Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images
Well, it’s been three days since we last blogged here and we still don’t know which team the Red Wings will face in the second round. Round 2 won’t start for Detroit until Thursday at the earliest. Since that question weighs heavily on many of our minds, we’re here to break down the possibilities.
To put it simply, the Detroit Red Wings (No. 2) will play either the Vancouver Canucks (No. 3) or the Anaheim Ducks (No. 8 ) in the Western Conference semifinals. The Canucks swept the St. Louis Blues and will have even more time off than the Wings. Anaheim leads San Jose 3-2 in the series with a chance to clinch at home tonight at 10:30 p.m. EDT. If you want to catch the game, it will be on Versus and CBC.
- Detroit will draw Vancouver if San Jose finds a way to come back from what was a 3-1 series deficit and advance to the next round. San Jose is the top seed in the West so the Sharks would play the lowest left seed, which would be the winner of the Chicago-Calgary series. The Blackhawks currently lead the series 3-2 with a chance to advance tonight on the road.
- The Red Wings will take on Anaheim if the Ducks can close out the opening series against San Jose. With the Sharks out, Detroit would become the highest seed left and earn the right to play the lowest seed available, which would be Anaheim.
Dave Dye of The Detroit News has a roundup of the media’s thoughts on which team would be the better second round opponent for the Wings. Obviously, the Wings aren’t going to admit which team they would prefer or not but either team will certainly be a challenge for Detroit.
Not only are both teams three time zones away and over 2,500 miles of travel each way, both squads are currently riding a hot goaltender. Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo had a 1.15 GAA and .962 save percentage against the Blues in the opening round. In Anaheim, rookie netminder Jonas Hiller has posted a 1.77 GAA and .953 save percentage in the postseason so far. Not to mention the defensive depth on the Ducks’ roster or the rested, offensive depth of the Canucks.
Either way, the Wings are content to just sit back and watch the Sharks-Ducks duke it out as long as needed as Dan Cleary told Ansar Khan of MLive.com.
“It’s a nice series to watch, let those guys beat up each other,” forward Dan Cleary said.
So who do you think the Wings will face? Which team do you want Detroit to draw?
Datsyuk 4 Lady Byng
The NHL named Pavel Datsyuk one of its three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which is given to a player who best exemplifies sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and a high level of play. With a nomination this season, Datsyuk could win his fourth straight Lady Byng. Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Martin St. Louis and New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Paris were also selected as finalists for the award.
Datsyuk finished the regular season with 22 penalty minutes, which gave him the lowest PIM total among the top 15 scorers in the NHL.
“Pavel plays within the rules of the game, but he plays hard. Pavel is physical when he needs to be,” [GM Ken] Holland said. “The Lady Byng shows the respect he gets from people. He’s not in the penalty box. He goes to all the hard areas. He takes hits, he dishes out hits.”
Bruce MacLeod of the Macomb Daily would like to see either Datsyuk or Calgary captain Jarome Iginla receive the award.
The player I’d like to mention is Jarome Iginla. I think he should be the poster child for a new attitude about the Lady Byng. Let’s not make it all about penalty minutes and let’s focus on sportmanship and gentlemanly conduct. The thing I like about Datsyuk winning the Byng is that he’s physical, hits people. I just think that outside of Detroit, people don’t realize that and are voting just on low penalty minutes and high performance.
I think players that hit like Datsyuk and especially Iginla, but have a high level of integrity and sportsmanship. I’m pulling for Datsyuk to win. But in the future, I’d like to see guys like Iginla be named as finalists — competitors with class.
The Beard is Back
The Wings have opened a new playoff beard contest for the second round. You can submit a photo of your playoff beard and be entered to win four tickets to a home game in Round 2.