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Game 2 Notebook: Cherry explains comment

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
Canadian icon Don Cherry and CBC analyst Ron MacLean do their pre-game show prior to Game 2 at Joe Louis Arena.
DETROIT – The day after Canadian hockey icon Don Cherry went on a national U.S. cable station and inadvertently used a derogatory name to refer to Hockeytown citizens he shifted into damage control.

“I can’t believe that they got so upset with redneck,” said Cherry, as he and broadcast partner Ron MacLean readied for Saturday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference finals at Joe Louis Arena.

During his widely successful ‘Coach’s Corner’ segment on CBC after the first period, Cherry explained himself further.
“I guess evidently they call rednecks down here – it doesn’t have a good connotation,” Cherry said. “Let me just say about a redneck. It’s when the Irish and the Scots come over, worked on construction bent over and their necks got red (from the sun). I’m a redneck. There’s nothing wrong with them at all. That’s what I meant. Lets go!”

MacLean said the Red Wings are certainly the stronger of the two remaining Western Conference teams.

“The question with Dallas was would they run out of gas after playing physical series with Anaheim and the Sharks,” MacLean said. “The question with the Red Wings has always been was with six guys with 200 games of playoff experience would they run out of gas? But they got out of a quick series against Colorado. This is the time when your test of will is pushed, and one game does not a series make.”

MacLean pointed to the Red Wings’ transition game as a primary reason for their success.

“I was telling Grapes that Bill Gadsby said he learned from the old guys, Clint Smith and these guys, move that puck in a hurry, and (Nicklas) Lidstrom and (Chris) Chelios and the Red Wings’ defense, nobody starts the offense better than the Red Wings,” MacLean said. “They’re really a joy to watch that way. The only difference between the Wings now and the old Wings is that their pedigree was they didn’t like the dipsy-doodler in the old, old days. It was like dead-ahead hockey. They didn’t pass and they wanted to shoot at every turn. Now you’ve got (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg, who are unbelievable stick-handlers. Even the other night I don’t think they were wasting a lot of chances.”

HELM’S FIRST:  Rookie center Darren Helm gave the Red Wings an early lead in Game 2, scoring his first career NHL goal six minutes into the first period. Jiri Hudler scooped up a Dallas turnover just outside the Stars’ zone, and cut to the center of the blue line. Hudler then found a streaking Helm, who came in along the left side and fired a wrist shot from just inside the left circle dot. The shot beat goalie Marty Turco to his high glove side, and may have been tipped by Sergei Zubov’s outstretched stick.

“I’ve been playing alright, getting some chances in the last games," Helm said. "Huds just made a great play and I was able to put it in, its exciting moment for me and I’m glad to contribute and score for the team tonight.”

Helm collected his first career NHL point in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against Nashville, when he assisted on Hudler’s third period goal.

In seven regular-season games, Helm had two penalty minutes and had a minus-two rating.

The 21-year-old played 67 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, posting 16 goals and 15 assists.

WITHOUT FRANZEN: It was announced just prior to the start of Game 2 that Johan Franzen, who is the league’s playoff scoring leader, maybe out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms.

The team reported that Franzen has been experiencing reoccurring headaches, which started early in the Western Conference semifinal series against Colorado.

In Franzen’s absence, veteran forward Darren McCarty was inserted into the lineup. 

EARLY DOMINANCE:  The Red Wings continued their impressive first period play on Saturday, jumping out to a 2-1 lead after one period. During the playoffs, the Red Wings have outscored opponents, 13-5, in the first period.

Detroit has been outscored once in the first, falling behind, 2-0, to Nashville in Game 4.

The Wings have dominated the shot totals, as well.  They out-shot Dallas, 12-4, in Saturday’s first period, the same shots totals as Game 1.

Fast starts have obviously been big for the Wings, who have a 10-2 playoff record this spring. They have out-shot Nashville, Colorado and Dallas by a combined 150-96, in the first.

TURCO’S SHAKES: Turco let in a quick goal in Game 2, and it looked like Game 1 all over again.  The Dallas veteran had uncharacteristically poor rebound control, most notably on a play in the first period, when Valtteri Filppula dumped in a weak wrist-shot.  Turco knocked the puck down and tried to sweep it away with one hand, but fanned on the puck. He was forced to fall on the puck and freeze it before the Wings moved in.

With the Red Wings camping out in front of the crease, most notably Tomas Holmstrom, whom the Stars claimed was in the blue paint of the crease often in Game 1, the Dallas coaching staff wanted Turco to be more assertive.

Unfortunately for Turco, his aggressiveness cost him a two-minute slashing minor when he whacked Holmstrom in the ankle. editor Bill Roose contributed to this report

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