Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

What’s Next For Taro Hirose?

from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,

A move down to the Grand Rapids Griffins, whether temporary or not, did not come as a surprise to Taro Hirose.

Self-evaluation told him that.

"I think when you're not playing and not playing well, as I don't think I was, there's always the reality that you can get sent down," he said after his first game with the Griffins and in the AHL. "I'm just looking at it as a positive and trying to get better while I'm down here."...

It's uncertain what happens next. Up top, Justin Abdelkader might be ready to return from injury, which could leave both player in Grand Rapids. If not, one of them is expected to return.

Based on recent outings, Zadina would appear the frontrunner. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill had spoken about moving him to the first line and he had been practicing earlier this week on the power play unit.

Where could that leave Hirose? He said that's out of his hands.

read on

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Questions For Khan

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers some fan mail.

Q: Have you ever, in all your time reporting, seen a team cry out louder for new coaching? – Peter

A: You can make a strong case for Jeff Blashill being replaced. The Red Wings have the fewest points in the NHL and rank last in goals for, goals against and the power play. They have lost eight in a row in regulation and are winless in 10.  Coaches have been fired for less.

But this team is so thin on talent and skill that I don’t think it would make much difference who is coaching. Expectations were low entering the season. Blashill wasn't going to be judged as much on wins and losses as he was the team's compete level and growth of young players....

Q: (Andreas) Athanasiou is leading the league on the wrong side of the plus/minus stats. Will a change of scenery benefit him and the Wings if they get current or future help for him? – C Josefs

A: I think so. Athanasiou has been in the rumor mill before, notably during difficult contract negotiations that cost him the start of the 2017-18 season, but the Red Wings were right to keep him and were rewarded with a 30-goal season in 2018-19.

But while this season has been a struggle for virtually everyone on the roster, it has been particularly difficult for Athanasiou, who has five goals and 15 points in 28 games, along with an NHL-worst minus-31 rating.

more on each of the above questions plus more Q and A...

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The Grand Rapids Griffins Are Struggling Too

from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,

The Griffins are mimicking the Detroit Red Wings and that’s not good. Their losing streak reached six Wednesday with a 5-2 defeat at home to Chicago that dropped the AHL team to 9-13-1-1.

Both goals came in the third as Taro Hirose scored in his Griffins debut and Evgeny Svechnikov had a power play goal in the final minute.

“Right now it seems like we’re not finding ways to win," said captain Matthew Ford. “It seems like too often there’s a breakdown, something goes wrong and one thing leads to another.”...

The Griffins are at least relative newcomers to the doldrums. They started November in third place but haven't won since Nov. 20 and are now seventh in the Central Division.

read on

added 11:11pm, Post game interviews from the game tonight can be watched below. (Ford, Hirose and Simon).  Game highlights too.

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Ken Holland Says Respect Is The Key

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Steve Yzerman Will Be Watching Zadina And Hirose Tonight

added 4:31pm, below, find the after practice talk video.

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2020 Draft Rankings In December

I am putting this in A2Y and you should know why.

from Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet,

Here’s our December list of the top 31 NHL Draft prospects.

1. Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL): Mystery surrounding his absence from the CIBC Canada-Russia series along with an incident involving an official, have shown an edgier side.

2. Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury Wolves (OHL): Exhibits the ability to play in all three zones. Is extremely agile for his size, yet he has plenty of room on his frame to add strength.

3. Lucas Raymond, LW, Frolunda (SHL): Numbers playing against men (five points in 16 games) are mitigating due to lack of ice-time. Should excel once again at the world juniors, which would be a big confidence booster.

read on

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Practice Has Started

via Ansar Khan tweet,

lines and D pairs at practice:
Bertuzzi-Larkin-Fabbri
Athanasiou-Filppula-Glendening
Abdelkader-Nielsen-Helm
Erne-Ehn-Perlini
Nemeth-Hronek
Cholowski-Green
Biega-McIlrath
Ericsson-Bowey

added 11:59am, Khan...

power-play units in practice:
1. Bertuzzi (net front), Larkin (slot), Fabbri-Perlini (half walls), Cholowski (point).
2. Nielsen (net front), Filppula (slot), Hronek-Athanasiou (half walls), Green (point).
Perlini probably holding Zadina's spot, assuming he's back Sat.

added 12:14pm, Khan mentions a tweak to the power play...

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Wings Hit The “Reset Button”

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

So, as the Red Wings began a rare, four-day break between games Tuesday with an intense practice, it was a chance to “kind of hit the reset button,” forward Luke Glendening said.

“A good time to be together and just to get back to basics here,” Glendening said.

Several players after Monday’s loss to the New York Islanders, along with coach Jeff Blashill, talked about the need to work hard in practice this week — but also bring a level of fun, enthusiasm and enjoyment into the locker room.

Let’s face it, fun has been in short supply considering all the defeats.

But this week will be a good opportunity to loosen up a bit.

“For sure, it’s not easy when you’re losing every week to come in with a good attitude,” Glendening said. “Maybe these four days will be good for us in terms of just we don’t have any games and we can have some on the ice and have some fun together, and have renewed energy.”

continued

added 7:59pm, Video of post-practice talk is below.

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Zadina And Hirose Sent To Grand Rapids

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The Wings Are Practicing

added 3:21pm, Wakiji...

Abdelkader in practice today. Has been skating on his own.

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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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