HSJ and Khan in the morning: Red Wings willing to scrap and scrum to stick up for each other

The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks had a decidedly scrappy tone, with the teams engaging in a significant number of post-whistle scrums and other extracurricular activities.

This morning, the Free Press’s Helene St. James discusses the Wings’ willingness to play mean and nasty hockey in order to earn victories…

The Detroit Red Wings’ first two games of the season have been marked by scrums and battles, an aspect they see as crucial to sending a message to foes that they will pay for taking cheap shots.

“We care about each other,” alternate captain Marc Staal said. “It’s reactionary — when you see one of your teammates get hurt, we are going to stick up for each other. We’re going to compete hard and if it gets chippy and scrummy, that’s just the way it’s going to be, if teams are got to liberties with us like that.

“You’re seeing pretty early that we’re pretty tight in the room. You do something to one of us and it affects all of us and we’re all going to jump and stick up for each other. We’ll continue to play that way. You’re going to win more times than not if you get that kind of intensity.”

And MLive’s Ansar Khan also wrote a similar column this morning, noting coach Jeff Blashill’s take on his team’s surprisingly scrappy behavior:

“There’s always a balance between looking after each other and keeping your emotional control,” Blashill said. “We were certainly teetering on the edge there for a little bit. I understand why. When you see your teammate get hit in the head like that, it’s a pretty natural response. We got to care about each other, and we got to find ways to make sure we’re sticking up for each other. You got to do that within the context of winning the hockey game. When I had conversations with guys on the bench saying, ‘Listen, we got to concentrate on winning the game,’ they were good about it, and I thought we did a better job as that period went along to make sure we did that.”

Zadina, whose power-play goal at 6:42 of the second period snapped a 1-1 tie and proved to be the game-winner on a night when Thomas Greiss turned in a stellar 40-saves performance, was helped off the ice and taken to the dressing room but returned to finish the game.

“When you really care about each other and you see something happen to one of your teammates you get even at times over-emotional,” Blashill said. “I’d rather have that than have guys that don’t like each other. We got a whole bunch of guys that care about each other. We want to be a unit that comes every single day and fights together and wins together. I mean fighting to find ways to win hockey games. I think we’ve done a good job over two games so far in terms of competitiveness.”

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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.