Around the Rink – April 29th Edition

D064161021.JPGPhoto by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Now that we know who the Wings’ opponent is in the Western Conference semifinals as well as the schedule, today’s Around the Rink will take a look at how physical this matchup will likely be.

Round 2 Schedule

Last night, the NHL released the complete Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks schedule for Round 2. You can view it below:

Friday, May 1 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, TSN2
Sunday, May 3 at Detroit, 2:00 p.m. NBC, TSN
Tuesday, May 5 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. VERSUS, TSN, FSDetroit
Thursday, May 7 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
*Sunday, May 10 at Detroit, 5:00 p.m. TSN, FSDetroit
*Tuesday, May 12 at Anaheim, TBD VERSUS, TSN, FSDetroit
*Thursday, May 14 at Detroit, TBD VERSUS, TSN, FSDetroit

The Rivalry

In 2007, the Ducks eliminated the Wings en route to a Stanley Cup. Last year, Anaheim was eliminated before the two teams could meet up. This postseason, the Ducks-Wings rivalry will be renewed this Friday when they battle for the right to play in the Western Conference finals. Forward Kris Draper comments on the Wings’ history with the Ducks for the Detroit Free Press:

“They swept us a year after we won the Stanley Cup,” said Kris Draper. “That’s something you don’t forget, and then they beat us in a hard-fought series in which they beat us here in Game 5 in overtime in a game that could’ve given us a 3-2 series lead. But they beat us in six. And we made a furious comeback in that sixth game, but we couldn’t get it done.”

In this series, the more disciplined team will likely win as both teams have a potent power play, which could prove costly for the team that has to keep killing penalties. During the regular season, Detroit led the league with a 25.5% success rate with the man advantage with Anaheim with the fifth best at a 23.6% success rate. In the postseason, the Wings led the playoff teams with a 31.8% to Anaheim’s 21.7% success rate. As Ansar Khan of notes, that gives the Wings a slight advantage as the Ducks were the second-most penalized team during the regular season.

The Wings believe they can be physical during the play and then remain disciplined after the whistle blows, whereas the Ducks may be more prone to get in a scrum. Just because the Wings are known as a finesse team doesn’t mean they can’t play physical.

So, is Anaheim the most physical team left in the playoffs?

“I think we’re the most physical team out there,” Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said, and he didn’t smile, which means he meant it.

This is the game we always play, dissecting a myth the Wings are so sick of refuting, it takes raging discipline for them to keep from snapping.

Datsyuk nominated for Selke

After being nominated for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, center Pavel Datsyuk has a chance to win both the Lady Byng and the Selke Trophy for a consecutive year. If he does, he will become the first player in NHL history to do so. The Selke Trophy is given to the best defensive forward. Not only did Datsyuk register an impressive 97 points, but he did so with an impressive knack for defense.

It was observing captain Nicklas Lidstrom and his defensive prowess that improved his two-way play according to Ansar Khan.

“More times than not (the focus) is on a highlight-reel goal instead of a back-check, lifting the stick and taking the puck away,” teammate Kirk Maltby said. “There’s certain things Pavel does during the course of a game or a practice that no matter how long you play with him, he never ceases to amaze you.”

Datsyuk finished the regular season with 89 takeaways (second in NHL) and with a plus-34 rating (third). He also won 56% of the faceoffs he took.

This entry was posted in 2009 NHL Playoffs, Around the Rink, Detroit Red Wings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Around the Rink – April 29th Edition

  1. Nagel says:

    Hey, Red Wings you guys got this just stay focused and play your hearts out!!!

    Focus, Concentration, Execution!

    3 things you guys need 2 win the Stanley cup!!


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