Apr. 29 :: The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room

After the first off-season of the summer, the Red Wings finally get back to business — and, like Malik says, this time it’s personal. They’ll have a chance to redeem themselves against the team that bounced them from the post-season last go-around, and they’re not sliding into this one after a seven-game series…after mustering up just enough to make the playoffs. They come in to Round 2 the only team that swept their opponent in the opening round — an opponent some “experts” thought would be victorious.

And now to avenge the sting of a year ago. The San Jose Sharks. A team full of assholes and crybabies. A coach split off from the braintrust. A shade of teal that should never be allowed near men. There’s nothing to like about the Sharks. You know it. I know it. And you can bet your ass the Red Wings know it.

That said, they’re damn good. They’re not the pastry puffs that were the Phoenix Coyotes. There’s a ton of firepower in St. Joe’s, and if the Wings’ penalty kill is as poor as it was in the first round, it’ll be deuces in four games. Here’s hoping the hours spent working on the special teams pay off and we send another warm weather city into an early summer. No doubt about it — the Sharks are a good hockey club. But in their series against the Kings (the depleted Kings, no less), they proved they were beatable and a good club like the Red Wings can exploit the same weaknesses the Kings found: soft goals, poor impulse control, and frequent inability to close the deal.

There have been a handful of changes for both teams, but the cores remain the same. Coach Babcock thinks the Wings are a better team than they were a year ago. Are you going to call him a liar?

10:30am / 1:30pm Eastern :: Sharks practice
11:30am / 2:30pm Eastern :: Red Wings practice
7:00pm Local / Eastern :: Washington vs. Tampa Bay, Game 1
7:00pm / 10:00pm Eastern :: GAME 1 at HP PAVILLION

Game 1 will be broadcast on Versus and TSN, however the local Detroit market can opt for the Fox Sports Detroit coverage.

The Red Wings will be hosting a viewing party at Hamlin Pub in Shelby Township. Appearances by Red Wings alumni and the chance to win autographed memorabilia accompany food and drink specials.

November 30th @ San Jose :: Red Wings 5-3 :: Jimmy Howard :: Cleary (11), Zetterberg (8, 9), Datsyuk (8), Eaves (4)
December 6th vs. San Jose :: Sharks 5-2 :: Jimmy Howard :: Franzen (12), Holmstrom (8)
February 22nd vs. San Jose :: Sharks 4-3 :: Jimmy Howard :: Cleary (20, 21), Zetterberg (18)
March 3rd @ San Jose :: Sharks 3-1 :: Jimmy Howard :: Holmstrom (14)

Just like Round 1, the Wings will face a foe from last season’s playoffs. Hopefully this one goes better than last year, when the Sharks dispatched the Winged Wheelers in five.  Just like 2010, this series begins on April 29th.
Game 1 :: Sharks 4-3
Game 2 :: Sharks 4-3
Game 3 :: Sharks 4-3
Game 4 :: Red Wings 7-1
Game 5 :: Sharks 2-1

There are no former Wings in San Jose. Jamal Mayers played his college hockey at Western Michigan, and that’s as close as you’re going to get, as far as players go. Head Coach Todd McLellan was Mike Babcock’s assistant for many years, dating back to the Anaheim Duck years.

Brad Stuart was drafted 3rd overall by the Sharks in 1998. He jumped straight from juniors to the big club just before his 19th birthday and played 377 games for the Sharks before being traded to Boston for Jumbo Joe. He bounced around a bit — from Boston to Calgary to Los Angeles — before landing in Detroit, who was looking for a physical defenseman to replace the forced-to-retire Jiri Fischer, who was taken twenty-two picks after Stuart.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic. They call him Pickles.

Sharks forward/high board competitor Devin Setoguchi :: @seto1661
Sharks forward/rookie douchebag Logan Couture :: @logancouture
Sharks defenseman/go-to goat Dan Boyle :: @danboyle22

By special request, the TPL Glossary is ready to jailsex your eyes.
Franzen — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Hudler — Zetterberg — Filppula
Cleary — Abdelkader — Bertuzzi
Miller — Helm — Eaves

Lidstrom — Stuart
Ericsson — Rafalski
Salei — Kronwall


Chris Osgood [groin]
Mike Modano [healthy]
Jakub Kindl [healthy]
Kris Draper [healthy]
ACES: Jordan Pearce, Doug Janik, Brian Lashoff, Derek Meech, Brendan Smith, Cory Emmerton, Ilari Filppula, Jan Mursak, Tomas Tatar

Patrick Marleau — Joe Thornton — Devin Setoguchi
Dany Heatley — Logan Couture — Ryane Clowe
Torrey Mitchell — Joe Pavelski — Kyle Wellwood
Ben Eager — Scott Nichol — Jamal Mayers

Douglas Murray — Dan Boyle
Jason Demers — Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Ian White — Niclas Wallin

Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki

SPARE PARTS: Andrew Desjardins, Benn Ferriero, Brandon Mashinter, John McCarthy, Jamie McGinn, Tommy Wingels, Justin Braun, Kent Huskins, Thomas Greiss

The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
Disch: Darren “Whose Butt Did You Kiss to Get in Here, Anyway?” Helm // Jonathan “The List is Long But Distinguished” Ericsson // Darren “Yeah, Well So is My Johnson” Helm
Petrella: Darren “This is Ghost Rider Requesting a Flyby” Helm
Hollis: Jonathan “And You Asshole, You’re Lucky to Be Here!” Ericsson
*Now it’s up to you! Think up your best names and throw them in the comments — the best one will be shared for all to enjoy on the TPL Facebook Page. The best of the best will be pitted against one another at season’s end, and the winner takes home a TPL Shirt of their choice.*

Disch: Red Wings in 7. The Wings get blown out in one game. We don’t win any games by more than 2. Niemi gets chased by Game 3.
Petrella: Red Wings in 7. Henrik Zetterberg makes up for lost time and nets one in San Jose. Detroit wrestles away home ice.
Hollis: **strap in, I just copy and pasted what he had to say:**

I’ve had a hard-on for San Jose since I saw them whoop the Kings in San Jose last month. They are dangerous. They are scary. They could very well win this series, and I think they are the deeper team. These two teams have become full blown rivals and this series should take it to the next level…. which is why I’m picking the Wings in 6. I’ve never seen this team lose to a rival in subsequent playoff years, harkening back to the days when it was Detroit and Colorado going toe-to-toe. Detroit atones this year and wraps it up at home in front of the fans who haven’t seen a playoff series clinched in the Joe since the WCF against Chicago in ’09.

Other predictions: Zetterberg is held off the scoresheet until Game 3, Howard tosses one shutout, Joe Pavelski has at least one 2 goal game and Darren Helm gets the OT winner in Game 6.

:: Star center Henrik Zetterberg missed all four first round games, but he’s ready to rock for Round 2. With the firepower the Sharks can send out in waves, we’ll need all hands on deck — particularly the fantastic two-way guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Z.
:: Johan Franzen missed Game 4 after taking a vicious header earlier in the series, but — like Hank — he’s good to go for tonight’s tilt. The Mule doesn’t sit. The Mule scores playoff goals.
:: It’s been nine days since the last Red Wings game. On one hand, you wonder if too much time off will be detrimental, particularly when the team is rolling. On the other hand, it’s nice to rest up and get healthy, like Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen had the opportunity to do. Flipping through the Detroit News photo gallery earlier this week, it looked like the players were all loose, having a few chuckles and goofing around at practice. I think that’s a great sign, showing that they aren’t overly worried about facing the team that bounced them last year.
:: Remember when the Sharks were given twice as many power plays as the Red Wings last season? That was fun.
:: Our boys Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are getting a lot of press lately, from all over the hockey world, for their outstanding grinding and playmaking ability. It’s nice to see them get the attention they deserve, and we certainly hope the two youngsters keep playing like they were shot out of a cannon.
:: Delayed congratulations to Pavel Datsyuk on his Selke nomination; and Nicklas Lidstrom on his Norris and Lady Byng nominations. More things to be proud of.