Three Things: On Nostalgia, McKenzie on Green and Iyer on the Wings’ offensive attack

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Via Kukla’s, TSN’s Cabbie Richards spoke with Dylan Larkin, Trevor Daley and Justin Abdelkader about a potential “Nostalgia Night” at Little Caesars Arena:

2. TSN’s Bob McKenzie is quoted by TSN’s Tradecentre webpage regarding a possible Mike Green trade:

Bob McKenzie is confident that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be buyers ahead of the trade deadline with an addition to their blueline.

“I will make this prediction right now, Tampa will not go by the deadline without picking up what they believe to be a significant top-six defenceman,” McKenzie added on TSN Radio 1050’s Overdrive. “And I don’t know whether it’s Mike Green or Ryan McDonagh, or Jack Johnson, or Cody Ceci. The point being is Tampa, for me, is as close to being all-in as they can be and they’ve got the draft picks and prospects to move. I don’t think they’re too worried about what they would have to give up to get a guy.”

McKenzie added the price for Green from the Red Wings could be a first-round pick and he believes Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman would be willing to pay that price.

McKenzie also spoke about Mike Green during last night’s Insider Trading segment:

Detroit Red Wings defenceman Mike Green  is one of the most sought after blueliners on the market but he has a full no-trade clause. Is he driving the bus on his future?

Bob McKenzie: There’s not much question about that. He decides when he’s traded, where he’s traded, or if he’s traded. There’s no question the Red Wings want to get a return on Green and Green is okay with that. But I would suspect the list of teams that he’s prepared to go to is relatively short. The price that the Red Wings are asking for is somewhere between what St. Louis got for Kevin Shattenkirk last year, a first-round pick and a prospect. Or between what Brendan Smith fetched last year as a rental for the Detroit Red Wings, that was a second-round pick and a third-round pick. Tampa Bay is the team that is often linked to Green. They certainly have a need for defencemen but they’re considering all their options at this point. One would have to think that Tampa might be an aggregable spot for Green but we’ll have to see how this one plays out.

3. The Athletic’s Prasanth Iyer used zone entry tracking to discuss the Wings’ offensive issues:

The data presented above makes it clear Detroit’s offensive attack is inconsistent. Outside of the Zetterberg line, the team struggles to consistently generate shots in the offensive zone. The Red Wings have been able to hang around the playoff race largely because of unexpected scoring from their bottom six. However, given the relative lack of dangerous passing plays, it’s hard to imagine that scoring persisting.

Similarly, it’s hard to imagine the Zetterberg unit scoring only two goals on 66 shots, which may make up for the drop-off in scoring from the bottom six. The lack of effectiveness from the Larkin line has been surprising. Even though it has outscored the opposition, the line has been heavily outshot. Given that, the Red Wings’ team offense may benefit from splitting it up and spreading out its talent through the bottom three lines.

Iyer continues

The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders set-up–youth movement vs. playoff movement

The Detroit Red Wings will face a roadblock in their attempts to earn a playoff spot in the New York Islanders on Friday evening (7:00 PM EST on FSD Plus/MSG+/97.1 FM).

The 26-23-and-6 Islanders sit 8 points ahead of the 21-23-and-8 Red Wings in the Wild Card standings;

Petr Mrazek’s Wings (Mrazek starts Friday night) are catching the Islanders in a “down” portion of their schedule as New York has dropped 4 of their past 5 games, including a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday evening.

The Islanders managed to rally from a 3-0 deficit, but they fell to 1-3-and-1 over their past 5 games as they surrendered the game-winning goal late in the 3rd period, as Newsday’s Mark Hermann noted:

Continue reading The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders set-up–youth movement vs. playoff movement

Duff, Nyquist talk trade rumors (or, ignoring them)

Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff spoke with Gustav Nyquist regarding dealing with the uncertainty surrounding the trade deadline:

“There’s always the possibility,” Nyquist admitted of a potential moving involving him. “It’s part of being in this league. I’ve heard rumors before. I’m sure I’ll hear rumors again. You never know what’s true or not. It goes for all the guys in the room. I’m sure they’ve heard their name pop up at some point.”

As much as the players insist they don’t read the papers, the fact of the matter is that there are secondary sources – friends, family – who will bring up the subject to a player if they happen to come across the mention of their names in trade talk.

“I’m not a big social media guy, but you watch Twitter or whatever and you see a bit,” Nyquist said. “But I think guys start paying more attention as we’re getting closer to the deadline. I think right now, I don’t think you hear too many rumors. I think they’ll start heating up closer to the deadline.”

Duff continues

Prospect round-up: SHL, OHL action; Griffins return Tansey to Walleye

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn finished at -1 with 3 shots, winning 50% of his faceoffs in 12:02 played in the Frolunda Indians’ 4-2 loss to Skelleftea AIK;

In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo finished at -1 with 1 shot, winning 41% of his faceoffs in 17:00 played in Jukurit’s 8-0 loss to IFK Helsinki;

In the OHL, Kaden Fulcher stopped 23 of 27 shots in the Hamilton Bulldogs’ 5-1 loss to Barrie;

Jordan Sambrook finished at -1 with 1 shot in the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ 4-3 win over Niagara;

And the Grand Rapids Griffins returned Kevin Tansey to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, retaining Patrick McCarron’s services as Joe Hicketts recovers from an injury:

Continue reading Prospect round-up: SHL, OHL action; Griffins return Tansey to Walleye

Russian Five film to debut in April

Per agent Dan Milstein, who’s been producing The Russian Five” movie:

A pair of charitable Tweets of note: too soon

FYI regarding some charitable efforts to deal with terrible passings of late:

Krupa: Howard ready in wait

The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa penned a second notebook article in which he spoke with Jimmy Howard regarding his current status as a back-up, and Howard talked about his appearance against the Bruins as well:

“I felt fine [Wednesday],” Howard said. “You know, just a couple of breaks and they ended up back in the net.”

After a slow start by the Wings, they were down about two-to-one in shots for the first 40 minutes before finding pace and possessing the puck more in the third period. As has often been the case this season, the team asked the goalie to hold them in the game, while they searched for offense.

Howard said that after his play declined a bit and Petr Mrazek began starting more games, he did not seek to change much.

“Basically, we actually did a little less,” Howard said. “We’re doing a little less in the net. I’ve backed up a little bit instead of coming too far out, and being able to read the shots a little better.”

Howard said it is a matter of waiting and staying prepared. But the victories seem to be dictating who is in net.

“Just wait until it’s your turn and try to go out and win games,” he said.

In 39 games, Howard has a 2.82 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. Mrazek has a 2.75 goal against average and a .914 save percentage in 19 games played.

Krupa’s notebook continues…

Wakiji: Wings’ youngsters have an ‘everyday’er’ learning curve’s Dana Wakiji reports that the Red Wings are attempting to instill good habits in their young players while embarking upon a grueling portion of their schedule:

“The guys that figure it out are the ones that are the real good players in the league,” Blashill said. “My job is to make sure I’m their mirror and make sure I’m telling them when they’re doing it right, when they’re not doing it right. Certainly after the other night, my job as a mirror was to say it wasn’t good enough. We weren’t determined enough. We went out there, we were OK, we hung on, we had a chance to win at the end but we weren’t determined enough. We didn’t have enough chances. We’ve got to be more determined than that. I don’t care if you’re big or small, you got to make sure you come out with that level of determination.”

Mantha said he and Blashill have kept the lines of communication open.

“For me it’s been a message for four years now,” Mantha said. “I think lately I’ve been playing pretty good. We talked, me and Blash, a lot this year, a lot of video. We got it going a little bit better than in the past. Just to be focused every game, every shift, to do the little details you need to perform. Preparation.”

As Larkin mentioned, the young players do have a lot of good examples to follow in the team’s leaders.

“That’s one thing that I think that we have going for us above other organizations in the league, at least on my knowledge of coaching other teams in the world championships, talking to other people who get traded here or sign here as free agents,” Blashill said. “We have a group of guys that do it right and guys that you can learn from in Zetterberg and (Niklas) Kronwall, but I’d include guys like (Frans) Nielsen and (Mike) Green and (Trevor) Daley and (Jonathan) Ericsson. They do it right every day.

“So there is no excuse. There’s models here to make sure that guys can emulate themselves after in terms of the approach every single day. Zetterberg’s one of the best. There’s no days where he can just skate around the rink because he’s a fluid, easy skater, it’s every day he’s got to be ready. He’s got to be ready to battle and grind and he does.”


Update: The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa also penned an article about the situation:

Even as they use the current juncture to adapt their games to the NHL, some of the younger Wings soon will be called on to be leaders soon, with Zetterberg likely to retire after next season or in two seasons.

“Guys that are coming up from the American League are generally elite players at the American League level,” Blashill said. “Their talent discrepancy is greater. There is still a discrepancy in talent among American League teams where you can take nights off and win. There is none of those here.”

And that degree of difficulty has heightened in recent NHL seasons, the coach said.

“It’s way different from five years ago,” Blashill said. “It’s way different from seven years ago. It’s years different from 15 years ago. There’s no bad teams. Even teams with bad records are not bad teams. And so, every night, you have to be so much on top of your game.”

Blashill said it takes players time to adjust, some more than others.

“I think it’s a learning process sometimes for young guys to understand, and that’s what separates the elite players in the league from the good players,” he said. “The elite guys find a way to be at the 90-100 percent of their max every single night, because there’s just no way to go out and work yourself into a game and no chance to kind of go out and skill yourself around the rink.”

Krupa also continues

Articles from practice: Wings get ready for a schedule grind amidst offensive slumps

The Red Wings practiced on Thursday ahead of a stretch in which they’ll play 10 games over the course of 19 days, and Dylan Larkin told the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa that the team can make hay while the sun shines:

“It’s a time when we can rally and get a lot of games in a short period of time,” said Dylan Larkin, who has eight goals and 31 assists for 39 points in 52 games played. “If we get hot at the right time, it could be a really fun stretch.”

Larkin now has 48 goals and 68 assists for 116 points in 212 career games. Some of Zetterberg’s herculean time on ice in recent seasons has shifted to the 21 year-old Larkin this season.

 After the Islanders, the Red Wings begin a stretch of nine games in 15 days that will take them to the NHL trade deadline Feb. 26.
They have only 12 games remaining at home, and five will be played before the deadline.


“If we do well,” Larkin said, of the approaching juncture of the season, “we could be right where we want to be with one month left.”

At the same time, as MLive’s Ansar Khan notes, the Wings’ scoring forwards have been battling slumps

Continue reading Articles from practice: Wings get ready for a schedule grind amidst offensive slumps

HSJ’s mailbag: talking trade deadline

The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a mailbag article, and among her questions and answers:

HSJ: I’ve heard there’s interest in forward Gustav Nyquist (15 goals, 9 assists, 24 points in 52 games), but it may depend on whether the Wings would have to retain a portion of the $5.5 million he’s owed next season (salary cap hit is $4.75 million). He’d also have to consent to a trade. As for goaltenders Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, Mrazek might interest a team given he seems finally to have emerged from a two-year slump (Mrazek has a .958 save percentage and 1.30 goals-against average in his last seven games). He turns 26 on Feb. 14 and he’s essentially a pending unrestricted free agent, as even with his recent surge, he’s unlikely to be qualified at $4 million.

As for Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall, let’s see what happens this summer. Zetterberg will be 38 in October, and he’s topped 1,000 NHL games. He rarely practices any more, as he’s figured out the optimal way to keep himself freshest for games. Health will certainly factor into whether he plays next season, and he did have  back surgery in 2014. As for Kronwall (turned 37 in January), he’s played all but three games this season. If he feels he can continue next season, he will play the last year of his contract.

There already is a significant youth movement under way. One of the reasons general manager Ken Holland resisted re-signing Thomas Vanek last summer was because the Wings wanted Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou to play bigger roles. Dylan Larkin leads leads team forwards and is third overall with an average of 19:51 minutes per game. Mantha averages 17 minutes, Athanasiou, 16. All three are playing more on average than they did in 2016-17. Tyler Bertuzzi would have started the season in Detroit had he not gotten hurt during exhibition season. They were also hoping Evgeny Svechnikov would make a push after hitting 20 goals his first year of pro hockey and helping the Grand Rapids Griffins win the Calder Cup, but he, too, suffered an injury during exhibition season. (Svechnikov had some growing pains the first half but has played much better since around New Year’s. He had a goal and two assists Wednesday to help the Griffins improve to 15.3-0-2 their last 20 games).