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Red Wings-Blues quick take: ‘blue collar’ work ethic delivers win for Mrazek, Wings

Updated with highlights at 11:39 PM: The Detroit Red Wings realized that they couldn't out-check or out-hit the big, bad and mean St. Louis Blues on Thursday, so the Wings out-Blued 'em.

The slightly bipolar Wings displayed an absolutely sterling work ethic in plain old out-battling, out-working, out-hustling and out-mucking St. Louis, showing a surprising willingness to dump and chase the puck to bang Blues defensemen's bodies and showing a smart understanding of the Blues' defensive style, utilizing short instead of long passes to send 5 men into the sea of Blue...

And it was the "bottom six" who broke through, and Petr Mrazek who carried the day, with the Wings winning 5-1 and Mrazek stopping 27 of 28 shots for his first NHL win in his first NHL game.

The Wings received balanced scoring, a relatively balanced work ethic and a "blue collar" work ethic to take the second of three February meetings between the two teams, and I'm more interested in hearing what you have to say about people like Jakub Kindl, Danny Cleary and Cory Emmerton scoring and what you think about Mrazek's performance--keeping in mind that one game is only one game, and that the Wings have two more to play this weekend against Edmonton and LA before welcoming the Blues to Joe Louis Arena next Wednesday.

There's something to be said for the lack of any standard of officiating as well, especially when the Blues went headhunting and Johan Franzen bit back with a justifiable spear...But again, what did you think about this one? I liked what I saw, but I think this is just a step in the right direction which must be built upon on Saturday and Sunday...and of course carried to a logical conclusion with a third straight win over St. Louis next Wednesday.

Over to you...

Statistics:

Shots 29-27 Detroit overall. The Wings out-shot St. Louis 12-9 in the 1st, 15-8 in the 2nd, and both Mickey Redmond and I agree that the 10-2 shot advantage for the Blues in the 3rd was...suspiciously "home cooking" in terms of numbers.

The Blues went 1-for-3 in 5:15 of PP time, but went 0-for-1 in 52 seconds of 5 on 3 time; The Wings went 0-for-1 on their only power play.

Mrazek stopped 26 of 27; Elliott stopped 24 of 29.

The 3 stars, per the "St. Louis Media," were Drew Miller, Petr Mrazek and Cory Emmerton.

The Wings' goals: Cleary (1) from Tatar (1) and Abdelkader (1);

Kindl (1) from Emmerton (1) and Miller (1);

Emmerton (1) from Tootoo (1) and Miller (2);

Brunner (5) from Ericsson (3) and Zetterberg (9);

Filppula (3), unassisted.

Faceoffs 33-31 St. Louis (48% won by St. Louis);

Blocked shots 14-7 Detroit;

Missed shots 14-11 St. Louis (total attempts 55-47 St. Louis);

Hits 20-9 St. Louis;

Giveaways 8-4 St. Louis;

Takeaways 9-5 St. Louis.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 11-and-11 (50%); Datsyuk went 8-and-6 (57%); Abdelkader went 5-and-4 (56%); Emmerton went 4-and-8 (33%); Filppula went 1-and-2 (33%); both Cleary and Franzen went 1-and-1 (50%).

Shots: Cleary led the Wings with 4 shots; Kindl, Emmerton, Zetterberg and Filppula had 3 shots; Datsyuk, White, Tatar, Brunner and Franzen had 2; Tootoo, Bertuzzi and Ericsson had 1.

Blocked attempts: Filppula fired 3 shots into Blues players; Kindl, Brunner, Ericsson and Franzen had 1 shot attempt blocked.

Missed shots: White missed the net 3 times; Kindl, Cleary, Datsyuk, Miller, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Kronwall and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Lashoff led the team with 3 hits; Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Tootoo, Quincey and Franzen had 1.

Giveaways: Kindl had 2 giveaways; Bertuzzi and Ericsson had 1.

Takeaways: Abdelkader, Lashoff, Brunner, Quincey and Zetterberg had 1 takeaway.

Blocked shots: Ericsson blocked 3 Blues shots; Kronwall and Franzen blocked 2; Cleary, Datsyuk, White, Miller, Tatar, Lashoff and Zetterberg blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Abdelkader took a minor penalty; Franzen took a major for boarding and a game misconduct, and the team took a too many men penalty.

Plus-minus: The Red Wings finished at a collective +24. Bertuzzi was the only Wing who was even. Kindl, Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Tatar, Lashoff, Brunner, Zetterberg, Filppula, Kronwall and Franzen finished at +1; White, Miller, Tootoo, Emmerton and Ericsson finished at +2; Quincey finished at +3.

Points: Emmerton had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Miller had 2 assists; Kindl, Cleary, Brunner and Filppula had goals; Abdelkader, Tatar, Tootoo, Zetterberg and Ericsson had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 24:03 played; White played 20:22; Lashoff played 20:18;

Ericsson played 19:34; Zetterberg played 18:44; Datsyuk played 18:21;

Filppula played 17:56; Kindl played 17:33; Quincey played 17:19;

Brunner played 17:04; Franzen played 16:57; Cleary played 14:27;

Tatar played 14:15; Abdelkader played 13:38; Bertuzzi played 12;18;

Miller played 10:52; Tootoo played 9:13; Emmerton played 8:31.

 

Via Paul, I was actually proud of Franzen for this:

Update: Here's a slate of highlights from the Wings' website...

Via RedWingsFeed, Cory Emmerton spoke to the NHL Network after the game...

 


And We All Bleed Red on YouTube posted Mrazek's pre-game interview from Fox Sports Detroit:

 

Pat him on the head!
 

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Bugsy's avatar

same old, same old this season—general rules for the season
1. Wings can’t ease their way into a game, flip the switch, whatever you want to call it. It pretty much has to be on from the start.
2. The Wings go as far as their bottom 6 play (just like the Tigers will only go as far as slots 6-9 in their batting order will carry them this year).
3. Trust the system, trust the system and outwork the other team with smart play.
Voila, victory!
Agree?

Why do I get the sense that we’ll be watching in March wondering it they can sneak in like the Kings and just hope they’re hot by the time they get (hopefully) into the playoffs?

Posted by Bugsy on 02/07/13 at 11:51 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

“Slightly bipolar” may put you in the running for understatement of the year George!

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 02/08/13 at 12:01 AM ET

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Ericsson looked good.
I thought Kindl did as well. Another best game of the year for him as far as I’m concerned.
I thought Cleary looked better, but not worth his 2.8m/yr.
Tootoo looked pretty good handling the puck as well. Didn’t know her had much skill other than fighting.

Posted by teldar on 02/08/13 at 12:03 AM ET

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I thought the bottom 6 looked better than st louis’ bottom 6, and their energy carried the team.  Maybe the Helm comment pissed them off a bit, and they wanted to show their worth. the teams top six about cancelled each other out.  Ericson, White and Kindl looked pretty good, Lashoff and Kronwall made to many errors, and Q ...was Q.

Mrazek looks like he belongs, and Jimmy will probably feel the heat in a year or two, if not sooner.

There were still too many lackadaisical passes in their own end, and skating themselves into a trap.  I wish that Franzen had dropped his gloves and beat the tar outta Perron instead of the spear, but a response is good.  Look out Oilers PO’ed Mule coming at ya!

Posted by akwingsfan on 02/08/13 at 12:39 AM ET

calquake's avatar

The slightly bipolar Wings displayed an absolutely sterling work ethic in plain old out-battling, out-working, out-hustling and out-mucking St. Louis, showing a surprising willingness to dump and chase the puck to bang Blues defensemen’s bodies and showing a smart understanding of the Blues’ defensive style, utilizing short instead of long passes to send 5 men into the sea of Blue…

You and I are on the same page George.  I believe the Wings road to success goes through Hustleville and Hardworkisstan.  If the 3rd and 4th lines can find a way to play like they did tonight the Wings will make the playoffs.  Cleary, whom I have been very hard on, looked like the Danny Cleary of a few years ago.  Emmerton, Miller and Tootoo played a nearly perfect game for their line.  The team is still too schizophrenic for my tastes but at least they have a blueprint for success if they follow it.

Posted by calquake on 02/08/13 at 12:50 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’m a bigger fan of, “Easywinsville,” but I think that work ethic is what separates this team’s best, dominant efforts from its middling, “Who the *#$%@& are these guys and why do they seem to think they can’t play without Nick Lidstrom in the lineup?” egg-laying affairs.

Work ethic has to be where it’s at, and scoring balance is gonna tell the tale. Of course Zetterberg, Datsyuk and now Brunner are likely to average about a point per game, with Kronwall, Filppula and now Franzen not far behind, but from there? If there’s a big cliff in terms of collective production, then the shit’s gonna hit the fan.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/08/13 at 12:54 AM ET

perfection's avatar

hey Danny Cleary, welcome to the 2013 hockey season. first game I noticed you so I assume you just left the KHL or something? anyway, good to have you back. you looked good out there, like you maybe are at game speed. congratulations Danny.

Kindl was good, but I actually thought he started kind of weak and got better. the healthy scratches kind of showed at first. I really wish Babs would just let him play night in and night out. I don’t think Huskins is that significant of an upgrade, though I realize he brings a different skillset and experience to the table. Still, Kindl’s been good and now’s the year to see what he can do. SO PLAY HIM.

and I thought Mrazek was berries out there… boisenberries to be specific

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/08/13 at 01:27 AM ET

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A few general notes:

-Four or five more of these starts and Howard isn’t going to lose money in 2 or 3 years… he’s going to lose it right away.  I’m not joking.  The one area where Detroit has been more than willing to turn the job over to a young player is in net.  Osgood started a lot as a rookie, and then Howard cleanly beat Osgood.  If Mrazek can do the same in turn… poof!  There goes Howard’s leverage with the team.  ‘Mrazberry’ for the win.

-‘Work ethic’ is one of the most over-used and under-comprehended term in pro sports.  Does anyone really think the Wings, as a team, try hard one night but not the next?  I believe there are players who, on the whole, give less effort than others.  I do not believe that teams, as a whole, moderate their level of effort from game to game or week to week.  What is happening for Detroit is that they are getting healthier, which means better.  Some games in a compressed season they are going to be on dead legs.  In others, not.  It’s going to be completely impossible to know.

-George’s comment on depth scoring is correct.  If Detroit can consistently get it they’ll be consistently competitive.  If they can’t, they won’t.

-Probably Kindl’s best game as a Wing.  He has a short window before Colaiacovo returns to string a few of these together and beat out at least Huskins for IT.

-From the ‘hey, if that was Detroit we’d be freaking out department’, St. Louis has lost their last two games 6-1 and 5-1 at home to division rivals in Nashville and Detroit.  If that had happened here people would be calling for Holland and Babcock to be fired.  And, oh yeah, the Blues have lost their last three by an aggregate 16-5.  And they have the absurdly hot Ducks up next.  And then LA.  And then a Detroit/Calgary/Vancouver 3 in 6 day roadie.  The moral of the story?  This season is really freaking strange.  Don’t try to figure it out.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/08/13 at 02:17 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

and what you think about Mrazek’s performance—keeping in mind that one game is only one game

I’ll jump on this one, because it’s all I really saw this game.  I kept an eye on this kid when the puck was anywhere in our zone, and I really like what I saw.  He’s springy - a very quick character.  He moves like a bird - one pose to another with very little time in between moves.  Well positioned for a 20 year old, he didn’t hide in the net and his pads or glove were always in the right place before a shot.  He displayed a little of that Czech swagger that I love to see.  One of his favorite players is Hasek, so I’ll forgive the other two (MA Fleury & some guy named Roy), and I can’t help but think he was trying to channel the spirit of the Dominator just a little in his first time out; but that could be wishful thinking.  I wish FSD showed his celebration after the fourth (fifth?) goal. 

But when it came to the saves, his pads & stick were either in the right position in the first place or his glove hand was moving faster than my eyes can catch in HD.  Very few rebounds.  The only goal scored on him was a 2nd or possibly 3rd chance where he had to commit to the original shooter and had no defensive coverage in a 60 degree swath of crease.  I know one game is only one game, but there wasn’t a moment in the game where I was embarrassed about his play.

I think this is a guy to cheer for.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 02/08/13 at 03:12 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

(disclaimer: Howard is the top netminder on my fantasy team and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.)

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 02/08/13 at 03:21 AM ET

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Does anyone really think the Wings, as a team, try hard one night but not the next?

No.  Nobody in the world really thinks that.

Posted by Garth on 02/08/13 at 08:52 AM ET

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No.  Nobody in the world really thinks that.

Yikes.  I take you out of the box and that’s the post which greets me?  Oy vey.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/08/13 at 10:29 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/08/13 at 09:29 AM ET

My GF’s grandmother says Oy vey all the time.  Reminds me of her.

Mrazek’s performance probably has more impact of Gustavsson.  If we’re still looking for top 4 D an NHL goalie will go a long ways in a package for one.  Babs likes him, we’ll see how he does the next game and compare the two but he’s got great habits and Hippy Dave nailed a lot of it.  He tracks the puck VERY well, he stays straight up, lateral movement was good, stick handling was GREAT.  He had one flub but it was out of hesitation.

BTW HD, work ethic and compete level are general terms coaches use for moving your feet, communicating, finishing checks, wearing down the other team.  If the Wings bottom 6 put in the same work ethic you do TROLLING we’d be 8-0.

Player I thought had a GREAT game was Ericsson.  You didn’t notice him for all the right reasons.  But he also really played his size.  Every forward who went against him got manhandled.  Loved his post-net scrum for extra whacks at the puck.  Didn’t rush the play, always in a position to leave his partner an out.  Just did an outstanding job that game.  He’s been good all season though.

I thought Pav looks frustrated out there though, even though he did some good things and hes’ getting points, he just looked frustrated to me.  Like he wasn’t able to do what he wanted to do several times.  I dunno, pointless really.

Awesome game though.  And i was the exact same thing about Tats and Clears.  Tats does a lot of the work Cleary usually does and he’s quicker on the puck and stronger on his stick.  Actually made a pretty good combo and probably a better compliment to eachother right now.  Wouldnt be surprised to see Tatar end up with pav once he’s more established a la Cleary.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 02/08/13 at 02:20 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

A few more quotes on “work ethic” from January 20 at Mlive.com:
“We have to be way more competitive than we were,’’ Babcock said. “We didn’t have much structure and much battle in us. It was disappointing. It was pretty easy to see and it didn’t feel very good to be a player or a coach, a manager, probably an owner.’‘

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall believes his team will learn a lot about itself by how it responds.

“Compete harder. Just play harder,’’ Kronwall said. “I think everyone in here is pretty ashamed of their effort.

“A lot of things were really bad. Doesn’t matter what you do structurally when you’re not there. We were a step behind all game.’‘

This sounds like work ethic to me,...
I’m not saying the team (or any team) ever intends to have flat games, so to speak, but it happens in all sports, and what I’ve been thinking all season was if the Wings have less talent, you have to do more with the talent you have, and in most sports, that means (smartly) outworking the other team. I’ll stop.  A weekend sweep is what we’ll hope for next.

Posted by Bugsy on 02/08/13 at 03:39 PM ET

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Mrazek’s performance probably has more impact of Gustavsson.

Gustavsson’s signed for next year.  Howard isn’t.  Gustavsson’s not an NHL starting goalie.  Howard is.

Remember, this is all predicated on the notion that Mrazek rings up another 4+ really solid starts and gets his foot in the door.  If that ends up being the case is Holland really going to go heavy on either term or salary for Howard?

No way.  Mrazek playing at a high level dramatically impacts Howard’s next deal.  It doesn’t have any real impact on Gustavsson’s.

work ethic and compete level are general terms coaches use for moving your feet, communicating, finishing checks, wearing down the other team.

“‘Work ethic’ is one of the most over-used and under-comprehended term in pro sports.”

If the Wings bottom 6 put in the same work ethic you do TROLLING we’d be 8-0.

Hey-o!

I thought Pav looks frustrated out there though, even though he did some good things and hes’ getting points, he just looked frustrated to me.

TROLL!!!!!!!!

A few more quotes on “work ethic” from January 20 at Mlive.com:

Exactly.  So far the term ‘work ethic’ has now been extended to include:

-Competitive level.
-Structure.
-Battle.
-Being a step behind.
-Moving your feet.
-Finishing checks.
-Communicating.

Anything else?  Maybe making a solid ham sandwich?  Does this magical term ‘work ethic’ apply equally to guys who are more highly skilled or do you have to play like a checking line forward in order to have ‘work ethic’?

It’s a silly term that’s misused so badly it’s almost meaningless.  It’s now a catch all dust bin to explain away any real or perceived shortcoming of a team or a player.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/08/13 at 04:22 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Honestly, I think the truth is somewhere in between on work ethic. It’s not so extreme or black and white as tried hard or not tried hard, but if player A’s skills are the same from game to game, for decades the players in any sport distinguish between (rightly or wrongly) when they didn’t perform well vs. when they weren’t working as hard (e.g., a pitcher has a few MPH slower fastball vs. not concentrating on what pitch he can get the batter out with). Fatigue makes it inevitable that effort isn’t as good every night, but the concern about the Wings that Babcock and others brought up is why the Wings keep falling behind. If we assume the skills suddenly don’t erode from one game to the next, one could get picky and define “effort” as finishing the check, diving for shots, making crisp line changes, or the great Zetterberg empty net goal in the past week,  vs. “skills off” such as shooting wide of the net more (where it’s a question of the skill) or making fewer saves because one’s vision is off.
It’s certainly possible as you say, that players/coaches have the term as a “cover all reasons we lost” bag, but when things like the Zetterberg goal, Columbus beating the Wings soundly, or when the Wings get off to such a good start last night vs. the previous games, one has to think about “effort” as a possible explanation, even if the term is way overused—and that I’ll agree with you on.

Good grief, too many words. I’ll stop.

Posted by Bugsy on 02/08/13 at 05:44 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.