Archive for April, 2009

Draper, Lilja Update

Sorry for the lack of posting around here lately. It’s been pretty busy at this end. I’ll have more on the Anaheim series tonight or tomorrow (cutting it close, I know).

For today, there’s the news on Lilja and Draper: Lils skated, but is no closer to returning, and Draper is out for Games 1 and 2 again. With that news, I’d be surprised to see Draper in this round. It seems like we may be headed toward the same scenario we saw last time: two games becoming three and four, or more.

I’m looking forward to the day when the news on what is keeping him out breaks. If it is an injury, the best guess seems to be ribs or possibly vertebrae. If it’s not, the summer will be interesting.

Khan: Datsyuk a Hart Finalist

Ansar Khan has the scoop ahead of the official announcement: Datsyuk is just the fourth Red Wing to be named a Hart Trophy Finalist (Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, and Sergei Fedorov are the others).

How cool would it be if he pulls off the trophy hat trick? Malkin and Ovechkin loom so large in the eyes of the media that it’s difficult seeing anyone but one of them win it, but maybe they split the vote. If not, though, even being named a finalist is a huge honor.

I’m actually interested in watching the Awards now.

Second Round Schedule

From NHL.com:

Friday, May 1   at Detroit, 7:00 p.m. 
Sunday, May 3 at Detroit, 2:00 p.m. 
Tuesday, May 5 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. 
Thursday, May 7 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.
*Sunday, May 10 at Detroit, 5:00 p.m. 
*Tuesday, May 12 at Anaheim, TBD
*Thursday, May 14 at Detroit, TBD 

*If necessary. 

It’s the Ducks

Update (12:48 PM): Bruce MacLeod reports that the series will kick off on Friday, with Game 2 coming Sunday. I’ll post the full schedule once it’s officially released. - Matt

This is when the playoffs start to become the playoffs: stressful. The Ducks are the best 8th seed in years, and will be a stiff test.

Bill’s outlook on the series is here.

More to come.

Zetterberg skips practice with flu, Draper still in holding pattern

Ansar Khan reports that Henrik Zetterberg skipped practice with the flu today, but it looks like he should be able to return tomorrow. No rush to get him back, thanks to some series going long.

He also notes that Kris Draper is still waiting on clearance from the team doctors. My guess is it’ll take a loss to get him back in the lineup, no matter when he’s cleared. It doesn’t seem likely they’ll mess with a winning combination, even if Draper could help out big time in the faceoff department.

Griffins Advance to Second Round

Apparently, the Griffins prefer to save their best games for the road. They won games 1 and 2 on the road in Hamilton, by scores of 4-3 and 3-1. They came home to Van Andel Arena with an unexpected two games to nothing lead, and we hoped they would finish it off at home. In their first game of these playoffs at home, the Griffins let in 5 goals, losing 5-4. They followed that up on Wednesday with a disappointing 4-3 loss in OT, having lost a 3-0 lead in the last ten minutes of the game. This was apparent inspiration for the Griffs, who came back big on Friday night. They won 4-1 after dominating almost the entire game and allowing only three shots in the third period. For the first time this season at home, they played a full sixty minutes.

Game five gave fans a lot of confidence as the Griffins headed to Hamilton to hopefully finish off the Bulldogs. I did not get to see the first two periods because of Internet problems, but did catch the third. The Bulldogs got on the board first, very early. Stewart, who had just returned to Hamilton on Friday from Montreal, scored just nine seconds into the game. That’s all they managed for the whole game. Griffins captain Darren Haydar scored at 5:25 on the powerplay. Justin Abdelkader scored the only goal of the second period, and Cory Emmerton put the game away 13:45 into the third. Ville Leino chipped in an empty netter with 38 seconds remaining. The Griffins won by a score of 4-1 again (the magical score for both the Wings and Griffins these playoffs).   The Griffins only had two shots in the third, scoring on both. The Bulldogs only managed three shots that period, and the final shot numbers were 23-18 in favor of Hamilton. The Griffins went 1-4 on the powerplay, while the Bulldogs went 0-2.

Justin Abdelkader was easily the MVP of the series for GR. He scored 6 goals, 8 points and was +4. He was also a huge energy player, replacing the hits that left with Darren Helm. He could have spent a little less time in the penalty box (15 minutes), but a lot of that time was from post-whislte fights. Leino was targeted by the Bulldogs all series, and finished with 12 points, including 3 goals. Jimmy Howard was apparently good in games 1 and 2, but looked shaky in games 3 and 4. He returned to form in game 5, though he wasn’t challenged much. I didn’t see a lot of him in game 6, so I can’t speak for where he’s at right now. Darren McCarty finished the series with 2 goals and 1 assist, while Aaron Downey had 1 assist and 13 penalty minutes.

The Griffins will now face the Manitoba Moose, who finished off the Toronto Marlies in six games. The series will start in Winnipeg, with games one and two on Friday and Saturday. The Griffins will again have a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule at home. Then the series shifts back to Manitoba on the following Sunday and Tuesday. Full schedules can be found here.

AWOL

Sorry for going AWOL over the past couple days. A combination of my sister’s college graduation yesterday, and family stuff both days, has had me away from home and away from the computer a lot.

Return to business as usual tomorrow.