Also of note in terms of articles penned by the Red Wings’ beat writers after today’s practice at Little Caesars Arena:
- Evgeny Svechnikov’s teammates and coach were not surprised that “Geno” scored his first NHL goal last night, as noted by Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff…
“He’s played better every game he’s been up here, kind of adjusted to how he needs to play,” Detroit left-winger Justin Abdelkader said of Svechnikov. “He’s a big strong player that goes hard to the net, has some good skill and a good shot.”
In his seventh game since his recall from AHL Grand Rapids, Svechnikov scored his first NHL goal, but just as significantly, displayed that he is beginning to succinctly comprehend the type of game he must play in order to be a successful NHLer.
“I thought that was Svech’s best game since he’s been up,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “I’ve talked lots about the chicken or the egg. Do you get ice time and produce, or do you earn the ice time? I thought he took a step in the right direction in terms of earning more ice time.”
Averaging 7:45 per game coming into Tuesday’s contest, Svechnikov played 8:38 against the Flyers.
“He needs to outplay other players, but I thought he was heavy on the puck and he got rewarded with a goal,” Blashill said.
2. The Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that coach Blashill wants Svechnikov to emulate Tyler Bertuzzi’s high-energy game…
Bertuzzi, a second-rounder from 2013, was called up Dec. 21, after the Wings lost Luke Glendening to injury. Bertuzzi’s minutes fluctuated from the 15-16 range to the eight-minute range, and by the time Tomas Tatar was traded Feb. 26, Bertuzzi had shown enough to warrant an audition in the top six mix. He worked his way onto a power play unit, and Henrik Zetterberg’s line.
“Tyler is a good example of a guy who grabs the minutes,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “You rarely get given minutes in this league and he certainly came in and when we traded Tats, he had played well enough in my mind he’d given me tons of confidence to use him and I was excited to put him up in those spots. He’s done excellent. Player minutes are all about earning the coach’s confidence and the more you earn, the more you play.”
Svechnikov, 21, has gone from being a go-to guy in Grand Rapids to being a fourth-line guy with the Wings, averaging around eight minutes per game. He’s trying to push for more and scoring a goal could help.
“I have to use my chances — every shift I go on the ice I have to give everything what I have an earn the ice time,” Svechnikov said. “It’s way different, I got different ice time now, and I have to earn it. Nobody is just going to give it to me for free. Bert is a great example. He have great big time now. He plays on first line. He’s great example.”
3. And MLive’s Ansar Khan also penned an article about Svechnikov…
Svechnikov has averaged only 7:53 in seven games since being recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins. He hasn’t played more than 9:24 and hasn’t logged any power play minutes.
It has been an adjustment from the AHL, where Svechnikov had a bigger role.
“Every shift I have to give everything what I have and earn it,” Svechnikov said. “Nobody is just going to give it to me for free.”
Svechnikov might have earned a little more following what Blashill said was his best game on Tuesday, when he scored his first NHL goal and was a plus-4 in chances for/against in a 5-4 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Little Caesars Arena.
“I thought he held onto the puck and was real strong in the offensive zone and that resulted in a few chances,” Blashill said. “It was a good step. Over the course of 6-7 games, he’s gotten a little more relaxed, a little more comfortable in the system and I think that’s allowed him to be a little bit better player. As he does that he gets a chance to earn more minutes. His strength on puck is something that can separate him from other guys on the team and in the league.”
Svechnikov, the team’s top pick in 2015, said he’s feeling more comfortable with each game.
“I was a little nervous, a little uncomfortable in the first games, but now I know my teammates closer and I feel better on the ice,” he said. “I think the biggest thing is consistency. Just do everything right on the ice and off the ice and be a good professional.”
4. As did DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji…
“I have to use my chance,” Svechnikov said. “Every shift I got on the ice I have to give everything what I have and earn it. Earning the ice time, earning what I got. It’s way different. I got the different ice time now. I have to earn it. Nobody is just going to give it to me for free.”
Blashill said the Philadelphia game was Svechnikov’s best since he got called up.
“I thought he held onto the puck and was real strong in the offensive zone and I think that resulted in a few chances,” Blashill said. “I think he was plus-four in our chance plus-minus that we keep. That was his best game for sure. I think it was a good step. I think the biggest thing with Svech, like a lot of young players, he’s real hard on himself.
“As he’s been here probably over the course of 6-7 games, he’s gotten a little more relaxed, a little more comfortable in the system and I think that’s allowed him to be a little bit better player and as does that he gets a chance to earn more minutes. I think that’s a good step. For me is his strength on puck is something that can separate him from other guys on the team and other guys on the team.”
Abdelkader can remember what it was like being a young player trying to establish himself in the league.
“I think anytime he can get that first one off his back and not have to worry about that, it can help,” Abdelkader said. “He’s played better every game he’s been up here, kind of adjusted to how he needs to play. It’s obviously different than playing in the American League. He’s a big, strong player that can go hard to the net, has some good skill and a good shot.”
5. And among the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan’s notes:
Wednesday’s practice, in front of many season-ticket holders, was largely optional, with many veterans staying off the ice.
Blashill said everyone would be available for Thursday’s game against Washington, although forward Luke Glendening (foot) could be a question mark.
Glendening blocked a shot in overtime Tuesday, that may have helped prevent a goal.
“It’s an example of the way our guys have continued to battle,” Blashill said. “It’s totally indicative of the compete our team continues to have.”