HSJ in the morning: Wings’ defensive issues must be addressed

The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a subscriber-only article this morning which discusses the “state of the Red Wings” as the Wings limp home winless in 3 games, in which they gave up 5, 6 and 7 goals, respectively:

“If we want to win more on the road and we want to win later in the season, and we want to win against great teams, we have to keep working to be better defensively and we have to keep working to manage the puck,” [coach Jeff] Blashill said.

“We’re going to get back to work and get better, especially in our D-zone coverage, because we can’t give up nearly the number of chances we gave up. But we did create lots of chances, and I’m happy for that. But we’ve got to grow here. We’ve got to get back, take a breath, and then get ready for a big game on Tuesday.”

The Wings (13-12-3) are 9-3-2 at LCA. Their five-game winning streak featured four home games sandwiched around a victorious outing in Boston. The absence of fans last season certainly emphasized their importance, but again, the Wings aren’t going to succeed anywhere if they don’t establish a defensive identity. Unlike the Avalanche, averaging with a league-leading 4.38 goals per game, the Wings don’t have the offensive power to mask defensive lapses.

“Without a doubt, when you’re on the road, you have to be great defensively and manage the puck great,” Blashill said. “I don’t think, even at home, we’ve been great defensively and managed the puck well enough. So if we want to be a team that can win both at home and on the road, we have to do that better. It’s a lesson that our guys are learning. Sometimes you have to keep kind of getting slapped in the face to continue to realize especially the puck management part of it. You get away with it at times at home because momentum is totally different.

“I think our team understands that we can be a really, really good team. We have to get back to work and I think our guys have a self-belief, and that belief has been earned through the work they’ve put in, and now we just have to get back and play a really good game on Tuesday.”

Continued (paywall)

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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.