit's practice and didn't sound upbeat about the prospect of getting back in time from an undisclosed lower-body injury to play in this Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Now, he's at least one step closer to making it happen after skating by himself on Thursday morning and taking part in light stickhandling and shooting activities. It was the first time on the ice for Zetterberg since he was injured in Carolina in an April 6 game.

"I was out there for 15 minutes, maybe," said Zetterberg, who missed the final two games of the regular season and Wednesday night's 4-2 Red Wings win in Game 1 with what's believed to be a knee injury. "It was fun to be out there (and) feel the puck again. I didn't expect that a few days ago, even though I didn't do, basically, anything out there -- just stickhandling, shooting and moving around a little bit."

Zetterberg, who was driven by golf cart to the Red Wings' locker room while wearing a bulky brace on his leg Tuesday, still played it cautious on Thursday when asked about the prospect of playing in Game 2 on Saturday after noon.

"Day by day," he said. "We'll see (how it feels Thursday)."

As for skating again on Friday, that will be determined by how his body reacts to the work he put in on Thursday.

"We'll see how it reacts after today," said Zetterberg, Detroit's leading point-scorer in the regular season. "It bumped up a little bit in the workout room today, too. (We) just have to see how it will respond and regroup tomorrow."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock also left the door ajar as to Zetterberg's return timetable.

"There's always a chance," Babcock said, when asked about the Swedish star's availability for Game 2. "He's day-to-day."


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