DETROIT – The lack of scoring by the Red Wings in shootouts is puzzling, to say the least, which may have prompted the skills competition work toward the end of practice Monday at Joe Louis Arena.
“Lots of parts of practices you do breakaways and different types of shooting drills and that’s one we threw in there today,” Wings assistant coach Tony Granato said.
Detroit is a league-worst 0-3 in shootouts this season, managing one goal on eight chances. Since last season, the Red Wings are 5-12 in shootouts, scoring 12 goals on 59 shots, which is a 20.3 percent success rate.
“It’s obviously points on the table that you’d like to have,” Granato said. “That’s something, moving forward, we can get better at. I think we’ve got good shooters, we’ve got good goalies, so hopefully we can take advantage of that and figure out how to get some points out of that.”
Since the introduction of the shootout in 2005-06, the league scoring average is around 33 percent. The Red Wings aren’t close to that success rate this season as six different players have taken a shot, but only Gustav Nyquist has scored, beating Buffalo goalie Michal Neuvirth on Nov. 2.
“You try to have a few different ones (moves),” said Nyquist, who is 1 for 3 in shootouts this season. “The goalies scout you a little bit. If you only have one move the goalies are going to know what you’re doing. You try to have a few moves you can go to. You’re hoping that will work out. We obviously haven’t been able to score that many goals in the shootout. … We got to find a way to score.”
Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Andrej Nestrasil, Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar are a combined 0 for 5 in shootout tries this season.
Since 2005-06, the Wings are 43-53, which ranks No. 24 in the league. Only Florida, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Philadelphia and Carolina have fewer shootouts victories. Detroit has scored 104 goals on 338 shots (30.8 percent), while allowing 107 goals on 328 shots (.674 save percentage).
The Wings have just one shooter in the 40-percent neighborhood for his career – that’s Datsyuk, who has scored 35 goals of 81 shots (43.2 percent). Meanwhile, 12 other players on the Red Wings’ current roster are a combined 33 for 145 (23 percent).
“I think every guy is different with how they approach a shootout or a penalty shot,” Granato said. “Some guys like to slow it down, other guys like to keep the pace of it, going in like someone’s chasing them. I think it’s up to the individual.”
On the flip side, Jimmy Howard hasn’t been overly thrilled with his shootout performances, either, though he ranked ninth in save percentage (.700) among NHL goalies with more than 150 shootout saves in their career.
“You have to be comfortable and right now I don’t think any of us are,” Howard said. “It’s one of those things you can do it in practice, but once you get 20,000 people watching you it might get a little nerve wracking. I don’t know, I’m not a shooter. I can only imagine it’s probably not one of the best feelings.”
Howard said he tries to keep a book on the shooters that he has faced around the league, and he wasn’t overly thrilled with the goal he surrendered to Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan, which won the shootout for the Lightning Sunday night.
“From knowing him for a really long time and knowing that’s his go-to move, biting on it I wasn’t too pleased with myself,” Howard said.
For some players, the shootout presents a while new set of challenges, which aren’t present during games.
“In games it’s a lot easier. All of a sudden you’re on a breakaway, you don’t have time to think about what to do,” center Stephen Weiss said. “On a shootout you’ve got time. You might have a couple guys go before you and start second guessing your move. You just have to go in and shoot the puck.”
WEISS PRACTICES AGAIN:
Center - DET
Goals: - | Assists: - | Pts: -
Shots: - | +/-: -
For the second straight practice, Weiss (groin) was fully participating in team drills Monday.
The veteran center wasn’t sure what the next steps are in terms of returning to game action, thought it’s getting anxious to get back to the lineup.
“I’m super antsy,” Weiss said. “The last setback was really tough to take. I was two games away from playing in Buffalo (Nov. 2) and I was really excited, and I was excited to play in Grand Rapids and get a chance to come back here and play. Those couple of days after it happened I was pretty down, but it didn’t take too long. I didn’t think it would take too long and I’m really excited to get another chance.”
Two weeks ago, Weiss suffered a setback in his recovering from two sports hernia surgeries while on a rehabilitation assignment with AHL Grand Rapids.
“The trainers and I are all onboard,” Weiss said. “As far as my injury goes I’m good to go. I’m fully practicing, no restrictions out there, so it’s just a matter of getting the word of when to play.”
Weiss played in one game this season, Oct. 18 against Toronto.
Center - DET
Goals: - | Assists: - | Pts: -
Shots: - | +/-: -
Datsyuk has missed the past two games with a sore groin, which began bothering him on the Red Wings’ three-game road trip to Buffalo, Ottawa and New York last week.
“He skated well, stayed on the ice all the way through and did a lot of stuff after, so I hope he felt really good,” Granato said. “As long as there’s no setback I think he’ll be ready for this weekend.”
The Red Wings will take Tuesday off before beginning to prepare for the last two games of their four-game home stand against Chicago and Montreal, this Friday and Sunday.
The four days off, which is their longest break until All-Star Game weekend, comes at a good time for the Red Wings.
“You just saw us go through a pretty tough stretch with four (games) in six (nights) against some pretty good teams,” Granato said. “We’re banged up a little it just like every team would be at this point of the year, so when a break in the schedule comes up like this you have to take advantage of it, you got to get rest, you got to get practice time in, you got to be smart, kind of recharge the batteries, and I think that’s what we’ll use this week for. Obviously, we have big games coming up this weekend with Chicago and Montreal that we have to be ready for. But I think through the first 15 games we’ve been pretty impressive on what we’ve been able to do but we have to continue to get better.”
WINGS NOTES: Nyquist (1-1—2), Johan Franzen (1-1—2) and Niklas Kronwall (0-2—2) all posted multiple points for the Red Wings in Sunday’s shootout loss to Tampa Bay. Nyquist now has 36 goals in his last 72 regular-season games, including a team-leading eight this season. … On Monday, the Red Wings made two roster moves, recalling goalie Tom McCollum from AHL Grand Rapids and re-assigning Petr Mrazek to the Griffins. The move was made to give Mrazek some work during the Wings’ four days off. He will play Wednesday when the Griffins host Lake Erie at Van Andel Arena.