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Posted On Wednesday, 05.11.2011 / 2:38 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

No news on potential Detroit lineup changes

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said that he would consider any lineup changes for Game 7 on the long plane ride to San Jose.

That means there might be a chance Johan Franzen plays in Game 7 after missing Game 6 because of an ankle injury. Mike Modano played for him on Tuesday in Game 6 and might also be called upon. Veteran Kris Draper was also a healthy scratch in Game 6 after playing in the middle three games of the series.

"We'll take these five-and-a-half hours on the flight to kick everything around," Babcock said. "I'm sure (Franzen) will try lobbying and we'll listen to him. We'll try to make the right decisions, but the only way you know you've made the right decisions are when you win. We'll try to make the right decision on the right players."
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.11.2011 / 2:36 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Modano gives glimpse of what Sharks might be feeling

It's been almost 20 years since the Red Wings came back from a 3-1 deficit against the then-Minnesota North Stars to win a first-round series, but Mike Modano still remembers what it felt like to lose that series. He was asked on Wednesday morning about the mood in the Minnesota locker room as Detroit made its comeback, and might've offered an idea of what the Sharks feel after dropping three straight to erase a 3-0 lead in this series.

"Well, you're a little nervous because you know they're coming and their confidence is building," said the 40-year old Modano, a Westland, Mich., native who was just 21 at the time. We knew at 3-1 we needed to play a spectacular, perfect game from start to finish. Otherwise, we were in trouble."

They were right, as it turned out.

"Just bad break after bad break, and we're just looking for something to put a tourniquet on a hemorrhage because it was coming," Modano said. "You could just feel it. It was just like an avalanche. Once they got going and their main guys started playing, we knew we were in trouble."
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.11.2011 / 2:27 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Bertuzzi the quote machine?

Detroit power forward Todd Bertuzzi isn't usually the most quotable figure in the Red Wings' locker room, but he had a couple of zingers on Wednesday at the airport before leaving for San Jose.

In talking about playing Game 7 on Thursday and the excitement that comes along with it, Bertuzzi said: "It's the first time I've seen guys that excited to get on a plane for seven hours."

Then, when asked if he thinks the Red Wings might get injured forward Johan Franzen (sore ankle) back for Game 7, Bertuzzi quipped: "Who knows? I thought we were leaving yesterday, so it shows how much I know what's going on around here."
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.11.2011 / 2:15 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Bad penalties plaguing Abdelkader

It's been a rough series for Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, who has taken a number of penalties at inopportune times.

His latest troubling infraction came late in Game 6 on Tuesday with the Red Wings clinging to a 2-1 lead and needing the win to push the series to Game 7. He was called for holding and put Detroit's penalty kill units plus goalie Jimmy Howard in a sticky situation.

Detroit killed it off, but it was a long 2:00 in the penalty box for Abdelkader.

"I'm still thinking about it," he said on Wednesday morning, before boarding the team plane. "You don't want your team shorthanded when you're up like that in the third period. You think about it and hopefully learn from it and won't do it again. It's not a fun feeling, I'll tell you that much. It's just a long two minutes."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he had another chat about committing penalties at bad times – the second such conversation the two have had in this series.

"I just told him, two games in a row now, 'You've got to decide … are you going to be one of those guys that their whole career takes a bad penalty at the wrong time or are you going to look after it?'" Babcock said. "He's a great kid and a great teammate and he's going to get it looked after."
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.10.2011 / 4:38 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Babcock further explains his 'drivetrain' analogy for Datsyuk

It was the perfect symbolism for the coach of the Motor City's hockey team to make.

Babcock was asked after Game 5, a 4-3 win by the Red Wings, what allowed Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk able to overcome a rumored wrist injury to dish out three impressive assists at crucial moments in the game. In short, Babcock said player like Datsyuk have a "drivetrain" that other players don't always have, which allows them to turn it up a notch in the playoffs.

Babcock was asked to expand on that analogy after Tuesday's morning skate and said that "drivetrain" can be installed, so to speak, by hard work and determination.

"I think for sure it can be taught," Babcock said. "When you come to a team like the Detroit Red Wings, when you arrive, Steve Yzerman's like that or Nick Lidstrom's like that. Pavel Datsyuk is an absolute workaholic on and off the ice. It's not by accident that these guys are this good. It's because they work that hard."

Babcock then cited how hard Datsyuk works on and off the ice to keep his 32-year old body in shape and to keep honing his already jaw-dropping array of skills at both ends of the ice.

"To me, that's what separates him," Babcock said. "There's lots of nice players in the league, but they don't get to play long at the end of the year, because it's not about being a nice player. It's about winning your battle every time you're on the ice. There's no space and there's no room and the ice gets worse as the year goes on, so it's not about being pretty and it's not about open ice, or about who looks good in practice with no pressure on him. It's who can make a play in a small area and win a battle. To me, that's the game."
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.10.2011 / 4:26 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Red Wings not acknowledging Datsyuk injury

It's already one of the worst-kept secrets in sports and is starting to border on comical. Multiple reports say that Detroit star center Pavel Datsyuk has a hand or wrist injury that is preventing him from taking faceoffs.

Datsyuk was even termed "questionable" before Game 5 in San Jose on the Versus pre-game broadcast before recording three assists in the Red Wings' impressive come-from-behind 4-3 win to extend the series to Tuesday night's Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock was asked if Datsyuk's wrist was the reason he didn't take any faceoffs in Game 5, and Babcock tried to deflect attention from it by sheepishly stating that Datsyuk wasn't very good at draws before stating the truth: "He's our best faceoff guy."

Then Datsyuk denied he was even injured at all when the Wings returned from San Jose on Monday.

"What wrist?" Datsyuk said, when asked how his wrist was holding up. "I'm ok."

Why no faceoffs in Game 5 then?

"I'm not good at faceoffs," Datsyuk deadpanned.

The subterfuge continued on Tuesday after the Red Wings' morning skate. First up was veteran forward Tomas Holmstrom, who was asked about Datsyuk's health.

"Everybody's fresh, fresh like a daisy," said Holmstrom, who scored the game-winner in game 5 by deflecting a blast by Nicklas Lidstrom. "There's no problems."

Next up was Babcock, who was again asked about Detroit's strategy to deal with Datsyuk being unable to take faceoffs because of the wrist.

"Pav's OK," Babcock said. "There's these rumors going around that he's hurt, be he looks good to me."

He looks good to Holmstrom, too.

"I've played with him a long time," Holmstrom said. "You think you've seen it all, then he takes it up another notch."
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.10.2011 / 4:12 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Kronwall has no ill will toward Clowe

When word began to spread on Tuesday morning that Sharks forward Ryane Clowe didn't make the trip to Detroit after Game 5 in San Jose, most immediately thought it had something to do with a huge that Detroit's Niklas Kronvall put on him.

It was a clean hit, as Kronwall circled in toward Clowe near the boards and sent him to the ice while he tried to play the puck. San Jose coach Todd McLellan said Clowe stayed behind with an undisclosed upper-body injury not related to the hit, while Kronwall said he wasn't trying to knock Clowe out of action.

"Obviously, you don't want anyone to get hurt," Kronwall said on Tuesday, after Detroit's morning skate. "They said it was flu-like symptoms. I don't think it has anything to do with that hit whatsoever."

He also quickly forgot about the hit after delivering it, seeing as Detroit trailed at the time.

"I don't think anything too much after a hit," Kronwall said. "You just go out there and try to play physical."

Kronwall also laid out Dany Heatley in Game 4 with a big hit in Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena, which Clowe appeared to take issue with at the end of the game. After the final horn sounded on Detroit's 4-3 win, Clowe got into a small scuffle near the Detroit bench with Justin Abdelkader.

Asked about it afterward, Clowe said he wished it had been Kronwall he'd run into at that point. Kronwal, however, had nothing but praise for Clowe's ability -- especially after racking up 4 assists in the past two games of this series.

"He's an honest player, works hard, plays hard," Kronwall said. "He's a good player."
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.10.2011 / 4:00 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Babcock wants more grind, less finesse, from Modano

Perhaps offering a clue into his logic of not playing star veteran forward Mike Modano for the first five games of this series, Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he wants the 40-year old Modano to play a simple game and grind out wins in puck battles.

Snazzy plays are not what interests Babcock – who is playing Modano in place of the injured Johan Franzen (ankle).

"He's got to skate, he's got to compete," Babcock said of Modano, who grew up in nearby Westland, Mich.,but played the first 20 years of his 21-year NHL career with the Dallas Stars organization. "It's racing out there. There's mistakes being made defensively by both teams that you don't see during the year, because the pace is so high. There's no room. If you think you're going to go out there and make a nice play, it's not going to happen. You've got to go out there and grind and compete and work hard. If you do that, the offense is going to come off the cycle, not off the rush. We've got to find a way to get him involved in that."
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Posted On Saturday, 05.07.2011 / 3:52 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Setoguchi discusses deleting his Twitter account

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- @seto1661 is no more.

Devin Setoguchi, the 24-year-old right wing of the San Jose Sharks, decided to delete his Twitter account following Friday night's loss to the Detroit Red Wings. It was heartbreaking news for many, as Setoguchi had nearly 30,000 followers.

Setoguchi discussed his decision to delete the account following Sharks practice Saturday.

"It's just that time of year. You need to focus," Setoguchi said. "You don't need to read other stuff or promote anything. I just decided to go off."

Setoguchi was asked if close friend Logan Couture, who is @LoganCouture on Twitter and has nearly 33,000 followers, can handle the social media tool by himself.

"Yeah, I'm sure he can," Setoguchi said with a laugh.

Setoguchi used his fame and the power of the Internet to help out a worthy cause. Once he reached 15,000 followers, he donated $5,000 to a cancer charity.

But those days are over. All he's concerned with is Sunday night's Game 5 against the Red Wings.

"It's great because I had like 30,000 people who got to live life or understand what I was doing," Setoguchi said. "That's the part that's the bad thing. I like to interact with fans, but it's that time of year. I'd rather just focus on what I need to do and not worry or read anything like that. It's just a personal thing. No one said anything that made me change my mind. I just decided it was over."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Saturday, 05.07.2011 / 3:51 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Babcock says things may get 'tighter and tighter'

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- "One game at a time" is a cliche that's so cliche that it's cliche to point out how cliche it is.

But when it comes to overcoming a 3-0 series deficit in the NHL, the only way it can happen is if the team doesn't start looking at the big picture.

The Red Wings took the first step toward erasing the 3-0 hole by winning 4-3 Friday against the Sharks in Game 4. Coach Mike Babcock knows there's still a long way to go, but as was evidenced in the Blackhawks' comeback against the Vancouver Canucks that reached an overtime in Game 7, the pressure will slowly start building for San Jose.

"They want to win a game and we want to win a game," Babcock said Saturday at Sharks Ice in San Jose. "Obviously they’re up 3-1. They’re in a different situation than our situation. But the reality is, as you know, as these things go on and a team can crawl back into it, things get tighter and tighter. That’s just the facts.’’

Game 5 will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. local time (8 ET) at HP Pavilion. Kris Draper believes this game will go a long way in deciding who will win the series.

"This is the big one. I think Game 5 is huge here," Draper said. "We’re coming into their building and they obviously want to end the series. We’re going to do everything we possibly can to force Game 6. We’re going to lay it all on the line.’’

Sharks coach Todd McLellan called Saturday an "easy day" and said he didn't have to explain what went wrong in Game 4, he showed them during a video session.

“We weren’t close enough. We weren’t good enough to win that game (Friday) and we probably weren’t good enough in Game 3 (Wednesday) as well,” McLellan said. “I thought the gap got a little wider in Game 4 and we have to close it.

“(The Wings) intensity level went up and we didn’t meet. They did a lot of good things in our zone, throwing pucks at the net and getting second opportunities. Those are things we were doing well in Game 1 and Game 2 and we’ve got to get back to do some of that ourselves.”

Interestingly enough, Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said sort of the same thing Friday, that his team needed to be better in Game 5 after squandering a three-goal lead in Game 4.

And of course, the only game that matters is Sunday's. After all, if a team is to come back from down 3-0 in a series, well...

"We knew what we had to do last night. We had to win," Lidstrom said. "It's going to be the same approach tomorrow night. We just have to come out and play solid and win another game. We can't worry about anything else but the game tomorrow."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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