Found March 27, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
Stanley_cup_finals_612c
DETROIT -- Although the Red Wings are getting players back from injury, there is no margin for error. With six games left for both the Wings and the Nashville Predators and the Predators coming to town Friday, there is just one point separating the teams. Detroit, currently fourth in the Western Conference, has 97 and Nashville has 96. Coach Mike Babcock said if goaltender Jimmy Howard (groin) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson do not play Wednesday in Columbus, he won't play them Friday at home against Nashville. "Kind of the way I look at it, if Howie and him can't go (Wednesday), they're not going against Nashville because to me you got to have played hockey, so I'm going with guys who have played," Babcock said. "I'll know more (Wednesday)." Johan Franzen, on the other hand, is set to return to the lineup after missing five games with back spasms. "Very happy," Franzen said. "It feels good to get some games, the last games of the season. Hopefully coming into the playoffs fresh and able to skate well." Babcock feels the remaining six games are just enough time for Franzen to get back in the swing of things. "It's good to have him back. Obviously he's a real good player for us," Babcock said. "I think it's real important, as you've seen with Pavel (Datsyuk) and Nick (Lidstrom), when you miss time, it doesn't matter how good a player you are it doesn't come back right away and it takes you come time to get your game back, so it's important he gets in and gets playing." Despite the return of Franzen, Babcock said Gustav Nyquist, who scored his first career goal Monday, will not return to Grand Rapids. Babcock has not decided who will sit Wednesday night. Even if he is not ready to go Wednesday and doesn't play Friday, Ericsson thinks he can be ready for postseason play. "I'm confident that I'll get a few games in (before playoffs)," Ericsson said. "Most of the things I'm doing out there I don't feel much." The Wings are being careful with Howard because he came back from the groin injury, seemed to be fine and then quickly aggravated it. "We've been a little more cautious with it, making sure the strength is really there," Howard said. "It's getting back to normal, continuing to strengthen it and feeling good back on the ice." Howard will travel to Columbus and participate in the morning skate. "Right now what I need the most is being out there and feeling the puck in practice," Howard said. "I had a good practice (Tuesday), looking forward to getting out there (Wednesday) morning." Not yet happy Hudler Although Jiri Hudler tied his career high Monday night with his 23rd goal of the season, he's not satisfied. "I wouldn't say happy," Hudler said. "We've got six games and then a long run in the playoffs, ask me later." Hudler has found a home on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula. Each one of those players has topped the 20-goal mark. "I think Huds has been excellent," Babcock said. "It took him a while to get going but he's been playing well. That's been a dominant, dominant line for us. He's been at the net for those guys, he's made plays for those guys. They've been great for us every night now for, I don't know, has it been three months? "Fil's emerged as a real top-six forward, a real threat. He's a guy who can shoot the puck way more than he does but he's a guy who's really emerged as a player. That gives them two guys on that line who are elite players and Huds has been a great complement to that group." Gearing up for the postseason You can see that Babcock has his players focused on the real prize at this point -- gearing up for the playoffs. He's pleased with what he's seen in the last two games, victories over Carolina and Columbus. "We're much quicker again, we've moving the puck better on the back end," Babcock said. "We look like a hockey team. Not in the third period last night but prior to that. Until the game got out of and I thought our guys were really organized and really playing fast. "That's what these last six games are about, we have to get all the details of our game at the highest possible level or else you go into the playoffs hoping instead of knowing." Although there's a mathematical chance the Wings could pass the St. Louis Blues, who have 103 points with six games left, it's unlikely. "It looks to me we're playing Nashville in the first round," Babcock said. "Two really good teams, not much to pick between us, so it's going to be a battle." The players say they're not concerned with winning or not winning the Central Division. "I don't think we're thinking about where we finish," Brad Stuart said. "We'd like to start at home, but we're more focused on feeling good about our game and the way we're playing and the things we're doing. If we do that that's going to be more important for us rather than what position we're in and who you're playing." Niklas Kronwall agreed that all the Wings need to do is focus on themselves at this point. "We have to focus on our own game, stick and pay attention to all the details," Kronwall said. "The details will change the game and a playoff series. Getting our game to where we want it to be from playing defense quick, be on the right side, getting through the neutral zone and just grinding on other team's defense."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Red Wings RW Franzen to return Wednesday vs. Blue Jackets

Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen will return to the lineup for Wednesday's game in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.Franzen has missed the last four games because of back spasms."It's good to have him back. Obviously he's a real good player for us," coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday. "This gives him six games to get his game in gear going into the...

Red Wings clinch playoff berth for 21st consecutive season

Tomas Holmstrom netted a pair of power-play tallies during a four-goal first period and Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi notched four assists apiece as host Detroit clinched a playoff berth for the 21st straight season with a 7-2 win over Columbus on Monday. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom, All-Star Pavel Datsyuk, Jiri Hudler and defenseman Brad Stuart scored and rookie Gustav...

Wings Talk About The Playoffs

Paul posting… from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front, In the time defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has been with the Red Wings’ organization there’s been one feeling he hasn’t had to deal with … what it’s like to not make the NHL playoffs. On Monday night, Detroit qualified for the postseason a franchise-record 21st consecutive, 20 of those season have been with Lidstrom...

How to Beat the Goalie: Edition 13 3/30

Welcome Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators fans to the signature story on Fang Faction, 'How to Beat the Goalie.' This is edition thirteen since this has started. It has been a good while since this story has been made to "scout" the other team, but that is stopping tonight.The Nashville Predators take on a injured, Detroit Red Wings team, Friday night. The...

The Health Of The Wings Is Slowly Improving

Paul here for George. from Ansar Khan of Mlive, The Detroit Red Wings will use the same lineup tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Joe Louis Arena than they did Saturday vs. Carolina. But several of their injured players are close to returning. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (fractured left wrist) said he hopes to play Wednesday at Columbus. Forward Johan Franzen (back...

Red Wings Recap 3.28.2012

When this team is on, they are amazing. When they are off, it's ugly. Not many good things to mention after a game like this, so I won't bother trying.Recap after the jump: Conklin made no big saves tonight and the defense in front of him hung him out to dry a few times. He got beat by a bad bounce, two breakaways and a 2 on 1. I'm pissed that the 2 on 1 goal went...

Red Wings Clinch Playoff Spot, Rout Blue Jackets

The Red Wings have clinched their 21st staright trip to the playoffs and they did so in dominating fashion, with a 7-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. At the final buzzer, 11 different Red Wings registered at least one point, while Henrik Zetterburg and Todd Bertuzzi lead the way four points each.Of the seven goals scored by the Wings, several demonstrated the  passing...

Red Wings Recap: 3.26.2012

That went well, I'd say. Detroit dominted early and often to win 7-2. Some amazing passes out there tonight and a milestone night for Nyquist.Jump for the recap:  By default, all of my statements tonight can be followed by "but it was Columbus."The power play was the best it has looked all year. Great passes by everyone, great looks at the net, some posts and some...

Holmstrom scores two in rout of Jackets

Tomas Holmstrom scored two goals and the Detroit Red Wings earned a postseason berth for a team-record 21st consecutive year with a 7-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night. Detroit broke its team record of 20 straight years of reaching the playoffs set from 1939-58. Detroit's playoff streak is the longest active run in professional sports. The NBA's San...

Give Burke More Time

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail, ...Actually, Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland, who most of you will agree knows a thing or two about winning a Stanley Cup, believes it should be 10 years before a general manager should be judged. His argument is that’s how long it takes to change the culture of an organization after you take over. General managers cannot simply show...

15th Anniversary: Avalanche/Red Wings brawl

On March 26, 1997, equipment littered the ice as the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche had one-on-one tea parties all over the Joe Louis Arena ice. It started with former Red Wings center Igor Larionov and former Avalanche winger Peter Forsberg getting physical in the corner. It continued with Darren McCarty pummeling a turtling Claude Lemieux in retaliation for Lemieux...

Mark Spizzirri: GAMEDAY: Blue Jackets vs. Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings continue their quest to obtain home-ice advantage during the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets this evening at the Joe Louis Arena. (7:30 pm ET, FS Detroit) Columbus comes into this home-and-home series with the Red Wings licking their wounds from an embarrassing 6-3 home-ice loss yesterday afternoon that...

GDT - Game #76:  Red Wings host Blue Jackets (7:30)

If DET (45-25-5) have any realistic aspirations of securing the 4th seed in the Western Conference, then sweeping the home and home with the BJ’s, starting tonight at the Joe, is imperative.  The Central Division standings today show the Wings trailing NSH by only 1 point, but by two regulation/overtime wins (NSH annihilated the ‘Hawks in Chicago last night, 6-1).  The Wings...

GDT - Game #77:  Red Wings at Blue Jackets (7:30)

DET (46-25-5), second in the Central today, have a golden opportunity to put some points up on NSH and catch them in the ROW tiebreaker column; thanks to the Blues 3-0 win over NSH last night.  Of course that means the Wings will actually have to win one on the road, something they have not managed to do at all this month, 0-4-2. Worse, they cannot score on the road either, 9 GF...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.