DETROIT – Tomas Holmstrom would rather go on a soup diet than stop crashing NHL creases.
He doesn’t appear to need to drop any pounds. There is little fat on the six-foot, 203-pound Swede’s body, but the feisty forward will do anything to help the Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup. If it means a smaller derriere, so be it.
It was his behind that referee Kelly Sutherland decided was in the crease in Game 4 of the Western Conference final on Wednesday, thus the disallowed first goal in what turned out to be a 3-1 Dallas victory.
Asked after practice Friday if halting an 0-for-13 power-play skid will be vital for the Wings in Game 5 on Saturday afternoon (1:30 p.m. ET), Holmstrom replied that, yes, that will be important.
“And I have to lose some weight,” he added with a grin. “It’s Campbell’s soup from now on.”
He was kidding.
He’s not kidding, however, about his intention to continue playing the way he’s always played, and that involves being in goalies’ faces.
“I won’t change anything,” he said. “I have to go to the net.
“I did the right thing (Wednesday). It was the wrong call. It would have been a big goal for us, and maybe it cost us the game, but it’s over with now and we move forward.”
Others crash creases. Holmstrom is not unique in that regard. It’s just that he does it more forcefully and consistently than anybody else, and he hopes that doesn’t mean he’s being singled out.
“Sometimes it feels like that, but I hope not,” he said.
He tries as best he can to stay off the blue ice.
“It’s not that easy,” he said. “You get pushed in.
“Defencemen can do more than I can do around the net. I get pushed in, and then it’s my fault I’m in the crease? Goalies are pretty good, too, in faking when they get hit.”
Disputed goals concerning crease incursions should be part of the league’s video review system, Holmstrom said.
“Goalies have to be protected. You can’t run the goalie. I fight for my spot on the ice. Sometimes you’re in the crease and sometimes you’re outside. The ref, if he’s not sure, why not go upstairs and make the right call? Why not? They check everything else.”
He was asked if he would consider moving, say, six inches further from crease edges to negate the possibility of disputed calls.
“Stuff happens so fast out there,” he responded. “You have pucks coming 100 miles an hour.
“You’ve got guys who want to hit you, guys who want to push you into the crease. You try to do a good screen or tip. It’s not just one thing you have to concentrate on. Sure, I’ve got to know where the crease is, and the other night I was outside the crease.”
So, we’ll ask again: why not move six inches further out?
“I’ll shoot pucks at you and we’ll see if you know where the crease is,” he said. “It’s not that easy.”
Now that the Red Wings have had their reality check, they intend to finish off the visiting Stars. They are 7-0 in the playoffs at Joe Louis Arena. Including the regular season, they are 10-0 since a 4-3 overtime loss to St. Louis back on March 28.
“When the puck is dropped, we’re going to be full-out,” said Holmstrom. “We want to finish them off as soon as we can. Otherwise, we’d be stupid.”
Turco continues to search for his first career NHL win at Joe Louis Arena. He’s 0-9-2.
“We always knew if we played the way we can we would be able to beat them,” he said of the Game 4 triumph.
He’ll be well rested.
“I did absolutely nothing,” he said of getting a day off Thursday. “I laid around, got a massage and rested up.
“It’s all about laying it on the line in Game 5. We’re going to have to pick up some moxie to get this done.”
Turco’s teammates would love to win one for their goalie so he can finally put the winless streak in Detroit behind him.
“The good thing about sports is you always have a chance to redeem yourself,” centre Mike Modano said. “(Detroit) has been his demon the last little while and he has another opportunity to erase that.”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock says he and his players know they can play better than they did Wednesday.
“We have to put them on their heels,” said defenceman Chris Chelios. “We have to put pressure on them.
“That’s when we’re at our best. Our mentality should be: if we’re playing our best, it’s going to be tough for any team to beat us.”