Post game comments from players and coaches
In the first period Chicago had 15 shots, but I don't think either team got anything done around the net. Our third and fourth lines were good; their first and second lines probably carried more of the play in the first. I thought we were better than them in the second and then in the third we were trying to protect so much instead of playing, we got on our heels and they took it to us. Howie had to make a huge save on Sharp when he fell down, the Kane goal was a big one, and then we were able to get one to get us back to two to give us a little more comfort. Patty Eaves and those guys are real physical which is great with Miller and Emmerton, and there's a real good skill set in Brunner, Nyquist, and Andersson
They had three pushes in the second period. They had two powerplays and a broken stick. That was their push. I thought we were better than them in the second period. They're a really good team, they're going to carry play at times and we're a good team and we're going to carry play at times. It was a good win for our team. I didn't think we played the full 60 as much as we had the other night because we got careful at the end instead of just going after them like we did in their building.
As the year has gone on, we've gotten better. You've got to work hard enough and play good enough to earn some confidence in yourself and I think our group has done that. I've talked a lot about how we were getting better even when we weren't winning on a regular basis, and then we started to win. We've got real good leadership in Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Kronwall, Cleary, Mule and those guys and we've got a bunch of kids who work hard. Things are going in the right direction for us thus far in the series, but let's be honest, we haven't done anything yet.
Our Powerplay hasn't been good enough. We've got to fix that for sure. Once we got up by two and didn't put Brunner on the ice for the powerplay on the back, I thought we got real careful. As a coach, sometimes you send the message to your team that it's time to get careful when you don't put that guy who plays on the powerplay out all the time and I that happened a bit here tonight.
What does Babcock think of the hit on Franzen?
It should have been a two minute penalty. Those referees are trying to get to the Stanley Cup Final like the rest of us. It's fast, I go in and watch a replay and say "oh, that's a penalty", they don't get to watch the replay. *shrugs*
Babcock thinks that Nyquist kid is pretty good at hockey. When asked about Nyquist's speed, he said
I don't even know how much speed he has, he's quick though. He's smart and what I like about him is he knows how to play without the puck so he gets good chances with it. He's real good at hanging onto the puck and using someone's push from behind to give him momentum, he's like Zetterberg in that way. He can really hang on to it, control it, make good plays and see what's going on. Him and Brunner again today... They're (Brunner and Nyquist) very important players for us.
We did what we wanted to do on the road, got a split and came back here 1-1. We can enjoy this here tonight but come tomorrow morning you've got to shift your mind and get ready for Thursday night.
Hard work is paying off for us. We're going out there and guys are taking the body, paying the price, blocking shots. We're playing with a lot of heart right now.
"At the end, you could definitely see some of the frustration coming out,'' Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. "They were doing things after whistles. That's a good thing for us. If we can get them frustrated, we want to do that all day to them.''
"Every night we have certain guys who play their role and try to get out there and play the body and create the energy,'' forward Drew Miller said. "That's kind of how we play. We want to hit and it's playoff time so we want to try to ramp that up.''
"That was probably the fastest playoff game I've ever been a part of,'' Howard said. "I expect it just to get faster Thursday night. They're going to step it up. We need to come even harder. We're going to have to continue to play a great team game.''
We did everything we could to get the momentum back and we did. We hit the wall when they disallowed the goal. We'r2-2 we had the momentum, we had everything going, we had some hits, some offensive zone time; coming back 2-0 that quickly you're in a great spot, then they scored. We didn't let up though.
I disagree with the (no goal) call. He didn't touch the goalie.
We had more play in their end, more predictability in our game, we didn't' get slowed down in certain areas; but we're going to have to be better than we were today, but we were certainly a lot better today.
Via the Freep, Toews said
"I feel like we played some really good hockey for three periods and just didn't score enough goals to win," Chicago's Jonathan Toews said. "Call goes against us and they come back to score to make it a two goal game and we were fighting all game to try and get control and get ahead in the game, we just never could."
- That monster penalty kill in the second period was amazing. Drew Miller (3:15), Patrick Eaves (2:15), Jonathan Ericsson(3:15), and Niklas Kronwall (2:46) killed off the Hawks Powerplay that saw a ton of pressure, even after the PP was done. Drew Miller was credited with 3 blocked shots on that PK (thought it sure seemed like more), which was more than any other player's total for the whole game.
I'd like to fogret that one. That was a long one. When you get stuck like that on the penalty kill there, it's tough to get off. Everyone was blocking shots and trying to get the puck out, and Jimmy made some big saves for us. You try to survive it, get through it, and get off the ice as fast as you can.
You've got to put your head down and catch your breath a little bit. It was a tough one, I didn't know it was that long, It's going to bring my shift length average up I think. In the playoffs, you've got to have contribution by everyone, tonight it was Gus and myself and our lines. That's big and gives the big boys some breathing room.
and Dana Wakiji tweeted that Eaves said
I was very aware and so were my lungs, and my legs were very aware.
and MLive brings us the following from Patty and Jimmy
"We were pretty tired. They had a lot of skill on the ice and had the puck. But we weathered the storm there.''
"That could have been a turning point if they would have scored on that power play and extended end-zone shift,'' Eaves said. "But with Howie back there, if we could keep them to the outside and knock any rebounds away, he's going to do a good job for us."
"We were all just thinking 'get a whistle,' '' goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "With it being so hot outside and cramming 20,000-plus in here, it was warm out on the ice. I think we were all sucking wind there for a couple of minutes.''
"That's one of those shifts you don't want to have but you try to get through it," Miller said. "I felt like my legs were a lot better tonight. You're on the penalty killing trying to kill it off and you get stuck out there. From there it's just desperation, you try and get through it and get the puck out."
"I was pretty tired there at the end. Luckily I think it was, I don't know how you say his name, (Niklas) Hjalmarsson, thank God he missed the net."
"Three mintues?" Ericsson asked. "That must have been some sort of record. I was kind of standing still there in front of the net for a little while so I was able to catch some big breaths there."
"I wasn't as tired after three minutes as I was after two I think."
"I think all the bag skates he's been doing with one hand, it's been paying off," joked captain Henrik Zetterberg. "He's really good on PK for us. He skates well. He does all the little things right. You know that he will do everything right and it's nice to see that they scored a goal today, that line.
Ericsson and Kronwall each played just over 5 1/2 minutes shorthanded in game 3, out of a total 8 minutes shorthanded.
- Speaking of Riggy, Bill Roose and Helen St. James both wrote about Ericsson and how he's blossomed in his role.
From St. James
"I want to be a guy that the team can count on to shut down their top guy," Ericsson said. "It's a fun challenge every night."
Ericsson spent some three straight minutes on the ice at one point Monday after a penalty kill led to continued Chicago dominance with the puck. "I was more tired after a minute-and-a-half, two minutes," Ericsson said, smiling. "Then I kind of recharged my batteries. I was standing still for about 15 seconds and I could get some deep breaths and get going again. I could have stayed out a little bit longer."
"You're always going to have ups and downs in your career and I wouldn't want to take anything back, because you learn a lot from that," Ericsson said. "You learn a lot about yourself and how to handle situations. And for that, that helps me now. It's a process you need to learn, unless you're Nick Lidstrom and never do anything wrong."
From Bill Roose
Ericsson has been the Wings’ top penalty-killer, averaging a team-high 3:20 of shorthanded ice-time in these playoffs. He also leads the defense with 22 hits.
"I like every part of the game but I take a lot of pride in being on the penalty kill," Ericsson said. "I want to make a difference and I want to be a guy that they count on when we’re up with a few minutes to go in the game. I want to be an important guy for the team. That’s what I value the most."
It’s Ericsson’s consistency, especially in the playoffs, that his teammates appreciate.
"Nick is gone and boom, the next thing you know you put Big E in the top pair and look what he’s done. He’s been unbelievable," defenseman Jakub Kindl said. "He’s progressing and getting better every year; He’s playing top minutes, he’s playing against top lines every night and he’s been solid against their forwards every night. I like the way he plays, he’s big, solid, strong, and he makes the good pass too."
Kronwall even called Ericsson his ideal partner and said
"Just the responsibilities that have come with that role, I think he’s been great," Kronwall said. "Everybody in this organization knew that he could do it, and had been knowing it for a few years, ever since he came in and played that great series, I think it was against Columbus, his first playoff. I think he’s really come into his own."
- It's no secret that Chicago has modeled their game after the Wings. The two teams play a similar style by design, and it's part of what makes this matchup so great and entertaining to watch. In games two and three the Red Wings frustrated the Hawks by beating them at their own game. Listening to the Hawks players and coaches talk about what they need to do to improve sounds eerily like what we've heard from the Wings this season. Mark Lazerus of the Sun Times brings us some insight into what the Hawks are saying. Sound familiar?
"They’re forechecking well," Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "We just have to make quicker decisions back there and make good first passes. That’s what we’ve been doing all year long. That’s been a big key to our success during the regular season, so that’s something that we would like to find our way back to, and it’s just so much easier if you make a first good pass in your own end. You’re usually out of the zone pretty quick and you can spend more time in their end."
"It seems like they are playing well in front of the net," Michal Rozsival said. "They’re boxing out our forwards. They [force] a lot of shots from the outside. They’re blocking shots in front of the net. They are doing a good job and they are getting the bounces right now."
"They do an extremely great job in the neutral zone," Marian Hossa said. "We have to find a way to get a first pass from our zone to the players with the speed. We have to get open for our D, and find the puck they give us. We’ve been a puck-control team the whole season and right now it seems like we’re just trying to fire the puck away from our zone. We have to go back to our game."
- It seems strange to hear the Blackhawks talk about having to keep up with the Wings' physicality, because in the last few years the Wings haven't been an overly physical team. But hearing about how the Hawks are frustrated is sweet sustenance for my soul.
"I don’t think it was frustration," defenseman Michal Rozsival said. "I think it’s just more showing that we are going to be there, take everything and battle. We are there, and [are] going to be there and we are going to be fighting."
"It’s a little bit of anger," Rozsival said. "We don’t want to get behind 2-1 against an opponent like this. Everybody is kind of not happy with the way we’ve played. I think that’s a good thing. It can give us a boost of energy. Playing with a little bit of anger going forward, it’s not a bad thing. I think it’s going to help us in Game 4."
"We need to be a little more on the edge," Hossa said. "Like in the last game, I thought we had great intensity, lots of energy. But you don’t want to go over the board and take bad penalties, because you know they’ve got really good players on the power play. You have to be smart about it."
- Quenneville wants his players to play angry and more aggressive, but also clarifies that it doesn't give them then the go ahead to be undisciplined. I get the impression that he's frustrated and a little angry as well. He also has apparently had enough of being asked about Crawford, because when asked about it again in his post game presser, he simply said "we're not talking about that right now". We mind fucked the Ducks hard, but I didn't expect to be this far into Chicago's heads this early. I'm not getting cocky, but it does kind of make me a little giddy.
- I know this is a long post already, but Mike Babcock was on "TSN's Hockey Central at Noon" today and said some things I find interesting.
On the Current playoff schedule and extra time off:
I was a big fan of (the extra day off) when we had just finished the Anaheim series, we really needed an extra day off. Now that we're going, I wish we played every other day, I like that best because I don't like to practice; I just like to pre-game skate and keep going. As a guy living in the US, there's way more hockey on tv now than there ever was; this NBC thing seems to be working good. Players down here can watch it and they get to watch all the series by doing it the way they're doing it, so I guess that's a positive thing.
On injuries and rookies:
When you have a back end like we did to start the year with no training camp and so much change, you're in trouble. We always thought Darren Helm was a huge part of our hockey club and we haven't had him two years in a row in the playoffs. It took us a while to find Andersson , we knew he was there but we didn't think he was ready. We tried a bunch of different things, but when Andersson came in he gave us stability on three lines. You guys were talking about Boston and their depth, I'm here to tell you, Playoff time, when you have no depth, you can't even coach because the other guy is running your bench and you're in survival mode. Andersson gave us a real good third opportunity, then with Corey Emmerton now with Miller and Eaves... We got a big goal out of them the other night and our third line got a goal. That's what you need at playoff time.
Our back end has really grown, we got a kid named DeKeyser, he played great for us and really got us going and then the other guys have taken over. The growth of Kindl ... Kindl had no confidence. He's one of those guys that took him a long time to adjust to being a pro and he seems to have found his confidence. Ericsson always played in our five-hole and now he's in our two-hole. Smith is a kid who's vibrating all the time, he's got so much energy and so much skill, we just have to get him settled down. He's played 40 or so games in the National league and he's out there playing against Sharp and Kane, so the matchups are hard for those guys, yet they've done a good job. Obviously our leadership with Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall has been fantastic.
Is Babcock having fun coaching more this year than in years past?
The hardest guy to coach is the NHL is a veteran player who was a star, whose skills are dwindling. The easiest guy to coach is an everydayer like Datsyuk and Zetterberg, or Lidstrom and Kronwall. The most fun to coach is the kids. They're just full of energy and they're all over the place, but they don't mind feedback; they're dying to get better, they want you to help them. We've got a lot of that this year, so it's a lot of fun to be around.
We try hard. Even when we're bad, we try hard. We don't make a ton of mistakes out of lack of try. We don't execute sometimes, sometimes we're not going the right direction, but we try.
What does Babcock think of Howard?
When I first arrived here, I don't want to say we didn't need goaltending, but we didn't need the type of goaltending we need now. Howie's had to be at another level for us to contend. This year without training camp, I thought it was real hard on goaltenders to be consistent. Howie played good, then didn't play as good, then he really got on a roll. His contract didn't make any difference. When you see all over the league, guys sign and then disappear for a while, it didn't make any difference in his life, he's a mature man away from the rink.
He's a real leader for us. He's demanding of the guys, competes every single day in practice, he's always trying to get better, and he's one of those guys who takes responsibility. That's what I really like about him. When things don't go right, the first guy he's looking at is himself. When you include him in our leadership group with Kronwall, Datsyuk and Zetterberg, it's a pretty solid group of guys that are everydayers. That's the easiest thing. When you have guys who bring it every day, it makes the people around them better and you have a way better chance to coach your team.
Getting into your opponents head and knocking him off his game:
At playoff time, the thing I like are the individual matchups. It comes back to playing road hockey 1-1 in your neighborhood like you did when you were a kid. There's only one puck, there's no space and you've got to be a special kind of competitor to be good. There's a lot of good players in the league that are good in the regular season that can't play at playoff time. Then there's guys that are just ok and are really good at playoff time and the most competitive people thrive on this. That's why it's so much fun. That's why Zetterberg... Zetterberg is a better player, I mean he's great during the regular season, but he's better at playoff time just because he's that competitive and he enjoys that little battle that's the game within the game that's going on each and every night. That's the fun part about it and it's about wearing the other guy out if you possibly can. They're trying to wear us out and we're trying to wear them out and in the end, usually someone gives in and we just hope it's not us.
Babcock says this team is the most physical team since the '08 Championship team.
We're sure trying to (be more physical). When we had Dallas Drake... The last time we won the cup we were very physical. Dallas Drake would play seven minutes a night and he'd play five in the first period, and they knew he was there, let me tell ya; guys were getting tattooed all over. We had guys on that team, McCarty and Downey, we had some guys that would look after you. We didn't' have that for a while and now we've got some hungry people and they're getting out there and getting some skin. I think that's important, especially when you've got a mobile D like Chicago does. If you don't finish the check, he's jumping past you and he's in the rush. They're in the rush enough, even though we're finishing checks, so we've got to stay on the high side of the guy and finish your check.
Has Babcock talked to his team about keeping their composure?
We've talked a ton about that. I find it's way easier to keep your composure on the road. In your own building, the crowd's wound up, everyone's going, and sometimes you get over revved; that does you no good. You've got to be in control. That doesn't mean you're not allowed to have fun. Out there having fun, being greasy, being on top of people, finishing your checks, it's way better to be a giver than a receiver. .. It's way more fun, so you might as well be doing that and we have some guys who can do it now. The Andersson kid, he's not real physical, but he's 220 pounds, Abby's a kid who's real physical and he's 220 pounds. Being heavy helps and those kids can skate and they get there on time, so it's harder on their D.
Does Babcock's personality and coaching style change?
What I try to do each and every year is try to make sure we're evolving and getting better. Some people say you mellow with age, I don't know about that one. It's about finding a way for your team to play and to coach that group. That took us twenty games this year just to even find a way for this group to be successful. Tom Renney's been a real big addition to our staff. People think of him as a technical guy, but that's not what Tom's brought here at all. Tom's brought a lot of fun and he can skate the crap out of the extras and they don't get mad at him. He knows how to talk to a guy and they don't seem to get mad at him. He's been around a long time so when he tells somebody something, they're not saying "ok, what do you know". I think he's helped us that way as well. Bill Peters was here last year and he's done an unbelievable job with our penalty kill and he's one of these guys that it wouldn't matter if he was in the oil field or selling ice somewhere; he could just flat out sell it. Your coaching staff makes the real difference, and when dealing with your guys, that has to change from player to player and year to year because people are different.
Babcock speaks highly of Holland and the Wings management.
If you're me and you're looking at Kenny Holland today, you're pretty proud. Our leadership here and Mr. Illich treats us great and he's real demanding. Kenny Holland is the same. People can talk about our organization and we're falling off the face of the Earth...Well if you're Kenny Holland, our minor league team is going to the final four, your NHL team is in the Stanley Cup final eight. They do a lot of good things here and it starts at the top, and the way Mr. Illich treats people and demands excellence out of people, and Kenny Holland's no different.
Thanks to Coey Masisak of NHL.com, Jimmy Howard takes the cake today when talking about Brunner:
"I really don't think he has a clue what's going on," Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. "I don't think he understands the realm of things, of what could possibly happen here as the playoffs unfold. He's in a good mood every single day."
"He comes to the rink with a smile on his face, and when he's out there he's doing the right things," Howard said. "He's going to the net. When you're out there and competing like he's competing, pucks go in for you."
I won't make this post anymore tl:dr that it already is, but you can watch Babcock's post practice presser here, and I recommend it. He talks about Cleary, Eaves, Home ice, special teams, rookies, and more.