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On Frans Nielsen’s belief that simpler, harder hockey will solve the Wings’ problems

MLive's Ansar Khan revisits Frans Nielsen's Locker Room Clean-Out Day comments this morning, noting that Nielsen believes that the Red Wings' current personnel can return to playoff form if they play simpler, harder hockey:

"It's been disappointing absolutely, but I think there are some really good pieces in here, so I think it's not like I feel like I'm going to come back after the summer and we're going to go through this again," Nielsen said. "I really believe this group can do something. We've just got to learn from this and figure it out. I think for the most part, some nights we basically got outworked, and that just can't happen in this league."

The prevailing sentiment from one of the team's veterans: They need more grit.

"We just got to bring a little more mean attitude and play harder and do it a little more simple sometimes," Nielsen said. "I know they always had a tradition of playing a lot of nice hockey here with skill guys, but I think we got to learn how to play the other side of it, too. ... It's a tough league and you have to pay the price every night. ... You can't skill your way through this league today. It's too hard."

Khan and Nielsen continue...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



I agree with what Frans is saying, but watching the playoffs, if anybody thinks we are just a couple of tweaks away is deeply misguided. On the other hand, who would have thought Hawks and Caps will start a combined 1 and 5.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/18/17 at 10:51 AM ET


Great, sign a few more soft undersized forwards, keep double shifting guys like Strahan that will solve our grit issue.

Posted by bababooey on 04/18/17 at 11:21 AM ET


Yesterday Toronto was losing 0:2, game over? No, they started hitting everything in site, got the crowd into it and Matthews scored right after that shift in which Toronto players had like 3-4 great hits.
Sadly we do not have even 1 player on our current roster to do that. Abby is still the best we have, but he will be injured more and more going forward at the age of 30. Glendening and Helm try to hit, but those hits have no effect. Sheahan does not touch anybody.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/18/17 at 11:26 AM ET


I can only partially agree with Nielsen. Simpler harder hockey will help, but with the personnel they have it will only get them part way. Blashill’s system would work just fine on some teams, but this isn’t one of them. Please get some more big body, aggressive players, but you can change the strategy to fit the players a whole lot quicker than changing out players to fit your system.

Posted by postman on 04/18/17 at 12:31 PM ET


The Wings desperately need to solve two problems, at least. The need to be able to forecheck the opposing team and they need to be able to handle the forecheck of the opposing team. The first takes forwards with speed and grit. The second take intelligent defensemen who can react quickly. Thw Wings don’t have much of either. Bertuzzi should help and I’m hoping Giavani Smith is another. On the defensive side, some players need more time to develop and the Wings must hope a top tier defenseman lands in their lap.

Posted by evileye on 04/18/17 at 01:02 PM ET


I was under the impression that when the Wings moved to the East it was the East who were going to have to change their game, not the Wings.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 04/18/17 at 01:11 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

simpler, harder hockey will solve the Wings’ problems

Well….That and scoring a power play goal….Oh say….15% of the time….

It’s a process….. sick

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/18/17 at 02:01 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Was Neilson talking directly to Nyquist, or did they put a cardboard cut out of Nyquist in front of him? Either way, hopefully Larkin and AA had their ears open too.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 04/18/17 at 02:37 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by evileye on 04/18/17 at 01:02 PM ET

Again, evileye with a spot on post.

I watch Toronto and see Babcock’s shoe print all over every blue buttcheek, board support in both phases. Babcock worked on that at almost every practice to the point of nausium for some of the younger players, but it is the key to playoff type hockey, and it was the key in the series thus far.

The wings, without much change in talent, you could argue with improved talent, slowly lost this attention to detail in the transition from Babcock to Blashill, so much so that Redmond sometimes wants to slam down his mic and go boot a tender Red&White; Cheek himself, and now we’re just left with hoping to muscling 1on1 (haha) or outskilling (haha 2x) off the boards and you can see where that ends up, in our net.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 04/18/17 at 02:42 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Not sure anyone should be surprised that Babcock has the leafs playing the capitals tough….

I mean , as wings fans, we saw this story before with Babcock coaching for and against the wings.

He outcoached Lewis?...When the ducks outworked the wings and with the oversized pads of Gigurre, and they beat a more talented wings team.

We saw Babs take the wings team and nearly upset the lightning and Blackhawks in the playoffs.

He definitely doesn’t get out coached or outworked.

I’m sure that’s why his message got a bit stale, from vets who didn’t want to work hard.

Not sure the leafs will win their series, but Babs has them playing his system.

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/18/17 at 03:03 PM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

Well, what we really need are tough dudes that can play.

This is why I consider Shanny the key piece that got us over the hump after massive disappointments in ‘95 and ‘96.

Remember the main piece we traded for Shanny? Yes, that would be one, Keith “Extra Soft Pillow” Primeau, a guy that was so tough he would regularly skate into the corners and fall down when the other team began bringing the body.

Shanny was a tough dude that could REALLY play, and that extra boost is what carried us to those Cups in ‘97 and ‘98. No way we get there with Primeau still on the roster.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Rochester, NY on 04/19/17 at 09:39 PM ET

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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.