The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted her customary morning column today, discussing the Red Wings’ hopes that a little more roster continuity will afford the team the ability to get on a roll:
The Detroit Red Wings have nearly everybody out of COVID-19 protocol; now they’re hoping their weeklong streak of negative tests affords a chance to build something.
They take on the Boston Bruins in a Sunday matinee at Little Caesars Arena, a chance to start off 2022 with a victory over a division rival. The Wings (15-14-3) dropped their New Year’s Eve game against the Washington Capitals, 3-1, shaking off rust after a two-week pandemic-induced layoff. It was a 1-1 game until three minutes left, and overall the Wings were encouraged that, with everyone but defenseman Nick Leddy out of quarantine (he won’t be available Sunday either), the lineup was close to what they had at the start of the season.
“Hopefully, knock on wood, we can keep this group together for a bit here and barring illness or injury, we can get kind of that chemistry, kind of get in a groove with this group,” coach Jeff Blashill said Saturday. “It’ll certainly be good to have Leds back as well, but you’re not going to have a full lineup all year. And obviously we’ve been missing one guy all season in (Jakub) Vrana. But it was good to get the group back together.”
The Wings are emerging from a turbulent stretch that saw them shut down three days before the holiday break (wit two games postponed) and then had their first two games after the break also postponed. But the layoff meant extra practice time, and while Friday’s result disappointed, the Wings showed improvement in managing the puck.
“I’ll take that game over and over and over again,” Blashill said. “We had the chances almost exactly equal. They’ve got one of the better records in the league, they’re a team that is considered to be a team that’s going to contend for the Stanley Cup. We just have to keep playing good hockey and the more you’re in those spots, the more position you’re in to win.”