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Early start won't affect Wings in Game 2

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – The Red Wings will be looking for a quick start Saturday in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. In Game 1, the Coyotes took an early lead and the Wings spent the majority of the period on the penalty-kill.

Getting ready for Game 2 will be slightly different for the members of the Wings, as they will play a rare Saturday matinee game that starts at 1 p.m. EDT. That means no morning skate, and a drastically altered game-day routine.

When reporters asked him about his plans for Saturday, Wings forward Jiri Hudler wouldn’t divulge much information. “Get sleep tonight, obviously going to eat, then I’ll get ready,” he said with a smile.

When he was asked about what his pre-game meal would consist of, Hudler declined to answer. “I can’t comment, sorry,” he said.

However, other members of the Wings were more open about their pre-game plans. Johan Franzen said that while he hasn’t decided on what his pre-game meal will be (“I’ll decide in the morning”), he has faith in his wife’s cooking abilities. And Niklas Kronwall expects to have spaghetti with meat sauce, some oatmeal, and maybe some eggs. The Wings’ defenseman doesn’t expect the changes to affect the Wings’ play.

“You have to get up at a different hour, at a certain time,” Kronwall said. “You have to think a little bit more about when to eat and what to do at a certain hour, a little bit more than on a regular day when everything’s a routine … but it takes two seconds to figure that out.”

The Wings finished with a 4-1-0 record in the five games that started before 5 p.m. during the regular-season. However, they posted a .500 record in home afternoon games, losing to Chicago on Jan. 22, but beating Boston on Feb. 13.

Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, a veteran of 19 postseasons, said that once the players step on the ice, they will be ready to play.

“Once you get going, it’s not hard at all. It’s just a matter of getting going early, having that mindset of being ready when the puck is dropped and getting your legs going, especially in warm-ups, get your legs going in warm-ups and you’re ready to go when the puck is dropped.”

Goalie Jimmy Howard said he isn’t too concerned about the time change.

“The only real difference is that we’re not coming down here and skating in the morning,” he said. “The biggest difference is going out in warm-ups and getting a good warm-ups in.”

Coach Mike Babcock said that losing the morning skate isn’t a problem, and said that there are other benefits of starting earlier in the day.

“I like this a lot,” Babcock said. “You can come down here, you don’t have the morning skate, which I think is a waste of time at this time of the year, you get ready for the game, and plus, we’re traveling to Phoenix, I think it sets you up for a Game 3 better, we get out there right after the game, and for me, it’s a real good situation for us.”

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