Babcock to Abdelkader: Stay out of the box
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had a talk with Justin Abdelkader about the young forwardís lack of discipline that is leading to penalties.
He expects the problem to be corrected immediately.
Abdelkader has been penalized in the third period in each of the past three games of the Western Conference semifinals against San Jose. His club has killed all three penalties.
The Red Wings have been short-handed five times in the series because of penalties by Abdelkader (the Sharks scored once). That includes a double-minor for high-sticking during overtime of Game 1, a penalty that expired 20 seconds before Benn Ferrieroís goal.
"I just told him, (three) games in a row now, ĎYouíve got to decide. Are you going to be one of those guys that their whole career takes a bad penalty at the wrong time?í " Babcock said. "Or are you going to look after it?
"Heís a great kid and a great teammate, and heís going to get it looked after."
Abdelkader said he just has to stay out of the box. He was called for cross-checking Joe Pavelski in Game 4, elbowing Dan Boyle in Game 5 and holding Boyle in Game 6. Strong penalty killing bailed him out.
The Sharks went 4-for-15 on the power play the first three games. They are 0-for-10 in the past three games, as the Red Wings are doing a better job of denying clean entries.
"Maybe itís not going my way, but at the same time, Iíve just got to be smart out there," Abdelkader said. "We (him and Boyle) were both fighting for position going for the puck, and the ref said I held him. I think they were looking to make a call at that point of the game, and Iíve got to know better. Canít give them an opportunity to make a call like that."
Abdelkader called it a long two minutes sitting in the box, "not a fun feeling."
"You donít want your team short-handed when youíre up like that in the third period," he said. "You think about it and hopefully learn from it and not do it again."
Franzen hoping to return for Game 7
Babcock said the status of forward Johan Franzen for Game 7 will be determined on Thursday. He sat out Game 6 after laboring the first five games of the series with a sore left ankle.
"Thatís the good thing about this flight. It will be about 5Ĺ hours. Iím sure if heís lobbying, weíll listen to that," Babcock said before boarding the team flight on Wednesday. "Weíll see if heís available, but weíll try to make the right decisions. The only way you know you made the right decision is when you win."
If Franzen canít play, Mike Modano likely will remain in the lineup. He made his series debut in Game 6.
"I thought it was good for him," Babcock said. "I thought he played well, he skated good and he was competitive."
Yzerman keeping tabs on Red Wings
Tampa Bay general manager and former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman has been closely watching the Detroit-San Jose series while waiting for his teamís Eastern Conference final series vs. Boston to begin.
"Itís very exciting. Iíve been watching and enjoying it," Yzerman said Wednesday during a teleconference. "I appreciate how hard they work, how skilled they are. Being down 3-0 to a very good San Jose team, to battle back just to 3-3, thereís so little margin for error in those three games."
He called it tremendous hockey.
"Itís been great for our league," Yzerman said. "Knowing the coaching staff, knowing the entire organization and the players, Iím very happy for them. Theyíve really competed hard. Every time somebody wants to write them off as the end of an era, or theyíre too old and thatís it, they just come back stronger than ever."
Recalling a comeback
The Red Wings never have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series, but came back from a 3-1 hole to beat the Minnesota North Stars in the first round in 1992.
It was Modanoís third season in the NHL with the North Stars. He recalled the atmosphere in the room.
"Well, youíre a little nervous because you know theyíre coming and their confidence is building," Modano said. "We knew at 3-1, we needed to play a spectacular, perfect game from start to finish. Otherwise, we were in trouble.
"Then ... bad break after bad break, and weíre just looking for something to put a tourniquet on a hemorrhage because it was coming. You could just feel it. It was just like an avalanche. Once they got going and their main guys started playing, we knew we were in trouble."
Odds and ends
-- Sharks forward Ryane Clowe did not skate on Wednesday, after missing Game 6 with an upper-body injury. Coach Todd McLellan said his status will be determined on Thursday.
-- Pavel Datsyuk took no faceoffs in Game 5 because of his sore wrist. He took four draws in Game 6. Asked if heíll take any in Game 7, he said, "We donít know yet. Weíll see (tonight)."
-- Todd Bertuzzi, on the teamís flight to San Jose Wednesday morning: "Itís the first time Iíve seen guys so excited about getting on a plane for seven hours."
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