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Emptying The Notebook

by Brian Hedger
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:

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."


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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