Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Push Back!

For what it's worth, most Wings fans are trying to figure out what's going on. Flashes of brilliance, followed by total darkness. There is plenty of blame to go around, but lately, one or two mistakes seems to lead to a total collapse.
Up until a few games ago this team was always in it until the final buzzer had sounded. Being down by a goal, or even two goals, the team would claw their way back and make a game of it. Win or lose.

Now it seems, whenever an opponent plays hard on the puck and aggressively forechecks, the Wings just wilt, shrink, disappear. With the exception of just a few players, the Wings are soft, and easy to push around. 

This is unacceptable and needs to change.The only thing fans are asking for is some real push back, an honest effort, and of course, entertaining hockey. 

It's a Live Blog!

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Quite The Start For Lucas Raymond

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Lucas Raymond has been dazzling for the Red Wings, at times making it look easy in his first exposure to the NHL.

Here's an example of how well Raymond has adjusted to life in the world's best hockey league.

He has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his opening 19 games, leading NHL rookies. Raymond also had 18 points in 34 games with Frolunda HC in the Swedish Elite League last season before being shut down by elbow surgery.

Raymond is getting a great opportunity playing with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi this season. He's earned it with no signs of slowing down.

"He has a real mature game," coach Jeff Blashill said of the 2020 first-round pick, fourth overall, who is the front-runner for the Calder Trophy (NHL rookie of the year).

Just off the point-per-game pace, Raymond would be joining exclusive company if he were to keep it up as a rookie.

Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders) was the last player to do so  and the only one in the last 15 years.


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A Solid Season For Defensive Prospect Donovan Sebrango

from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Notes,

Detroit Red Wings prospect defenseman Donovan Sebrango posted a pair of assists in the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 5-4 win against the Texas Stars on Friday.

The two teams play again today.

DonovanSebrango, a third-round pick in 2020, is maturing into a player worth watching. He’s not going to be an elite puck moving blue liner. But he could become the dependable two-way guy you can win with. He doesn’t back down from anyone. After 13 games, he’s leading the Griffins with a +7 plus-minus.

He drew the Red Wings’ attention last season when he joined the Griffins a few months after he was drafted.  Not only did he look comfortable, he turned out to be quite useful for the Griffins. He’s still only 19 and could have 110-115 AHL games on his resume by the end of this season.

continue for NHL notes...

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Wings Need A Win

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The plan for the Detroit Red Wings is to mirror what they did two weeks ago, when they righted themselves at the tail end of a rough road trip.

They limp into Saturday’s matchup against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on an 0-3 free fall, having surrendered five goals on each of the stops in Columbus, Dallas and Las Vegas. They’re in a situation similar to the start of the month, when they capped a three-game winless streak on the road by rallying for an overtime victory at Buffalo, which propelled them onto a 4-1 streak.

Then they went on the road again and slipped.

“In this league, it can change fast, especially when you’re playing lots of games,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We have to earn that confidence by getting back to playing way better defensive hockey. In the end, we had plenty of chances to score (Thursday). But when you give up that many goals, you’re just never going to be able to overcome that, and if you do, it’s going to be once in a blue moon.

“We have to make sure that we earn that confidence back.”

Playing better defensively is a drum Blashill has beaten louder and louder.


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Jeff Blashill On Givani Smith

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The Wings would love to see that consistently from Smith.

“Givani’s had a number of games where in the offensive zone he’s done a good job,” Blashill said. “He still has to keep working on the other side of the ice. But (Thursday in Vegas) he was on the puck, he was physical.

"One thing Givani brings us that we don’t have tons of is big size. So against those real big defensemen, the corps in Vegas is real big and strong, and he’s able to create puck battle wins because of his size and strength and the way he plays.

"Givani has to find a way to do that on a night-to-night basis and then sharpen up a little bit at the other end. But so do a number of our guys."

more topics...

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Practicing In Arizona

Multiple reports, Moritz Seider is on the ice.

More coming if needed.

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Detroit’s Defense Is A Problem

from Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now,

“Statistically we’re one of the worst defensive teams in the league and we have to become a better defensive team,” Jeff Blashill said. “When you give up that many goals you’re just never going to be able to overcome that.

“We gotta get our structure back, we gotta get our habits back, specifically in D-zone coverage and track, sorting back into our end.”

Last season, while they were clearly suffering from a lack of scoring punch, as the season was progressing, the Wings were carving out an identity as a team that wasn’t giving up a ton. This season, with player personnel upgrades in goal, along the blueline and up front, the thinking was that the team would continue to take forward strides in this area of the game.

Instead, they’re getting further away from the objective of becoming a responsible defensive team.

Ongoing issues aren’t being cured. The Red Wings are still struggling mightily to make smooth clearances from their own end. They continue to allow free passage to opposing players through the neutral zone. Understanding defensive zone coverages seems to puzzle some of them.


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The Analytics Process

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

Jeff Blashill receives a report the morning after each Detroit Red Wings game. The information ranges from raw data to sophisticated statistics, and what the coach cares about most is scoring chances, a metric that is more complex than it might seem.

The first place his eyes go is the total scoring chances for each team. If he's looking at players, the first place his eyes go is the even-strength plus-minus in terms of scoring chances for each individual. Digging deeper, he can see breakdowns of scoring chances by situation (such as 5-on-5, power play and penalty kill), type (such as forecheck, rush and face-off) and grade (A or B).

"It is the No. 1 thing I go back and look at," Blashill said. "Did we out-chance them, or did they out-chance us? Did a certain player create chances or give up chances, and to what degree? Ultimately, that's really what the game is about."

Put aside the result. How was the process?

"The emotion of wins and losses cloud your judgment, and they cloud how you feel about how the game went," Blashill said. "I've used scoring chances lots to tell our team, 'Listen, we lost last night, but here's what the scoring chances were. If we do that [in the future], you're winning for sure,' and vice versa, 'Hey, we're winning right now, but we're getting out-chanced. If we keep doing this, we're not going to keep winning.'


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After A Loss In Las Vegas

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings’ defensive problems could be compounded if they lose Moritz Seider for any length of time.

Seider was hit on the side of his left knee with a shot with five minutes remaining in Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.

The 6-4 rookie defensemen went down in pain before being helped off the ice by trainer Piet Van Zant.

Coach Jeff Blashill did not have an update immediately after the game.

“Too early. I’m not certain,” Blashill said. “I didn’t even have a chance to talk to our trainer yet.”


from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

This wasn't a fun evening for the Red Wings in the entertainment capital of the world.

The Wings are leaving Vegas like so many other visitors, a little worse for wear, after losing 5-2 to the undermanned Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

Vegas scored four times in the second period, as the Wings' defensive issues continued to materialize at unfortunate times and the Wings (8-9-2) lost their third consecutive game on this four-game road trip, and fourth in the last five games overall.

"And we're getting good goaltending," forward Sam Gagner said. "It's just a scenario where we have to be better defensively. We talked about that being our identity and it has to be a lot better."


Below watch Sam Gagner and Jeff Blashill postgame and the game highlights.

Continue Reading »

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Quick Recap- Detroit Red Wings/Vegas Golden Knights

A short one tonight.

Detrot played a decent first period, had numerous scoring chances but the score was 0-0 after the first period.

Vegas scored four goals in period two, Detroit had one.

Nedeljkovic replaced Greiss to start the third period and allowed one goal.

Vegas wins 5-.

Detroit goals, Seider taking a puck to the knee area and team stats are below.

I'll have the talk after the game post in the morning.

Continue Reading »

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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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