Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Time To Call Him Captain Larkin

from John Niyo of the Detroit News,

He wore the losses about as well anyone could expect in a season that threatened to make history for all the wrong reasons.

So now it’s time to see how Dylan Larkin wears the captain’s ‘C’ in Detroit, where living up to history is part of the job description.

I realize that’s probably way down the offseason list of priorities for general manager Steve Yzerman and head coach Jeff Blashill, who’ll return for a sixth season behind the Red Wings’ bench. But in the absence of any real hockey here for several months to come, it’s one that was top of mind this week as the team and its leadership talked about what went wrong this past season — it was a long conversation, obviously — and where they’ll go from here.


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There’s Always Next Year

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Next season, whenever it’ll begin for the Red Wings, will be a big one for forward Evgeny Svechnikov and defenseman Moritz Seider.

Svechnikov, 23, is a 2015 first-round pick who has spent the majority of his professional time in Grand Rapids, in the minor leagues.

Svechnikov either stays on the Wings’ roster after next training camp, or will be lost on waivers. The Wings will likely keep him around, but it’ll be up to Svechnikov to carve out playing time.

“The first thing Svech has to do is find a way to earn his way on the team and earn his way into minutes,” Blashill said. “As he earns those opportunities, we can start seeing how high he can go (in the lineup), but you have to start by making the team and earning more minutes. Those aren’t handed out to anybody....

The Wings are hopeful Seider will be ready to step into the lineup next season.

“He had a real good year in totality,” Blashill said. “It was a learning year, ups and downs, and when you’re a defenseman it’s real hard. The experience he went through, especially for him because he wants to attack the game an in an offensive manner, and that’s awesome. But part of that is learning not to bite off more than you can chew.

“He has a chance to be a real impactful defenseman. Can he do it next year? I hope so. He might have as many as eight months to get himself prepared to improve his body and turn his body to an elite pro body.”

more on the Wings...

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Stream- Jeff Blashill And The Media

via Nick Cotsonika tweets,

Blashill said it means a lot to have Yzerman's support. He's had clear conversations with him about the parameters in which he works. The Red Wings are taking a long-term approach.

Blashill talked about the negatives, such as losing game experience, but also about the opportunity for strength, conditioning and skill development.

Blashill said Red Wings changed defensive zone scheme midseason. It's hard to change habits. It took a while, but he thought by the end of the year it was where they wanted it to be and set a building block for the future.

Below, watch the live stream late (my fault), but you can rewind.

Continue Reading »

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The Future Looks A Bit Brighter

from Davis Satriano of NHL.com,

Here is a look at what happened during the 2019-20 season for the Red Wings and why things could be better next season:///

What went wrong

Goaltending: The Red Wings allowed the most goals in the NHL (265) and per game (3.73), so it's no surprise they ranked last in team save percentage (.886). Jimmy Howard, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the season, was 2-23-2 with a 4.20 goals-against average in 27 starts including 0-18-2 in his past 20 decisions, so figuring out the goalie situation will be important.

Special teams: Detroit did not perform well on the power play or the penalty kill, which cost them games. They ranked 29th in the League on the power play (14.9 percent) and last on the penalty kill (74.3 percent). Combine that with the fact that they took the fewest shots on goal per game in the League (27.1) and allowed the fifth most (32.8) and it's not hard to see why they were on the outside looking in.

No offense: With 142 goals scored in 71 games, Detroit was the lowest scoring team in the NHL, averaging two per game. They scored one goal or fewer 30 times and were shut out seven times.

Reasons for optimism

Yzerman as GM: The Red Wings legend should fare better in his second season as general manager and has shown the ability to turn teams around.


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Slowly Headed In The Right Direction

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

Yzerman seemed mildly disappointed the NHL didn’t alter its draft lottery June 26. Despite posting the worst record, by far, the Wings have only an 18.5-percent chance of landing the top pick. The prize is expected to be forward Alexis Lafreniere, and although the Wings have picked sixth, sixth and ninth the past three drafts, they haven’t gotten a shot at a generational talent. They do have 10 picks, including seven in the first three rounds.

Ultimately, that’s where the future lies, in the uncertainty of youth and the unknown of draft picks. Sprinkling in a capable veteran or two with modest contracts makes sense. With the Wings idled perhaps for months, and training arrangements unclear, young players won’t necessarily get the on-hand guidance they need. In that regard, it’s a bad time to be a bad team.

“The young guys that are motivated are gonna figure out a way to get it done,” Yzerman said. “And part of it is, we’re gonna learn who really wants to be a hockey player. The ones who truly don’t, they’ve got as a good a reason as ever to not train right now. A lot of the onus is on the kids’ motivation.”

That sounds like a warning shot, different than the warming shot a year ago. Yzerman has watched and surely winced. I suspect the next step, whenever the pandemic allows, will be a bit more forceful.


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Video- Steve Yzerman Meets With The Media

It says stream on the site and live, but this did take place a few hours ago.

You can rewind if you wish and I will keep an eye on it to make sure it is available after it completes.

Points of the video, no reason to make a head coaching change and Mantha and Bertuzzi will be signed.

added 3:48pm, the video now starts at the beginning.


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Steve Yzerman Today

Steve Yzerman held a Zoom conference call with the media today.



Yzerman said his feelings haven't changed on Blashill. "I have no plans on making a coaching change at this time."

Yzerman reiterates that it's unfair to judge Blashill. "We need to improve the team."

added 1:22pm,


more if needed...

added 1:35pm,

Continue Reading »

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No More Speculation Regarding The Draft

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Of most importance Tuesday for the Wings, in terms of NHL news, were the details of the draft lottery to be held June 26.

And that also was mildly disappointing for the Wings.

There was rampant speculation earlier in the month about instituting a different lottery format, which for the Wings, would have given them an over 50% chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick — and at worst getting the No. 2 overall selection.

But that plan was scrapped, along accelerating the draft to early June — although the lottery was modified slightly from its current format.

The Wings still have an 18.5% of winning the lottery, but Ottawa has a 25% given it has the 2nd worst record (13.5%) and San Jose’s pick (the Sharks had the 3rd worst record, and an 11.5% chance of winning the lottery).

The Wings have a 16.5% chance of drafting second, 14.4% chance at drafting third and 50.6% chance of drafting fourth.

The eight teams that lose in the in the first-round play-in round will also take part in the lottery. The NHL will use placeholders for those teams in the June 26 lottery, designating them as teams A-H.


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A Good Sign For Jeff Blashill?


I'm waiting until after Yzerman talks before commenting.

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On To Next Year

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The Red Wings' regular season is done and they can now prepare for the draft lottery.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday the league will return sometime after July to a 24-team playoff format — the top 12 teams from each of the Eastern and Western conferences playing in two hub cities that are yet to be determined.

Bettman set no exact dates for a return.

With no regular season to resume, general manager Steve Yzerman can now officially prepare for the offseason and issues to tackle, with the future of coach Jeff Blashill chief among them.

As for the draft lottery, it will take place June 26, the date of the original Entry Draft was expected to take place.

To be sure, it's a complicated process.


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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com


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