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When necessary, the Wings will fight back

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Todd Bertuzzi tangled with Shea Weber early in Game 2, retaliating for the defenseman's treatment of Henrik Zetterberg at the end of Game 1. (Photo by Getty Images)
DETROIT – The Red Wings have led the league with the fewest fighting majors in each season since the NHL lockout, which isn’t much of a surprise since the team was assembled for speed and puck-possession, not fisticuffs.


But emotions are heightened in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and before Friday’s Game 2 in Nashville, the Wings had 10 fights in the last 12 postseason series.

“We're built different than lots of teams,” admitted coach Mike Babcock, who was asked if he expected his team to retaliate against Shea Weber for Wednesday’s end-of-game incident when the Predators’ captain grabbed Henrik Zetterberg by the back of the helmet and slammed him face-first into the glass.

Weber’s actions also left Zetterberg’s helmet cracked in two places.

While fighting isn’t necessarily a characteristic of the Detroit organization, Todd Bertuzzi wasn’t going to stand idly by and allow Weber to get away with his reckless indiscretion. On his first shift, Bertuzzi dished out some of his own hockey justice, zeroing in on Weber at the start of Friday’s game at Bridgestone Arena.  

“I think it's an important part of hockey, standing up,” Babcock said. “I just thought that the incident the other night wasn't part of hockey. I haven't seen it since junior hockey. I thought it was unacceptable and I think sometimes when things don't get looked after (by the league) you have to look after it yourself. And I didn't think things were looked after at all.”

Weber received a roughing minor at the end of Wednesday’s series opener, which the Predators won, 3-2. He also received a $2,500 fine, which the league said, is the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Clearly not wanting to discuss his role as Wings’ sheriff, Bertuzzi summed up his actions as “Something you gotta do. You have to stick-up for your teammates and do stuff like that.”

However, the fight seemed to give the Wings a spark, as they built a 2-0 lead before the first intermission, and Zetterberg said it sent a message.

“It was nice of Bert going out,” he said. “It was a good start to the game, the crowd got going, we got going. You get fired up. You get a little momentum. It’s easier for us to get going.”

Now the series is tied and the table it set for Game 3, which is Sunday at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, but Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom doesn’t expect any carryover.

 “I think it was taken care of early on and we showed that we didn't accept that and moved on from there,” Lidstrom said. “Bert took care of it on the first shift and we just went out and won a game last night.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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