Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Wings put Modano in for injured Franzen

Categories: Detroit Red Wings, SJS vs. DET, San Jose Sharks

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Mike Modano is a veteran of 175 NHL playoff games (Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Mike Modano is a veteran of 175 NHL playoff games (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Mike Modano got the call from Mike Babcock on Monday evening, and while excited, admitted he endured a night of tossing and turning over the thought that he'd be inserted into the Detroit Red Wings' lineup for Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET).

San Jose has a significant injury of its own, as coach Todd McLellan announced that forward Ryan Clowe won't play in Game 6 due to an upper-body injury.

"I'm a tad excited to say the least," said Modano, who, along with Boston's Mark Recchi, is the active Stanley Cup playoff goal-scoring leader with 58.

Despite that, he's seen action in just one playoff game this spring, Detroit's series-clinching Game 4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in the opening round.

Down 3-2 in the series to the Sharks, Modano understands the pressure situation facing his team and felt the nerves on the eve of the contest, even though he's a veteran of 175 Stanley Cup games.

"It was a tough last night sleeping and knowing I was playing," he said. "You kind of have a restless sleep, but then again, you have time to think about what you want to do as a player, what's expected of you."

Babcock, the Wings' head coach, indicated Modano would start on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom.

"It's a Game 6, an elimination game," Modano said. "It's going to be very revved up and the intensity level playing here with the fans the way they are, it will be pretty fun to be a part of it."

Mule penned

Forward Johan Franzen's sprained left ankle finally became too much for him to overcome, leading to his scratch from the Detroit lineup in favour of Modano.

"Mule's not playing tonight," Babcock said. "Mule's out. He's basically been out all series."

Modano expressed admiration for Franzen's determination to try and play through the pain.

"This time of the year, for Mule to do what he did, it's pretty honourable," Modano said. "Everybody's trying to suck it up for your teammates to win and eventually move on from series to series. He did what he could, he played hard, but I'm just excited to get an opportunity and I'm hoping to make the most of it."

More moves?

As to other lineup changes, Babcock admitted he was uncertain. "I'm not 100 per cent sure," he said. "How's that?"

Defenceman Brian Rafalski didn't partake in the morning skate, but that's been a common practice during the playoffs. "I don't know if you've noticed, but Raffi doesn't like skating in the morning," Babcock said. "You get over 35, you can do what you want."

Injuries? What injuries?


Holmstrom feigned disbelief when someone asked him if he was impressed with Datsyuk's ability to shine in this series while playing with an injured right wrist.

"Everybody's fresh," Holmstrom claimed. "Fresh like a daisy. There's no problems."

Regardless, he did go on to express his admiration for Datsyuk's performance, including a three-assist effort in Detroit's 4-3 Game 5 win.

"I've played with him a long time," Holmstrom said. "You think you've seen it all, then he takes it up another notch."

He remembers

The Wings are tying to come back from a 3-0 series deficit, something that's never been accomplished in franchise history. But, as a rookie back in the spring of 1992, Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom was part of a Detroit club that rallied from a 3-1 series disadvantage to defeat the Minnesota North Stars in seven games.

It was the first Stanley Cup series of Lidstrom's career.

"I remember Sergei [Fedorov] scored in overtime in [a 1-0 win in Game 6] of that series, but what I remember most was that we were just taking it a shift at a time, and that's what we're trying to do here, too," Lidstrom said. "We're just getting ready for the next period and the next shift. You can't look too far ahead and we've been able to do that so far."