Articles (and video) from practice: the 34-game push

Updated substantially with text at 6:07 PM:

The Red Wings practiced at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday, returning from the All-Star Break to prepare for the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.

After practice, coach Jeff Blashill suggested that all of Trevor Daley, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm may return against the Sharks, and that Petr Mrazek would start for the Wings. If Daley, Abdelkader and Helm return, Dominic Turgeon and/or David Booth may be heading to Grand Rapids.

We begin our survey of the post-practice articles with a Twitter video, posted by the Red Wings, of Jimmy Howard speaking with the media:

Anthony Mantha also spoke with the media…

Fox 2 also posted a video of coach Blashill’s post-practice remarks:

The message being sent to the media: the Wings believe that their 34 remaining games can constitute a real playoff push if the team play “elite” hockey.

Here’s the Wings’ Blashill video:

Update: MLive’s Ansar Khan posted a clip of Blashill’s comments…

Update #2: WXYZ’s Brad Galli posted a video of Blashill’s comments as well:

Update #2: Here’s the Free Press’s Helene St. James’ video, which includes Gustav Nyquist and coach Blashill:

 

Update #3: In text form, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James

The Wings held an afternoon practice on Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena, their first gathering after four days off. They trail the Eastern Conference wildcard race by 10 points with only 34 games to atone. That the Wings should be able to go on a run starting Wednesday against San Jose (8 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit) seems incredulous given a 19-21-8 record through 48 games, but team personnel strike the only note acceptable.

“We know we can do it,” Gustav Nyquist said. “Probably a lot of you guys don’t think that we can make the playoffs. We put ourselves in a little bit of a hole, but we know we can win some games and go on a run here, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.

“If you ask any guy in this room, I think you’d get the same answer from all of us, and that is that we still believe we can do it. We’re not going to lay down and just give up. We got ourselves in a little bit of a hole but let’s dig ourselves out of it.”

Entering Wednesday, the Wings were also 15 points out of third place in the Atlantic Division. And this even as the Wings have played well through the first half but haven’t once won more than four games in a row. Now comes a schedule that shows 20 games on the road, including two five-game trips.

Hence the Wings look for inspiration from the 2015-16 Philadelphia Flyers, who went on an 18-7-5 run and made the playoffs; to the 2014-15 Minnesota Wild, which went on a 28-9-3 run and reached the playoffs; to the 2014-15 Ottawa Senators, who went on a 23-4-4 run and made the playoffs.

“The past hasn’t predicted a run, that’s why all of you and pretty much everybody in the hockey world would bet against us right now,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I get that. I understand the past says that we haven’t gone on a run. Where do you get confidence from that? One would be history – I don’t know where Ottawa’s run came from that year, I don’t know where Philly’s run came from a couple years ago, but all of a sudden they got hot and they couldn’t lose.

“I know we have the players to do it. I know that we’ve built as a team. I think we play good hockey almost every single night. We just need to get that little fraction better on a night-by-night basis, gain that confidence and go. I understand why people wouldn’t believe me. I have no problem with that. I don’t care what anybody else thinks. I care what the group in this room thinks.  And in the end it doesn’t really matter what any of think, it matters what we do.”

MLive’s Ansar Khan

The Senators went 21-3-3 in their final 27 games in 2014-15 to reach the playoffs. The same season, the Minnesota Wild went 26-12-7 to close out. The Flyers went 28-9-3 in their final 40 games in 2015-16 to reach the postseason.

They talked about their task at a team meeting.

“Basically, what was discussed is we have 34 games left to do something special here,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “Teams have done it before, there’s no reason why we can’t do it. We just got to find a way to get on a roll and that starts with not getting too far ahead of ourselves, just starting with the Sharks.”

Petr Mrazek will start in goal Wednesday against San Jose at Little Caesars Arena (8 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit). Blashill said he expects to have injured players Trevor Daley, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm back in the lineup.

“You’ve got to go on a run right now,” Daley said. “There’s still a lot of games left with a lot of points out there. It’s one game, one shift, one period at a time, but we realize how desperate this is right now.

“It is frustrating, because most nights I feel like we did enough to win, but you just don’t come out with those points. We put ourselves in a tough position, but we could take ourselves out of it, too.”

And the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:

“The past hasn’t predicted a run (to come),” Blashill said. “That’s why all of you and pretty much all the hockey world would bet against us. I get that. I understand it. The past says we haven’t gone on a run.

“Where do you get that confidence from? I don’t know where Ottawa’s run came from (in 2014-15, the Senators went 23-4-4 to make the playoffs) that year. I’m sure they didn’t win that many games in a row. Philadelphia’s run a couple years ago (2015-16, 26-12-7 record). All of a sudden they got hot and couldn’t lose.”

Blashill is confident the personnel exists on this Red Wings roster to make a similar, successful, playoff-making run.

 “We have the players to do it,” Blashill said. “We play good hockey almost every single night. We just need to get that little fraction better on a night by night basis, gain confidence, and go. “

 

Most fans will read that, chuckle to themselves, and say “no chance.” And Blashill sees where most people would say the Red Wings can’t do it.

“I understand why people wouldn’t believe me,” Blashill said. “I have no problem with that. I don’t care what anybody else thinks. I care what the group in this room thinks, and in the end it doesn’t matter what any of us think we have a chance to prove our worth on Wednesday.”

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

3 thoughts on “Articles (and video) from practice: the 34-game push”

  1. Technically the Wings could still finish with 114 points. So let’s play ELITE hockey starting now and get back in da mix.

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