Datsyuk Zetterberg

Red Wings aren’t your typical underdogs


The Detroit Red Wings are 9/5 underdogs to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of their second-round series tonight at the United Center, according to online bookmaker Bovada.

That the ‘Hawks are the betting favorites is no surprise. They were the best team in the NHL during the regular season, they’ve got home-ice advantage, and they’ve won two straight since dropping Games 2, 3, and 4 of the series.

That said, there’s reason to believe Detroit could pull off the upset.

First of all, nobody can say the Wings stole any of their three victories, even though goalie Jimmy Howard did play extremely well in them.

Detroit also boasts plenty of big-game experience on its roster, led by three of the most accomplished playoff performers in the league, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Johan Franzen.

Among active NHLers, Zetterberg ranks fourth with 113 points in 122 postseason games; Datsyuk is eighth with 103 points in 139 games; and Franzen is 17th with 79 points in 101 games.

And then there’s the head coach, Mike Babcock. If anyone can get a team prepared for a big game, it’s Babcock, who in addition to leading the Wings to a Stanley Cup title in 2008 also coached Team Canada to Olympic gold in 2010.

Yes, Detroit has lost Game 7’s under Babcock — most notably in 2009 when it dropped Game 7 of the Cup finals to the Penguins.

But really, the pressure is on the Blackhawks tonight. If the Wings lose, oh well, a lot of people didn’t even expect them to make the playoffs in their first season without Nicklas Lidstrom.

“If I would have told our whole team before this series, if I would have told Detroit, Michigan before this series, that we were going to be playing Chicago in Game 7, I think everyone would have been pretty excited about that,” Babcock said Monday. “I love Game 7s. I’m excited about it. We’ve got a chance to push them out of the playoffs — should be a lot of fun.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.