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Wings Are Working On Fixing The Offense

from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,

The Wings continue to stand in last place in the league in shots per game at 24.3.

The Philadelphia Flyers lead the league in that category with 34.9 shots per game.

"We need to spend more time in their zone, create some O zone time because we get into their zone and as soon as we get there, they chip the puck out," Tatar said. "We have to hold on to it, create some chaos down there. We have to spend more time in the O zone, we know that for sure, and from the O zone time we can get more shots, obviously."

One area the Wings have worked on is being harder on the puck once it's in the offensive zone.

"As we’ve gone through the nine games I think five of the nine we’ve had greater zone time than we’ve spent in our own end," Blashill said. "But we gotta create more off of it and we’ve got to make other teams continue to defend so that they’re tired by the time they get the puck out, but also create offense out of it. I think we can still do a better job of that."

Abdelkader said they have to be able to maintain their speed throughout the game.

"I think we’re maybe a little slow to pucks at times," Abdelkader said. "We have to be more physical, keep our shifts short so we can go at a high tempo. I think sometimes we get stuck out there a little too long."

Another part of that is face-offs. The Wings are currently 25th in the league with a 47.5 face-off winning percentage.


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Post-practice articles: Regarding the Wings’ line shuffling; Wings frustrated with lack of offense

Updated at 2:25 PM: The Red Wings' practice on Thursday yielded the reuniting of the Larkin-Zetterberg-Abdelkader and Nyquist-Sheahan-Tatar lines, a bit of a surprise in that Jeff Blashill named Jimmy Howard his starter for Friday night's game vs. Ottawa, and a heavy emphasis on improving entries on the power play.

The Senators didn't reveal whether Craig Anderson or Andrew Hammond would start on Friday's game, but as Ottawa's coming off a 5-4 shootout win that snapped a 4-game winless streak, the Red Wings will have to match Ottawa's depseration if Detroit is to exit its stretch of losing 5-out-of-6.

MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with coach Blashill regarding the team's line shifting...

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Q and A with Darren Eliot spotlights Wings-related questions

The Muskegon Chronicle's Mark Opfermann spoke with Fox Sports Detroit's Darren Eliot regarding a variety of Red Wings and hockey-related topics:

Q. The Red Wings are off to a .500 start, how do you see the team right now?

A. I see them needing to grab hold of a little bit of an identity. I think it's time for some of the younger core guys that have been here a few years now, it's their team and they have to grab a bigger piece of that and establish that identity. They're going through a little bit of a transition phase, but part of that is who's going to establish that? (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Niklas) Kronwall are tremendous leaders, the organization is well established, but it's transition time and some of those younger guys have to step up and grab it and be the reason they're going to win.

Q. It's a contract year for Muskegon's Justin Abdelkader and he has to be considered one of those guys, right?

A. Yes. He's the perfect example for any player that has aspirations to play at a higher level. He's gotten better at something each and every year once he turned pro. He's worked his way into a position of prominence on that team and he wants to score. They need him to score now, but he's the type of player, if the puck is not going in the net, he's still doing a lot of things that help this team win hockey games.

Opfermann continues...

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Practice Tweets: Red Wings get back to work; Larkin back on top line, Howard starts Friday

Updated 6x at 12:38 PM with Howard starting Friday: This morning, the Red Wings got back to work ahead of Friday and Saturday's home-and-home series against the Ottawa Senators (who defeated the Calgary Flames 5-4 in a shootout on Wednesday), hoping to shake off what's become a 5-of-their-last-6-games losing/winless streak.

MLive's Ansar Khan first reported in...

Wings on ice for practice. Datsyuk skating again. Injured players Green, Quincey and Richards not skating.

With DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose following...

The #RedWings are on the ice this morning. Everyone who should be out here is practicing.

And the Wings posting a Vine video of practice:

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Jeff Blashill appears on Sirius XM Radio

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill appeared on the NHL on Sirius XM Radio this morning, speaking with Gord Stellick and Rob Simpson regarding the Wings' start, areas for improvement and more over the course of a 13-minute interview:

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The overnight report: On Larkin’s accommodations and prospect news

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

We know that Dylan Larkin will remain with the Red Wings past the 10-game mark that will burn a year of his entry-level contract, but the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that Larkin hasn't necessarily been told to "get a place":

If Dylan Larkin plays Friday night at home against Ottawa it’ll be his 10th game of the season and his entry-level deal will kick in.

“I haven’t heard anything,” said Larkin, who’s not staying at a hotel any longer. “I just try and play, have fun every day. I don’t really get caught up in that stuff that much.”

Blashill brushed off the question.

“That would be a question for Kenny (Holland),” Blashill said. “For us, it’s does he help us win games and so far I think you’ve seen he’s helped us win games and that’s the way I continue to evaluate it. I believe that’s the same way Kenny would think but I’ll let Kenny speak for himself.”

Larkin was busy on Wednesday night, however:

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Bob McKenzie On Petr Mrazek And Dylan Larkin

from Chris Nichols of Today's Slapshots,

Bob McKenzie was on Toronto’s TSN 1050 on Wednesday evening.

As part of a larger conversation on the Detroit Red Wings:

“They’ve got so many good young players. Dylan Larkin is going to be a star. I mean, Petr Mrazek has a chance to – and I say this, I’ve got to be careful how I say this – you see what Carey Price is doing for the Montreal Canadiens. I think there will be a point in time where Petr Mrazek might do the same sort of thing in terms of the athletic ability to dominate his position, when he gets older and more experienced, as what Price has been doing… but there hasn’t been enough consistency, and I think that’s something they’re working on.”

On Dylan Larkin, and how unusual it is to see the Red Wings put a player this young into the lineup:

“It gives you some idea of how good they think Larkin is. They won’t come out and say it publicly, but they think he’s got a chance to be a special player. Somebody who really has unbelievable leadership qualities.

“The unspoken thing in Detroit is that he might – and I say might because it’s too big a mantle to throw on anybody – but maybe he becomes Detroit’s Jonathan Toews.


Update: Here's the McKenzie interview:

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Keeping An Eye On The Wings

via Joshua Kloke of Sports Illustrated,

Though Petr Mrazek looked strong at times in Detroit’s 3–1 loss last night to Carolina on Tuesday night, his one big gaffe became a storyline. Mrazek came out of the net in the second period of a scoreless game to play the puck and inadvertently dished the biscuit to a streaking Victor Rask who, it should be noted, plays for the Carolina Hurricanes. Rask potted an easy goal.

Such things happen to goaltenders in the NHL from time to time. And Mrazek has looked pretty stable throughout the season thus far, posting a respectable .922 save percentage in five games in the hope of solidifying himself as the Wings’ no. 1 goalie.

After all the off-season drama of Mike Babcock leaving Detroit for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Wings are flying a bit under the radar and frankly haven’t looked as dominant as they often did under Babcock.

Theres always a learning curve to be expected with a new coach, but with only nine points through nine games and largely the same lineup that Babcock had last season, you have to wonder if Jeff Blashill is getting everything he can out of this squad. Miscues like Mrazek’s last night are the type of things that Babcock worked hard to eliminate. They might not be getting the headlines right now but how the Wings fare is a story to keep an eye on.

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Puck Management An Issue For The Detroit Red Wings

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

In addition to generating more offense and getting better play out of several forwards, the Red Wings must manage the puck better to reverse their 1-4-1 slide. That would certainly help their possession time.

"I think we're a team that historically, in Detroit and myself as a coach, wants to use the pop plays – by pop I mean pop it to the middle of the ice -- wants to go tape-to-tape," Blashill said. "You're going to have some turnovers but it's got to manageable and we got to get better at it. We can go back and rim (the puck) all night. I'm not sure our team's set up that way."

Blashill said of the mistakes: "Sometimes it's mental, sometimes it's confidence. Sometimes it's the guys away from the puck not doing the right job supporting. We'll continue to work on it in practice."

read on

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About the Wings’ connections to Hockey Fights Cancer

From DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji, discussing the Red Wings' personal brushes with cancer ahead of Hockey Fights Cancer night on Friday at the Joe:

When cancer strikes, it can often help to have a distraction. Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl discovered that the hard way. When Kindl was young, his mother, Jana, found out she had kidney cancer.

"It's not easy," Kindl said. "I was only 14 years old. On the other hand, I had the hockey so that kept me occupied even when our family was going through the tough time. Thank God I had the hockey, otherwise it would have been even more tougher on me."

Kindl saw how valiantly his mother fought the disease.

"She was battling through it for a while," Kindl said. "She was a very strong woman. It just got to the point where it all spread all over her body."

Now Kindl tries to help others battling cancer by giving them a break from the disease by hosting a cancer patient every home game.

"Whether they're going through therapy, I try to have them come down here for a game, give them a hat or a toque or any kind of souvenirs to make their life a little more enjoyable and try to put on a good show for them as well," Kindl said. "Of course it means a lot to me to try to put a smile on their face for a couple hours."


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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.



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