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Abel to Yzerman

“A Noticeable Difference In The Red Wings This Season”

from Emily Kaplan of ESPN,

In August, Larkin said a handful of players returned to Detroit for optional practices, and by September, there were even more. Then came free agency in October, and Yzerman signed five veteran players -- goalie Thomas Greiss, forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Bobby Ryan, defensemen Jon Merrill and Troy Stecher -- then traded for longtime New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal.

Larkin was on a text chain with his two linemates, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. "It was just like, another great player, another great player," Larkin says. "And then Ty texted: Are the Red Wings a wagon now?"

Detroit is probably a bit away from wagon status, but there's a noticeable difference in the Red Wings this season. They split their first four games, but saw momentum halted with five players on the COVID-19 protocol list, and held out of action this weekend in Chicago (where they lost both games). Even still, there's a new swagger to the Red Wings. Detroit's goaltending is far improved (Jonathan Bernier and Greiss have combined for a .904 save percentage, a huge improvement on last season's .886 as a team) and there's more resolve (after being shut out in their opener, Detroit stormed back for a 4-2 win over a talented Hurricanes team in Game 2).

"The blue line -- those guys are always screaming for the puck, they want the puck," Larkin says. "They come to the bench, and they're letting me know, and they're letting guys know that we gotta talk. It makes everyone's life easier and I think that's something we were really missing last year. Those veteran guys who came from other teams have just been emphasizing talking and wanting the puck, and it's made a huge difference."

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Comments

ilovehomers's avatar

Larkin was on a text chain with his two linemates, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi.

Unfortunately not current

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/25/21 at 11:18 AM ET

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I don’t think that this article will age well.

Posted by Ventr on 01/25/21 at 12:25 PM ET

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Were not getting close enough to the crease and were not screening goalies.  Were also not keeping guys tied up or out of the way of our goaltender.  Were losing the traffic battles.  We can’t seem to get many screen goals or cleanup goals.  Everyone but Ryan seems to be waiting for the snipe.  Bert’s been good with catchem cheating or off guard shots too.  But we need more netfront on both ends.  D need to keep shots low and work on the shoot pass to hide attack lanes so the other team doesn’t just throw everyone towards the net.  Lots of little things for the guys to learn still.  Like manipulating coverage as well.

With 5 guys out its no surprise these areas got worse.  No excuse not to put in the effort though.  Have to forcheck harder, make the other D pay for taking their time, give them a little anxiety when they go back for the puck. 

Mantha is a team worst -5 on at .5ppg av.  Team isn’t good enough to have any passengers.  If you’re not scoring you should be making life hard for the other team at least.

Posted by ThatGuy on 01/25/21 at 12:36 PM ET

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Yep, some of these quotes are pre-Blackhawks series and then it’s
like the protocol list and last two games are pasted in as afterthoughts.

Not saying the sky is falling.

I think the veteran additions are positive - Namestnikov and
Merrill and Stecher and Greiss and to some extent Staal all came from
winning teams. Ryan is a character guy and mentor type who is obviously motivated.

It hurts to be missing five guys and then Helm.

But those two loses to Chicago are kind of disturbing.
And they represent 1/3 of a small sample. Chicago was arguably
the easiest opponent on paper the Wings will face.

Posted by lefty.30 on 01/25/21 at 01:18 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I would caution everyone about reading too much into the games here. While Chicago is supposed to be down this year on paper, they did finish the season last year, and they have a lot of players returning, though some new.

We’re returning about 1/2 of our roster from last season, had a limited camp, no preseason, lost 2 lines worth of players in one week, our younger players carrying the weight, some not enough (Mantha) some trying too much (Larkin), and that first few games of excited grinded into our first travel assignment.

I think we’re going to need to wait to see what these guys look like after 10 games. They’re supposed to better, but still not good.  The goal for this season is to have Helm and Staal have fantastic years and get moved, and see big steps Zadina and Ramussen if he sticks.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 01/25/21 at 03:05 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

After watching this game, I felt like I been through a time warp and was deposited in the middle of last season. 

Posted by WingDingy on 01/24/21 at 08:08 PM ET

This was from previous article. I had seen this headline and thought, “oh, boy, it didn’t seem like it in chicago.”

Posted by RWBill on 01/25/21 at 04:10 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0’s pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 01/25/21 at 03:05 PM ET

Yeah I agree although I’m not real optimistic.  Covid no preseason, a lot of new players, and a lot of other players removed for covid protocol already, still not good NHL talent top to bottom.  Willing to let them try to find some footing, but it’s still painful.  Hopefully they can all get healthy and sort out the best lineups and combos.  Then at least they will still be competitive most nights and win some of those.

Posted by RWBill on 01/25/21 at 04:19 PM ET

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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