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Notes: Blashill's focus: scoring chances, O-zone time

Wings looking to end long losing streak in Philadelphia; Frk back

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT - It's not whether you possess the puck, it's where you are and what you do with it that counts.


The Wings may be ranked 28th in Corsi for percentage 5-on-5 at 46 percent, but that's not the main concern for Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill.

"Somehow puck possession has been measured by shots," Blashill said. "We outshot (the Florida Panthers) on Sunday by a bunch but they had way better scoring chances, so I'll continue to measure our game by scoring chances. Puck possession, the way we measure it, is by O-zone time. How much O-zone time vs. how much D-zone time. We have to get better in that area. We've spent more time in our D-zone than in our O-zone. So we got to get better at having more O-zone time."


The Wings are fifth in the league with 286 shots but they have allowed the most shots against at 323. 


The Washington Capitals have allowed the fewest shots at 199.


"Going into the last game, we'd been outshot in seven of the nine games, we'd out-chanced the team in five of the nine games, so sometimes shots are from the outside," Blashill said. "We just looked at something where it showed up in one of our systems, it tracks five-percent chances, it showed up as a five-percent chance. We saw the video, it showed the puck being shot from above the tops of the circles, outside … the (shot) tracker had it from the hash mark."


Blashill said five-percent chances are considered among the best scoring chances.


The Wings track their own shots and chances, not relying on the league stats.


One factor that the Wings want to improve on is hanging onto the puck. 


"I think one of the issues we've had lately is turnovers because we want to do much with the puck," Frans Nielsen said. "We've got to simplify a little more and grind teams a little more. So many good teams and good players in this league now, you turn pucks over they're going to make you pay. It's been an issue for a us a little bit. I know this is the mentality in Detroit to have to play, entertain and that kind of stuff, but we've been talking about being a little more simple. It's been killing us, we've been giving up 30-plus something shots every game because mistakes we're doing with the puck in the neutral zone."


Tomas Tatar said another issue is face-offs. 


The Wings are ranked 16th in face-off percentage at 49.6 percent 5-on-5.


"We lost a lot of face-offs, the wingers didn't help the center and they just had the puck more than we did," Tatar said. "We turned it over a lot the last few games. We have to get rid of that, put the puck behind and create chaos. That's how hockey is right now these days. We have to dump it to get the puck in the zone. We have to battle to create our own chances right there. We did turn over it a lot and the next thing you know it's going the other way."


Brendan Smith thinks there's another area the Wings could clean up a bit.


"We got to stay out of the box," Smith said. "Obviously if you're in the box they have the man advantage and they get more chances for. So I would say if we can maybe be a little bit more disciplined or whatnot, that will help us in that category."


The Wings have the most penalty minutes with 135. The next closest team is the Calgary Flames with 107.


The Wings are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for most fighting majors with five.


PHILLY'S A TOUGH TOWN: If you want to know the last time the Wings won in Philadelphia, you'll have to look way back.


Their last regulation win there was June 3, 1997, Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The last regular-season win in regulation was 4-1 on Jan. 25, 1997.


"You guys keep reminding us, so it's hard to not think about it," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "Obviously, we know what it is, we haven't won there in a while. Good thing is we have a chance tomorrow and we got another chance next week. But we can't really focus on that, we got to focus on what we do. We haven't been at our best the last two games and we want to get back to that."


Obviously most of the current Wings haven't been around for the 11-game losing skid in Philadelphia.


"I don't know because the few times I've played there we had a chance to win, but we just screwed (up) in the end," Tatar said. "We did a few mistakes and they just capitalized from that. I think that building is not different than others, it's just a curse that's going. You shouldn't think about it, just play your game, if we play good I bet we could win there for sure."


Both Zetterberg and Smith pointed out that when the Wings were in the Western Conference, they didn't travel to Philadelphia every season like they do now.


"Just like the Cubbies not winning for so long, it's just how it has been," Smith said. "We don't really try to think about it, we just go in there and play our game and hopefully we can come out with two points there. I guess one of the reasons is we were in the West and you don't see them very much so there's obviously legitimate reasons."


FRK BACK: The Wings lost forward Martin Frk to the Carolina Hurricanes on waivers Oct. 9.


Less than a month later, they got Frk back.


Frk, 23, played in two games with the Hurricanes, Oct. 18 at Edmonton and Oct. 25 at Detroit.


The Hurricanes placed Frk on waivers Monday and the Wings claimed him Tuesday and assigned him to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.


"It's important to keep good players in the organization, so it's good to get him back," Blashill said. "He's a guy that works extremely hard, so he's going to go down to Grand149 g Rapids and he's going to work extremely hard. He's a guy that has scored at that level. He got an opportunity with another team. It didn't pan out, so he's going to go back to work. We're glad to have him back in the organization."


The Wings took Frk in the second round, 49th overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.


In the last three seasons, Frk had 36 goals and 32 assists in 149 games with the Griffins and 28 goals and 21 assists in 44 games with the ECHL's Toledo Walleye.

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