Late-night Bultman: one shift of blocked shots, and its ramifications

The Red Wings dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Florida Panthers on Friday, but the above-posted video from AWood40 on YouTube certainly illustrates a level of resilience in the Red Wings that we haven’t seen in years previous.

As The Athletic’s Max Bultman suggests, the road gets tougher for the Red Wings from here on out, with a back-to-back game vs. Toronto in Leaf Land kicking off a 4-games-in-8-nights road trip–and a November schedule in which the Red Wings play 11 times (in 8 different cities!) in 19 days–but, for one night, at least, the hockey team from Detroit looks like a team that’s willing to do the dirty, sometimes painful work necessary to compete:

[The shift] did not, in the end, lead to a win. It likely won’t bring any solace as the Red Wings fly to Toronto overnight, for another game Saturday. But that sequence of swallowed pucks and frantic battling was the latest, best indication of the identity the Red Wings seem to be developing early in the 2021-22 season.

“I think it’s a little bit telling of our team, the amount of sacrifice that you saw on that shift,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “Certainly that’s not the exact way we want to play D-zone, but when you have a big block and the guy’s down, all of the sudden you get a little frantic. And then another guy’s down, you get a little more frantic. So it was chaotic, but I also think, as you could tell from the crowd’s response, that was pretty awesome what those guys did.

“The way they laid it on the line — Erne was hurt on the first block, and he stayed in there and blocked another one. I think it’s a good example of what our team’s been about: We want to sacrifice more than other teams to win hockey games, and that’s what we’re going to have to do in order to be successful.”

In all, Detroit blocked 23 shots Friday. That’s not a solely positive stat, as it does also speak to the amount of shots the first-place Panthers were able to take to begin with. But there’s no question it illustrates a willingness to sacrifice on the Red Wings part, and Erne and Fabbri left no doubt on that shift that they’d keep doing so to win.

Continued (paywall); this year’s Wings team may not make the playoffs, but 8 games in, they’re in the games they’re playing, and that’s exciting.

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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.