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Notes: Red Wings forgo practice, study video instead

After lackluster performance against Vancouver, Detroit regroups

by Arthur J. Regner @arthurjregner /

DETROIT -- Coach Jeff Blashill was seething Sunday night when he addressed reporters after the Red Wings' uninspiring 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

Detroit's coach vowed he was going to work the Wings hard in Monday's practice since no one on the team worked hard against Vancouver.

But after a post-game meeting with his coaching staff, Blashill changed his mind and decided to cancel the Wings' practice, opting to go with a lengthy video session.

"Today was a team meeting. I'd call it a team meeting," Blashill said. "I talked, I showed video of lots of things that aren't good enough in the areas that we got to be way better.

"It wasn't a discussion meeting. It wasn't a Kumbaya. It was a 'this is not good enough, these are the areas it's not good enough, we got to be better.'"

When he was reminded of Sunday's pronouncement of skating the Wings into exhaustion during a strenuous practice, Blashill was realistic.

"When I got off the bench (Sunday night), I would have liked to hit the ice right after. If it was junior hockey - going back years ago you could have done that - that's obviously not an option. And it's not necessarily the right thing," he said. "Just because you're frustrated and upset doesn't mean those are the right decisions.

"I wanted to get two things done: one, I wanted to make sure and send a message to our team that last night's approach and effort wasn't good enough, and two, I want to put us in the best position to win tomorrow night (in Buffalo), which we obviously need a win.

"When I did that, I said to myself probably the best way to accomplish both of those things is to have a meeting, which we met for a good amount of time. I thought that was better than an hour practice where I would have got the message across like I did get it across through my meeting without maybe the physical exertion where we'll need the energy tomorrow night."

Players embraced Blashill's approach because they all understand Sunday's effort is not Red Wings hockey.

"No good ones, that's for sure," said captain Henrik Zetterberg when asked what stood out in the videos. "Sometimes it's good to get a little reality check, a wakeup call. We have been playing pretty decent hockey, but yesterday was unacceptable and we have to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"It was a stinker, but we know we can play good hockey if we do it right if we have a little more passion, a little more effort. We didn't have that last night. We can't afford to play like that if we want to go somewhere this year.

"We went through a lot of things here today. The video room we just got was used a lot today; try and flush this and get ready for a game here tomorrow."

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall, a player that other Red Wings look up to, indicated that each player needs to dig down deep and look at his own game first in order for the Wings to pull themselves out of this one-game malaise.

"Hard work, that's what it comes down to. Even better preparation and hard work, that's the only way around it," Kronwall said. "If you look at the video, it clearly tells we're not there. It's pretty simple. So we got to do a way better job than that.

"If you look at the tape, I'm one of the big guys at fault, no doubt about that. Games like this should never happen but it happened so let's learn from this and move on.

"Either we sit down and feel sorry for ourselves or we do something about it. There's only one way to go from here."

Collectively the Red Wings coaches and players are a bit disgusted and very angry with themselves, but they are nowhere near panic mode.

"We've got no reason in this locker room not to have lots of success so it better not be long-term," Blashill said. "I like our team. We have to make sure that we don't let that happen.

"My last clip was the current standings in our division. We're two points out of a playoff spot. That's the reality of it.

"Last night sucked. But it's over. Let's make sure we go prepare. We can go and play good hockey Tuesday and lose. That's the reality of this league. Nobody is that much better.

"They got a really good team. They want to win bad. So that's the way it goes. But we got to play great hockey over and over again."

ICE AT LITTLE CAESARS ARENA PROGRESSING: Several Detroit players have expressed their dismay at the ice conditions at Little Caesars Arena, claiming the soft ice's snowy conditions makes it difficult to pass the puck.

Zetterberg has heard the criticisms about the ice. Though he agrees with his teammates, he understands the ice is a work in progress.

"How many games have we played in here? We haven't skated much in here either," Zetterberg said. "It's a big difference from The Joe, more activities in this arena than there was at The Joe, so it has gotten better than the start. From the start, it was bad but I think it's getting better each day.

"I still think it's a learning curve for the guys (maintenance/ice crew), but this is what we play on most of the nights in this league. We should be able to get better ice -- it's just not this building but in a lot with the technology we now have nowadays it should be able to be better.

"We haven't been here for two years or three years, we've been here for two months, so have to have a little patience and we believe we can get it better."

What does Zetterberg feel should to be done to get the ice up to snuff?

"There's a lot of components into it, but I think when you go and watch a hockey game you don't have to wear shorts and a t-shirt," he said. "If you cool it down a little bit, it makes it easier to have better ice."

DEKEYSER UPDATE: Despite the embarrassing loss to the Canucks, Blashill indicated the Wings will go with the same lineup in Buffalo on Tuesday night.

He also said the immigration process has begun with Andreas Athanasiou and gave a quick update on injured defenseman Danny DeKeyser.

"I'd say Danny DeKeyser is getting closer but I don't have an update past that," Blashill said.

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