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Notes: Wings pay price for Tuesday's game with hard skate Thursday

Larkin, Green, Daley and Vanek all miss practice; Trade deadline tough for Kronwall

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings knew what was coming after Tuesday's embarrassing 8-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

They had a day off Wednesday to marinate on what took place before returning to the ice Thursday for a practice filled with battle drills and a lot of skating.

Then Wings coach Jeff Blashill separated the players into three groups -- centers, wings, defensemen/goalies. Each group then skated and skated and skated a little more.

"That was a good one, yeah," alternate captain Niklas Kronwall said. "We got what we deserved. I think everyone knew it was coming. It was good."

Said fellow alternate captain Justin Abdelkader: "Everyone's trying to say the right things and making sure we go out and do the right things but it wasn't the case obviously. It's disappointing against a division rival, to give that kind of effort. For our fans that come with their families and pay their money to see the games, we give an effort like that, it's unacceptable."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "Regardless of the situation presented, you gotta make sure you go out and do your best."Abdelkader following today's practice:

Blashill believes his players got the message loud and clear.

"I didn't think we competed hard enough," Blashill said. "I like to use the word urgency over desperation but whatever word you want to use, I didn't think it was high enough. We missed assignments on people getting back to our net, I just think some of the simple principles of good hockey - stopping on people, stopping on pucks, winning puck battles, winning puck races and not letting people beat you back to the net. That was the basic principles of everything we did today."

For the players, it made things even worse that they had to sit with it since they have four days between games.

"Yeah, no doubt. A few of us were saying after the game, after these ones you wish we had a game the next day," Kronwall said. "You got some time to really go through what happened. But rightfully so. It wasn't a very good performance. It has to be a lot better than that."

The coaches have a different perspective.

"We got to do this today," Blashill said. "It's harder when you play two days later. So we got to make our point today."

While it's definitely not an excuse, there were some changes to the lineup Tuesday in that defenseman Madison Bowey was playing his first game with the Wings after just a few practices, Filip Zadina was playing only his second NHL game, Andreas Athanasiou was returning to center and Luke Witkowski was playing for the first time in 11 games and was at forward.

"I didn't think we were as crisp as a unit of five just in general as we normally would be," Blashill said. "It's what happens when you insert people, either new people or people in different spots, so we got to make sure we get that taken care of but we got to play the right hockey. It's critical for the last 18 that we play the right hockey. That's the No. 1 thing. I think if you play the right hockey for 18 games, you're going to win a lot of them, but you got to play the right hockey."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "It's not close to good enough. I don't believe they don't understand that, I think most of them do, but it can't be ok. It wasn't ok."Blashill wraps up today's practice day:

It was obviously not the introduction that the Wings wanted for Bowey, who was traded from the defending Stanley Cup-champion Washington Capitals last Friday.

"You want to show a good side and then that's what you're showing the new guy," Kronwall said. "The same thing with (Zadina). He gets called up and that's what he gets to see. It's not a very good example we set for these guys. So we gotta get back to just working hard. That's where everything starts."

With the lineup changes, it would behoove the Red Wings to talk even more when they're on the ice.

"I think communication is always paramount, but it certainly is even more," Blashill said. "I don't think enough younger players communicate enough. It's something that if you ask guys, (Chris Chelios) would always say that to me, if you ask Kronner, he'd say the same thing. Kronner communicates the most on the ice, that's why he's easiest to play with. You certainly have a whole bunch of guys that are in new spots or are new that you got to make sure are really talking."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Get to know Madison Bowey. 👇

MISSING PRACTICE: Dylan Larkin, Mike Green, Trevor Daley and Thomas Vanek missed Thursday's practice.

"Dylan, he was hurt a little bit at the end of the game there so he's questionable for Saturday," Blashill said. "I would say Vanek's questionable for Saturday, I'd say Daley's out for Saturday. I'd say Greener, he's got a little bit of an illness, I think he's expected to play on Saturday."

Vanek has missed the last two games with a hip flexor issue.

"I don't see putting him in a spot to potentially re-hurt it, so unless he shows up tomorrow, skates with the team and looks great, I'd anticipate Tuesday," Blashill said. "He skated today on his own but it would be hard for him to jump in and be ready to play Saturday."

Blashill said they would decide after Friday's practice if they need to recall a player from Grand Rapids, depending on the status of Larkin and Green.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: ������ ���Filip Hronek | GEICO TWITTERVIEW���

KRONWALL'S DEADLINE DAY: For Kronwall, Monday was a tough day personally after finding out Gustav Nyquist was heading to the San Jose Sharks in a trade.

"It's more than a teammate," Kronwall said. "He's become one of my better friends. We know the time comes every year. It's part of the business. But this is probably the first one that I lose one of my closest ones.

"It was tough. But that's the way it goes and I'm happy now that he gets an opportunity in San Jose. They didn't win the first game but it sounded like he had a decent game, a good start, and he'll have a good chance to win."

Kronwall said he has already spoken to Nyquist a few times.

On the flip side, there were teams that had expressed some interest in Kronwall, who has a modified no-trade clause.

"For one, it's extremely flattering," Kronwall said. "At the beginning of the year, that wasn't in my mind whatsoever. I was just trying to make sure I could play and make the most of it. The body's feeling pretty good. It's definitely flattering that people were interested, no doubt, but at the same time, like I told Kenny (Holland, general manager) here a few weeks ago, to me it means more - it's not if I want to go somewhere and win but I want to win with the Red Wings.

"It would've been a weird feeling, I think, putting on a different jersey. I think it's more than just collecting a paycheck. It's a way of life. It's something I've always put a high price on, to stay in Detroit for as long as I can. Thankfully, Kenny and the Ilitches are giving me that opportunity. I'm more than grateful that I'm still here, still part of this team."

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