April 2009

Wings to Face Ducks in Round Two

By Chris Turner, Zetterbergfan.com, April 29, 2009

 

After sweeping the Columbus Blue Jackets in four straight games in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Detroit Red Wings, led by leading goal-scorer Henrik Zetterberg, will face-off with the Anaheim Ducks in round two. Game 1 is Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

 

The Ducks won the Stanley Cup two years ago after eliminating the Wings in the Western Conference Finals.

 

Zetterberg hasn’t had a highly successful playoff career against Anaheim, with 3 goals, 4 assists, 6 penalty minutes, and a -5 (plus/minus) in ten games.

 

So far this post-season, Henrik has a team-leading 3 goals, 1 assist, and is +4 in 4 games.

 

Zetterberg Doing it again in the Playoffs

By Chris Turner, Zetterbergfan.com, April 22, 2009

 

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Henrik Zetterberg scored two goals, including an empty-netter, and was a +3 in the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 game 3 win over the Blue Jackets in Columbus last night.

 

Zetterberg’s first goal of the game happened shortly after Wings defenseman Brad Stuart destroyed Jackets forward R.J. Umberger with a devastating hip check. Driven to distraction, Columbus defenseman Mike Commodore was going out of his way for some retaliation, busy cross-checking Detroit forward Johan Franzen while he was down in the corner. While he was busy not defending in front of his net, Dan Cleary picked up the loose puck behind the goal and fed a nice pass to Zetterberg who was all alone in the slot. Henrik zipped a wrister into the net over the glove of rookie goalie Steve Mason at 13:55 in the 2nd period. It made it a 3-0 game, putting it out of reach for a struggling Columbus team.

 

If not for the suddenly solid play of Wings net-minder Chris Osgood, Zetterberg would be the early candidate for team MVP so far. Having scored another nice wrister top-shelf on Mason in game two, Z now leads the team with 3 goals, has an assist, and is a +4 in three playoff games in round one. Not unlike Osgood, Zetterberg is right back to playing the way he was in last year’s playoffs, despite a regular season were his statistics didn’t meet everyone’s expectations.

 

Last night’s tallies were Zetterberg’s 30th and 31st career playoff goals, making him just the 10th Red Wings all-time to score 30 or more playoff goals. He joins an impressive group of Steve Yzerman (70), Gordie Howe (67), Sergei Fedorov (50), Ted Lindsay (44), Nicklas Lidstrom (42), Slava Kozlov (42), Tomas Holmstrom (37, Alex Delvecchio (35), and Brendan Shanahan (33).

 

Hank now has 31 goals and 25 assists for 56 total points and is a +15 in 65 career playoff games. His two points last night moved him past teammate Pavel Datsyuk for 13th on Detroit’s All-time Playoff Scoring Leaders List.

 

A Cool Picture of Where it all Began for Wings' Zetterberg

By Helene St. James, Free Press, April 22, 2009

 

Here’s a picture where it all began for Red Wings star forward Henrik Zetterberg when he was just a little boy starting out on skates.

The Njurunda Sports Club last summer named the arena after the two boys from the little village in Sweden who have won the Stanley Cup, as Njurunda Hallen became Modin & Zetterberg Hallen.

Zetterberg, of course, won the Cup last year. Fredrik Modin was a winner with Tampa Bay in 2004. Modin is now with the Blue Jackets. Zetterberg has by far had the better series – he banked two goals in Game 3 to give the Wings the chance to sweep the series tomorrow night in Columbus.

Modin is six years older than Zetterberg, so the two didn’t cross paths much as kids. Now they meet up every summer back home.

“The arena is four minutes from my mom and dad’s house,” Zetterberg said. “Me and Freddie always go to the summer hockey school and skate with the kids. We’re there pretty often. I looked up to him growing up, didn’t know him that much.”

Modin said that, "I haven't spoken to him the whole series. We're not on the same team right now, so we'll figure that out later. That's just the way it is. We're concentrating on what we have to do."

 

By David Goricki, The Detroit News, April 18th, 2009

 

Henrik Zetterberg showed Saturday night why he's considered one of the premier all-around forwards in the NHL, helping the Red Wings dominate the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-0, in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series.

The Wings own a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 will be in Columbus on Tuesday.

Zetterberg scored the lone even-strength goal of the game, beating Steve Mason with a wrist shot from just inside the right circle with 3:30 left in the second period.

Zetterberg's goal was big, giving the Wings a commanding 3-0 lead and ending just about all hopes of a Blue Jackets comeback.

Why would a three-goal Wings lead dampen the Blue Jackets' hopes? Well, the Blue Jackets already were having trouble getting the puck past Chris Osgood. And, their 40-goal scorer Rick Nash had been bottled up by Zetterberg's line throughout the game: one shot through the first two periods. Nash finished with three shots in Game 2. He's scoreless in the series and has just seven shots and a minus-2 rating.

"We have to be aware when he's out there," said Zetterberg of Nash. "He's a fast guy, really skilled.

"I feel we're working good as a team right now. Everyone's contributing. When we get the chances we've been able to put goals away."

Osgood made 25 saves but walked away impressed with Zetterberg's game.

"Hank went head-to-head against some of the best wingers and best centers in the league last season," said Osgood of Zetterberg. "He knows how to make it tough on them and take away their time and space.

"Mule's (Zetterberg's linemate Johan Franzen) been awesome. Mule and Hank have been matched up against him (Nash) for most part in our rink. It was huge. They're leaning on him, making it tough, taking away his space."

When asked to comment on the play of Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who scored a power play goal, Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock simply said: "Their best players today were their best players. They were terrific and they made the difference."

 

We're Better at Cheating

By Ansar Khan, Mlive.com, April 18, 2009

 

The Red Wings laughed off Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock's claim that they cheat in the faceoff circle…

Henrik Zetterberg told the story of a book published by a linesman several years back that named a Red Wing as the best faceoff cheater in the league. He wouldn't name the player.

Kris Draper then admitted that former linesman Ray Scapinello once called him the biggest faceoff cheater he had ever seen.

Draper also was surprised that Zetterberg was aware of the book.

"I'm surprised he can read,'' Draper said. "Pavel (Datsyuk) probably read it to him.''

Asked how good a cheater he is on faceoffs, Zetterberg said, "Not as great a cheater as ... we have better ones out there.''

 

2008-09 SEASON IN REVIEW: Zetterberg has “Down Year” after Last Seasons Career Highs

By Chris Turner, Zetterbergfan.com, April 13th, 2008

 

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The Detroit Redwings finished the regular season on Sunday with a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, losing their last three games, going 3-6-1 in their final 10 games. Detroit finished with the 2nd seed in the Western Conference with a 51-21-10 record and 112 points for the season. They will face the 7th seeded Columbus Blue Jackets on April 16th in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

 

Prior to the season I predicted 58 regular season wins, 124 points, Presidents Trophy, defeating the San Jose Sharks in the Conference Finals, and going on to defeat the Montreal Canadians in six games to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Obviously, I slightly over-estimated the dominance of the Wings, but still like my Conference Finals pick. Now, I see the Wings up against Boston in the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

One of the Red Wings star forwards, Henrik Zetterberg, had a down year statistically, based on everyone’s (including my own) expectations after last seasons career highs (a team-leading 43 goals, 49 assists, 92 points, and a +30 in 75 games.)

 

Zetterberg set his sights pretty high prior to the start of the season, stating to the Swedish media that he would like to aim for Hakan Loobs mark of 50 goals, the most ever by a Swede. It wasn’t an outrageous goal, based on finishing fifth in the league last season with 43 goals and leading Detroit in goal scoring for the last two seasons.

However, netting only 31 total goals this year, Zetterberg ended up fourth on the team behind Marian Hossa (40), Johan Franzen (34), and Pavel Datsyuk (32) and tied with eight other players for just 27th in the league. Zetterberg did have a team-high 12 power-play goals (which is only good for a multi-player tie for 17th best in the NHL), and 309 total shots (5th in the league).

 

On a more positive note: with his 31 goals this season, Zetterberg has scored at least 30 goals a year for the past four seasons. He has now passed Mickey Redmond for 17th place on the Red Wing’s All-time goal-scoring leaders list.

 

While Henrik’s goal scoring luck wasn’t quite as good as last year, his playmaking ability did not decline much at all. He looked particularly good delivering a lot of outstanding passes and was able to get 42 assists (tied for 38th in the NHL), only seven less than last season. Henrik passed the 200 career assists milestone with his 20th assist this year.

 

Z hit two other major milestones this season, playing his 400th career game and also recording his 400th career point. Having played 432 regular season games in the NHL, Zetterberg now ranks 19th on Detroit’s All-time scoring leaders list with 405 points (183 goals and 222 assists). This year he passed Hall-of-Famer Igor Larionov.

 

Zetterberg's 73 total points ranked 28th in the league but his plus-minus of 13 was merely above average (67th in the league). It is the worst +/- of his career since he had just a +6 during his rookie year (2002-03).

 

Why? This season, it was painfully obvious that the Red Wings weren’t playing the tight checking, shot-limiting defensive games that got them through the Stanley Cup Finals last season. Particularly noticeable were defensemen committing horrible turnovers in front of mediocre goaltending. Strangely, it has really seemed to affect Zetterberg, a guy known for his two-way domination. He looked bad on +/- in a lot of box scores this season.

 

The addition of Marian Hossa, signed as free agent from the Penguins this off-season, replaced Zetterberg on Detroit’s top line with Datsyuk for most of the year, a move that is not only limiting Henrik’s ability to get as many points, but is also really hurting his defensive numbers.

Watching him closely, it’s clear that Hank hasn’t lost his superior defensive skills. He still skates aggressively, gets in good defensive positions, rarely takes lazy penalties, and fights for the puck along the boards. Simply put, this guy hasn’t stopped playing his heart out since he came into the league. The decline in his plus/minus is certainly a case of Z being the victim of circumstances and adjusting to different 2nd tier line-mates.

 

There is no doubt that being on the second line with numerous combinations of line-mates which have often included Valtteri Filppula (+9), Jiri Hudler (+7), Mikael Samuelsson (even), and Dan Cleary (even). Zetterberg has had no opportunity to develop chemistry with a set pair of wingers, which has got to affect defensive coverage. More-so than that, NOT playing on the top unit with Datsyuk (+34), Tomas Holmstrom (+18), and Norris Trophy winning defenseman and team captain Niklas Lidstrom (+31) is hurting Z statistically.

 

Some might argue that, in the past, Z was the beneficiary of being on a line with great players, which is true. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that despite Pavel Datsyuk being last season’s Selke award winner for the leagues best defensive forward, it is Zetterberg who is likely considered by most to be the best defensive forward in the team Need evidence?  Look no further than game situations: short-handed 5-on-3 penalty kills, key face-offs in their own zone, etc. Which forward does Detroit head coach Mike Babcock more-often-than-not put on the ice to defend against opponents top scoring lines? Henrik Zetterberg.

 

In six complete NHL seasons, Zetterberg has totals of +6, +15, +29, +26, +30, and +13. While his numbers are down this year, it’s hard to believe that Hank will remain that low for long. Even on the second line, he should be able to develop chemistry with two of the wingers and eventually get a higher plus/minus.

 

Another example of Zetterberg’s worth to the team is management’s position on getting him re-signed for 12 more years. And this January the deal was done! Henrik Zetterberg is a Detroit Red Wing for life. He proved his commitment once again, by signing a 12 year, 73 million dollar contract with the club. Hank stated, “I'm going to be here for the rest of my career and I'm looking forward to spending 12 more years here.”

 

You can’t give enough credit to Z for staying loyal to the team, easily taking about 3 million less per season than he could have made had he tested the free-agent market on July 1st. The same can be said for the Red Wings, locking up a franchise player and team leader for the rest of his career. #40 is under contract until the end of the 2020-21 season, when he will be 40 years old.

 

This deal shows Zetterberg’s worth to the franchise. It is the longest and largest contract ever awarded in team history. General Manager Ken Holland has gone on record stating that the Red Wings plan on making Zetterberg the team captain in the future when Lidstrom retires. Holland had stated every time he is asked that Zetterberg was his number one priority for contract extension. This was over re-signing Hossa or Franzen. Henrik had always said that he would like to spend his entire career in Detroit and would take much less money than he could have testing free-agency to do so.

 

Zetterberg came into the start of the season with no reports of him having any issues with his lower back or wrist tendonitis, which have both been chronic problems for the past couple of years. Henrik was able to remain relatively healthy missing two games with a sore groin and three games with unrelated back spasms. This should put some minds at ease when it comes to that long-term contract. If his ailments are a problem, he plays through them, which is a sign of true grit!

 

I think Zetterberg will step-it-up a notch in the playoffs again this year. I’m not sure we are going to see another Conn Smyth winning performance, I think you can expect a strong showing and some increased point production compared to the regular season.

 

Henrik Zetterberg, Red Wings donated 1,300 smoke detectors to Metro Detroit fire departments

By George James Malik, Mlive.com,  April 08, 2009

 

Red Wings Forward Distributes Smoke Detectors To Local Fire Departments

Detroit...Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg distributed more than 1,300 smoke detectors to local fire departments today at Joe Louis Arena. Zetterberg serves as the Red Wings spokesman for the team's annual smoke detector collection, which provides life-saving smoke detectors to low income families throughout Metro Detroit.

"I am happy to again be part of such an important and worthwhile program," Zetterberg said. "House fires are tragedies, but in many cases they can be prevented. My hope is that we can bring increased awareness to the need for everyone to have working smoke detectors installed in their homes."

After the team practice, Zetterberg met with representatives from Dearborn, City of Detroit, Independence Township, Taylor, Plymouth and Southfield fire departments as well as the Oakland County Sheriff's Department. The collected smoke detectors will be distributed to local residents unable to afford the devices for their own homes. The fire departments will assist in distributing the detectors in homes throughout the area.

"This is my third year participating in the Detroit Red Wings smoke detector collection program," said City of Southfield Fire Inspector and Investigator Michael Albo. "It amazes me to see a professional athlete like Henrik Zetterberg being so committed to the safety of his local community members year after year. I have personally seen the difference these smoke detectors can make and I am proud to associate the Southfield Fire Department with the Detroit Red Wings and Henrik Zetterberg once again."

Zetterberg, who is enjoying another stellar season on the ice, matched the total number of detectors collected at Red Wings games back in December with a personal donation. In 74 games this season, he has notched 30 goals and 40 assists for 70 points.

 

Scoring Change Credits Assist to Pavel Datsyuk, leaving him three points short of 100

By Ansar Khan, Mlive.com, April 07, 2009

 

An official scoring change after the Red Wings' 4-1 win in Buffalo Monday takes an assist away from Henrik Zetterberg on Nicklas Lidstrom's empty-net goal and credits it to Pavel Datsyuk, who now has 97 points, equaling his career-high total from last season.

According to John Hahn, Wings senior director of communications, after the game sheets were delivered to the dressing room, Zetterberg pointed out that it was Datsyuk who had the second assist on Lidstrom's goal.

The club confirmed this on video and asked the NHL to look at the play this morning. The league agreed and made the change.

 

Zetterbergfan’s take:

Talk about unselfish; in a year in which points haven’t come quite as easily as they have the past two seasons for Henrik Zetterberg, he recognizes that his teammate and friend has the possibility to accomplish something special, and comes forward to make sure Datsyuk gets credited with a point on that play.

 

Minus the assist, Zetterberg now has an even 30 goals and 40 assists in 74 games this season. He is well off of his career high of 43 goals and 49 assists from last year, but is close to his career averages.

 

Matthew McRae, Swan Valley

First Recipient of the Henrik Zetterberg Michigan High School Hockey Scholarship

The Saginaw News, April 01, 2009

 

Matthew McRae

Senior

Age 18 (today is his birthday)

Swan Valley

— Parents: Shawn and Mat McRae

— Sports achievements: Captain of the hockey and baseball teams, first recipient of the Henrik Zetterberg Michigan High School Hockey Scholarship, named All-Conference for hockey as a junior, and named Academic All-State as a senior.

— Extracurricular activities: Student Council, SADD, NHS

— Volunteer work: Special Olympics, Make a Difference Day, cleaned up youth baseball fields, served as an assistant coach for youth travel hockey, volunteers with Thomas Township Parks and Rec.

— Grade-point average: 4.0

— Future: McRae will attend Grand Valley State to study pre-med.

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