Game 3 Wings vs Hawks Game Day Updates

Jonathan Daniel

Who's in, who's out, who's up, who's down, and who's playing with who.

The Dirt
  • No lineup changes from game 2 for the Wings tonight. Players and lines will remain the same.
  • Drew Miller said his hand was a little achy after game 2, but he felt fine and is good to go. He has some extra padding in his glove to help minimize the impact of anything that might hit it.
  • On the Blackhawks front, Stalberg will be back in the lineup and Carcillo will sit out. This moves Bolland up to 2C from 3C, Shaw moves from 3RW to 3C, Stalberg slots in at 3RW, Handzus moves to 4C with Frolik and Kruger as wingers. (Full lineup chart below).
  • If you'd like something to read while you wait for this never ending work day to end, so we can get on with what's REALLY important.. Mike Babcock did an interview with NHL writer Corey Masisak and it's a good read. It also validates much of what I, and many of you, have been saying throughout the season in regards to the team's identity and struggles. The full article is here.

A few highlights include:

"I don't know what Chicago started and Anaheim started -- I think it was like 20-2 or something ridiculous," Babcock said Sunday at Joe Louis Arena. "A good month for us was one over [.500]. We tried to do that each month and keep hanging in there to give us a chance to get better. Our guys have gotten better. You have to give them credit.

"We've had great growth from within -- I think the most since I've been in the National Hockey League, for sure. That might just be because we've got a different type of team. We've got a whole bunch of kids, so there is a chance for growth."

"That Andersson line has been key for us," Babcock said. "We got worked in the 3-hole for the first two months and we couldn't handle it."

Goalie Jimmy Howard said, "That third line has been really good for us, definitely taking some pressure off our top two lines. That's what you need in the playoffs. … [Andersson] is the worker. [Nyquist] has the skill. And Brunner is a natural goal scorer."

"The growth of Smith and Kindl has been huge for us," Babcock said. "Ericsson has gotten much better. We seem to have people rounded into playing in spots that suit them better.

"It took us a long time to figure out where everybody fit best. There were lots of changes, new guys that we brought in that didn't fit the way we thought they were, or were better than we thought they were. We've just kind of watched it happen."

Kronwall said:

"Going down the stretch, when we really had to win to make the playoffs in the first case -- that is when I really felt like the team was getting together and pulling together and all working the same direction," Kronwall said. "I think that's something we've learned over the latter part of the season -- how we have to play to have success. I think that's proven in the playoffs, too. It is pretty easy to see what we're doing right when we win and what we're not doing right when we don't."

Babcock finished with one of his analogies:

"I've said it before, but when I used to coach junior hockey I'd always say that a playoff game development-wise to a regular-season game is like two-to-one," he said. "In the playoffs, the players get better and better. I think with our kids, that is what's happening right now. We're playing a good team right now in Chicago. They know how to play, so it pushes you.

"I thought our guys played real well [Saturday]. … For the first while we weren't good enough to play that way. I agree, you start believing that it is the blue print after you have some success. In order to have some success, you have to be good enough to do it. We've worked on it since Day One. We were a work in progress, because we didn't know what we were going to be early."

  • Damien Brunner bet against the Swedes... never bet against the Swedes. Brunner bet some of the Swedes on the team, that Switzerland would beat Sweden in the IIHF World Championship. Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson both have brothers on the Swedish Championship team. Brunner will have to pay for his indiscretions.

"Nothing really bothers him," said captain Henrik Zetterberg, of the Red Wings’ goaltender. "If he lets in a goal, he just flushes it and moves on. He's a fierce competitor. It's tough to score on him in practice. He gets mad if you score on him in practice. So it's a challenge for us to do that, so it's a consistent battle."

"Howie, he’s been stellar for us for three years now," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "He just seems to get better and better. He’s been stealing games for us all season long and in the playoffs. He’s got confidence in a good way. He knows he’s a great goalie and obviously, believing in himself helps him prepare for each night and he goes out there and proves it each night."

  • Pre game comments from Babcock:

Regarding Abdelkader:

As you go higher and higher in hockey, there's less space and you have to make plays in tighter quarters. Last year when I watched Abby play in the World Championship, I thought he played great in the middle. When he played for us and we moved him up in the regular season, during the NHL, I didn't think he could get the puck in and get the puck out and make the plays he could make in the middle. So when I saw him there, I thought jeeze, we'll give him another go and it just so happened with the injuries we had, we needed some meat in our top group, so we moved him there and he's been great.

Regarding our rookies:

When we signed (Brunner) last summer we didn't know what he was going to do, Nyquist, I thought, made our team last year in training camp and then we didn't have room for him and it took him a while to get back this year. When I went down to watch Andy, every time this year I thought he was great; everyone always told me he was too slow, he looks great to me. Kindl's obviously found some confidence and come along way and Smith has all the skills. He's ultra competitive, sometimes he gets in his own way a little bit, but that's all part of growing up. We talked about Jonathan Ericsson earlier, it took him a number of years to become what's he's capable of being. Only stars step right in and grab the league. The rest of us have to work at it and get better each and every day, and then the superstars work as hard as the regular guys, they just have that much passion and they become Zetterberg and Datstyuk.

A reporter asked Babcock a couple questions that sounded like there was some hidden meaning behind them, and Babcock's body language and responses leave me curious.

Q: Do you teach your young players any differently this year? Are you any more positive with them, do more teaching with them, considering the roster you have?

Perception and reality are sometimes different things. Young guys need a lot of work, you spend a lot of time with them, you share as much as you can with them, ideally they're coachable and you can help them. What we do with our veterans here is still try to help them but we try not to have as many meetings, give them more space, and when we need to show them something we show them something; but when we don't have to, we leave them alone. I think we're positive with all our people. I think the word "positive" and "accountability" and "feedback" sometimes are in how it's received, not in how it's given. To me, the whole key in life is, when someone has an issue with me, I like them to tell me so I can fix it and I can get better at it. Some people when you give them feedback, they take that in a negative way; whereas I think when people are trying to help you, that's a positive thing. Take that for whatever, write whatever you want, you can just put my name on it and say I quoted that.

Follow up from the same reporter:

Q: The more positive perception isn't mine, it's your players. That's what they told me. Do you think that's because they're older? More mature?

Steve Yzerman told me one time that when Scotty coached him here, he hardly ever talked to him; then when he was working with me for two years, Scotty was talking to players all the time. Scotty Bowman loved the players, absolutely loved them, but he had a job to do. I'm here to tell you Paul McLean loves the players, Mike Babcock loves the players. Sometimes when you're pushing people who don't want to be pushed, sometimes they don't like it. I'm here to tell you, when you look at the group of coaches that are still playing right now, they're pushing their people. That's just the reality. In my world, that's positive.

One final thought: Marrian Hossa was asked (again) how he felt about being boo'd in Detroit, and said this:

“There’s going to be boos, you know, that’s how it is but it was funny because Patrick Kane told me he hopes he can experience something like that (the massive boos) once.”

Lineup

Forwards

Johan Franzen

Pavel Datsyuk

Justin Abdelkader

Valtteri Filppula

Henrik Zetterberg

Daniel Cleary

Gustav Nyquist

Joakim Andersson

Damien Brunner

Drew Miller

Cory Emmerton

Patrick Eaves

Defense

Niklas Kronwall

Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey

Brendan Smith

Jakub Kindl

Carlo Colaiacovo

Goalies

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Jordan Pearce

Healthy Scratches

Todd Bertuzzi

Jordin Tootoo

Ian White

Injured

Danny DeKeyser (Broken Thumb)- Out for the season

Darren Helm (Back)- Out for the season

Mikael Samuelsson (sore boob)

Blackhawks Lineup

Forwards

Brandon Saad

Jonathan Toews

Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp

Dave Bolland

Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell

Andrew Shaw

Viktor Stalberg

Michael Frolik

Michal Handzus

Marcus Kruger

Defense

Duncan Keith

Niklas Hjalmarsson

Brent Seabrook

Nick Leddy

Michal Rozsival

Johnny Oduya

Goalies

Corey Crawford

Ray Emery

Henrik Karlsson

LET'S GO RED WINGS!!!

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