By: Jeff Riger
Monday afternoon the Red Wings were back on the ice and video room in preparation for game four of their first round series with Nashville. The fans, media and players that have watched and participated in this series seem to all have a different reason as to why Detroit trails two games to one, but mine is easy, PUCK LUCK! Sure the Preds have had sensational goaltending and the Wings have been in the penalty box way too much and have failed to start on time as well. However through 3 games, it flat out seems, at least to me that Nashville has just been more fortunate! What do you think?
Before you answer, read on, as below are some answers to questions that all of Metro Detroit seems to be asking after another 3-2 hockey game on Sunday afternoon.
Head coach Mike Babcock was questioned about forward Valteri Filppula numerous times throughout his media session on Monday morning. Filppula has failed to be a plus player in 3 games and has registered just 6 shots while playing with Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler the majority of the time. “He does what he thinks is right” Babcock said. “He’s been a good player all year long; he has to be a good player for us right now. The whole key at this time of year is real simple, if you are on the outside you are not going to score, if you are on the inside you’re going to score. When you pass up a chance to shoot the puck when are you getting your next chance to shoot the puck?”
There has been a lot of chatter about goalie Jimmy Howard, a guy that many fans blame for the game 3 loss. Howard was unable to stop a 3 on 1 break in the 3rd period which resulted in a Sergei Kostitsyn goal that turned out to be the game winner. Howard was asked at practice if opposing goalie Pekka Rinne has outplayed him and if so, by how much? “I don’t know, that’s for you guys to discuss, the chat rooms and on the radio.” Howard said. “I just need to go out there and give the guys another game. Just give them a chance, as a goalie that is all you are looking to do, just give your team a chance.”
As much as the Wings want to move on from the end of game 1, an incident where defenseman Shea Weber smashed Zetterberg’s head against a turnbuckle, the media will not let them. Captain Nick Lidstrom was asked after the morning skate if he believes Weber is a dirty player? Lidstrom replied “I think it was a dirty think that he did to Hank, but besides that I don’t know if he’s a dirty player? Not from my recollection….no.”
Lidstrom also talked about the multitude of penalties the Wings have been called for in just three games of this series. In case you are wondering, there have been a total of 39 penalties called, 21 have been on Detroit. “It happens in all playoff series one way or the other” said Lidstrom. “That is where you try to keep your cool and not do it. We have seen in other series too where a lot of stuff has been going on where you kind of get sucked into things. Teams try to do that in the playoffs, they try to take advantage of anything they can and especially get a power play goal or get somebody in the box.”
Of course a story of this year’s playoffs has been penalties and the number of fights, dirty hits and suspensions that have gone along with it. Babcock was asked if this year’s postseason is more violent than in years past? “No” the head coach said. “I just think it’s a bunch of guys having some good times. I like watching it, looks like fun to me.”
Watch the Lidstrom and Howard interviews below and then you tell me why this series through 3 games has turned out so far the way it has?