The Detroit Red Wings can’t erase the first 30 games of this unsightly season. A four-day break in the schedule does give them a chance to start over in some ways.
Their one-hour practice on Tuesday was designed to regain the positive habits and good vibes they had in training camp. They’ll practice again on Wednesday and Friday before facing Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Wings have by far the league’s worst record at 7-20-3.
“Just kind of a reset button for us,” forward Luke Glendening said. “It’s a good time to be together. We’ve just got to get back to basics here.”
The theme after their 10th consecutive defeat on Monday, a 4-1 home loss to the New York Islanders, was to start having fun again. Coach Jeff Blashill saw evidence of that during practice.
“If you mope around, it’s hard to play at a high level,” he said. “I think our guys took a great approach today. We worked real hard and we had fun working … Having fun sometimes means enjoying the grind of the NHL, enjoying the work you’ve got to put in, enjoying the competitiveness of the NHL. I think our guys did a good job of that today.”
The first part of practice, held in their practice rink, focused on defensive zone coverage.
They moved over to the main rink to work on special teams. The Wings rank 26th in power play scoring percentage and last in penalty killing.
The Wings entered the day having played more games than any other team. That has meant limited practice time, which has contributed to their many issues. The focus is on “playing and reacting the right way without overthinking,” as Blashill describes it.
“It’s not easy when you’re losing every night to come in with a great attitude,” Glendening said. “Maybe these four days will be good for us in terms of … if we can have some fun on the ice and some fun together, hopefully we’ll have a renewed energy when we play on Saturday.”
Abdelkader returns to practice
Justin Abdelkader was back on ice on Tuesday. The 32-year-old wing hasn’t played since Nov. 10 due to a mid-body injury.
He might return as soon as Saturday if he doesn’t have any setbacks.
“He’s getting closer,” Blashill said of the fourth-line fixture. “Today was the first time he skated with the team. He wasn’t necessarily ‘full’ but it was closer. If he can go full practice tomorrow, full practice Friday, there’s potential at some point (to play) over the next week.”
Abdelkader has played in 16 games and is still looking for his first goal but he can also boost the penalty-kill unit.
“To have his leadership and the style of play he brings to our team, any time you can get a guy like him back in your lineup, it’s great,” Glendening said.
Hirose, Zadina sent to Grand Rapids
Taro Hirose and Filip Zadina were assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins after practice.
Hirose has been a healthy scratch in seven games this season, six in the past month.
He has two goals and five assists, the same amount of points he accumulated during a late 10-game stint last season after he was signed out of Michigan State.
Zadina, the team’s 2018 first-round pick, has appeared in five games since being recalled from Grand Rapids. He hasn’t given the team much of a boost, contributing no goals and two assists, though Blashill has said he looks more comfortable this season.
Zadina had a goal and two assists in nine games last season.
Mantha, Howard still not practicing
Blashill said there was nothing new to report on Anthony Mantha (lower body) and Jimmy Howard (soft tissue). Mantha, who still leads the team in goals with 12, was injured in the first period against New Jersey on Nov. 23. Howard was injured in the first period against Toronto on Wednesday and was placed on injured reserve.
Eric Comrie, acquired from Arizona over the weekend, is currently the backup goalie behind Jonathan Bernier.
Published at Wed, 04 Dec 2019 00:35:44 +0000