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Red Wings-Jets game-day articles: Wings on the challenges the Jets present; HSJ on Zetterberg

Updated 5x at 2:28 PM: The Red Wings "took an optional" morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Winnipeg Jets (7:30 PM EST on FSD/TSN3/97.1 FM), and after their skate, they spoke with MLive's Ansar Khan regarding the challenges which the Jets present:

The Jets are (17-6-4) tied with Tampa Bay for the most points in the NHL (38). The Red Wings, 0-4-3 in their past seven, have been outscored 15-2 in their past five periods.

"They've got some real high-end (players) at each position," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "(Goaltender) Connor Hellebuyck, who I had at the World Championships (for Team USA), is playing really well and I think has really improved his game. But they got some real high-end up front and some real high-end on the back end.

"They're really pressuring the puck well and not really having to play a whole bunch of defense. They had the puck almost the whole game (in Sunday's 5-0 victory at Ottawa). Most of the time Winnipeg has their opponents on their heels. We got to put them on their heels, otherwise it'll be a tough night."

The Jets are led up front by Blake Wheeler (seven goals, 35 points), Mark Scheifele (14 goals, 34 points) and Patrik Laine (13 goals, 21 points). Dustin Byfuglien anchors their big, mobile defense. Hellebuyck is 15-2-3, with a 2.31 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

"They are playing really fast hockey right now and they are a big team," Detroit's Tomas Tatar said.

As the Wings attempt to snap a 7-game losing streak, Tatar told Khan that the team has to "stick with it" this evening...

"If you play your best and you just don't get a bounce your way, I think everybody will be fine with it," Tatar said. "It's just we can't play the way we've played the last few games. We weren't battling enough. Obviously, it's a big thing when you get scored against to kind of stay with it and play the same way, the system. Obviously, it's huge when you lead, but sometimes, the game will go against you, so you just have to stay with it."

And the Free Press's Helene St. James discussed Henrik Zetterberg's goal and point-scoring drought with both coach Jeff Blashill and Zetterberg himself:

As the captain of the Detroit Red Wings, his offensive struggles have come as his team is trying to emerge from its own slump. Entering Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets at Little Caesars Arena, Zetterberg had not scored in 20 games, and he had just seven assists during that stretch. He’d averaged two shots on net through the previous five games.

“Z knows that the only way to get himself into a better spot production-wise is just to stay with it and not cheat and not sacrifice the rest of his game,” coach Jeff Blashill said after the morning skate. “He has still been a good player. Obviously we need him to produce, he wants to produce. He’s still been very good defensively, he still gets lots of minutes because of that.”

Blashill will pull aside a young player and encourage him if he is struggling; it’s a little different with a veteran. In Zetterberg’s case, Blashill said the coaching staff will look at video and see if there’s any pointers that could help. There isn’t so much a concern about Zetterberg lacking in confidence, not with his experience.

“He’s been a winning hockey player a long time,” Blashill said. “He knows what to do.”

Zetterberg has been open about how much it bothers him not to be scoring - but he also knows there’s only one way to move forward.

“When you go through tough times like this, don’t doubt yourself or cheat,” he said. “I know it maybe sounds boring, but that’s what you have to do. Try to get into the tough places and eventually the puck will hit you and go in, and that’s all you need to get going again. For me, it’s just trying to stay positive and do all the little things right.”

St. James posted a video of Blashill discussing Zetterberg's struggles:

Meanwhile, the Jets' morning skate is just wrapping up, and the Jets' website posted a clip of Tyler Myers speaking with the media...

Illegal Curve's David Minuk also filed a Jets morning skate report:

Morning skate notes:

Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun is down in Detroit and it looks like Kyle Connor is good to go and will be back in the lineup.  Ken also indicated that Connor Hellebuyck was the first goalie off the ice and will get the start in his home state of Michigan.

Jets goalie Steve Mason joined his teammates on the ice midway through morning skate according to Brian Munz of TSN 1290 Winnipeg.

Jets projected lines, D Pairs and  starting goalie:




Minuk continues with morning skate audio...

And if you missed it: Forbes has posted its list of NHL team valuations, and the Wings are up 12% to $700 million, still 9th in the NHL:


Update: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan filed a morning skate update which includes the following note about the Wings' lack of confidence...

“One thing to me that’s a real sign is when the puck is a hot potato, you’re not playing with any confidence,” coach Jeff Blashill said Tuesday morning, “because when you’re not playing with confidence you don’t want to turn the puck over – so you just throw it away because you don’t want to turn it over.”

Blashill was quick to point out that’s not the ideal solution.

“The solution is to get your butt out and take that extra second and if you have to eat it (the puck), eat it, but never throw it away. Never have it be a hot potato. Put it (the puck) in a safe place, make a hard play when you have to, but don’t just throw it away.”

The Red Wings have had difficulty countering adversity, in particular during the last three losses – against Los Angeles, and the last two games, both losses to Montreal.

When the Kings or Canadiens scored, they scored again quickly, and just like that, had assumed control of the game with the Red Wings never able to reverse the momentum.

“There’s going to be times when they’re (an opponent) going to dictate play,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “That’s just the way a hockey game goes. We have to go out there and, when things aren’t going our way, bend but don’t break.”

And in the FYI department:

The Red Wings didn’t recall anyone from minor-league affiliate Grand Rapids to fill the roster spot vacated by the trade of forward Scott Wilson, but could by the end of the week.

General manager Ken Holland wants to give some NHL experience to several Griffins players.


Update #2: Here's the Winnipeg Sun's Ken Wiebe's game-day report:

It’s the Jets first visit to the Little Caesars Arena and it will be a special game for several players with Michigan connections, including Connor, Jacob Trouba, Andrew Copp and Connor Hellebuyck, who will start in goal.

“It’s a little different,” said Copp. “I grew up going to The Joe and playing at The Joe so many times, from youth hockey to pro, so it holds a special place. But this is a great new rink and I’m looking forward to tonight.”

“It’s a big change. I spent a lot of time in the other building,” added Jets head coach Paul Maurice. “It’s really impressive. There’s a great slant to the bowl, so there’s a lot that looks reminiscent to (Joe Louis Arena). But it looks new and smells new.”

The Jets (17-6-4) continue to battle with first overall in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning, are coming off consecutive victories on home ice and looking to start a three-game road trip on a positive note.

“We don’t expect it to be easy, it’s never going to be easy,” said Trouba. “Every team is good in this league and can win on any given night. We’ve got to continue to bring our game. We’ve liked our starts. We need to keep doing that and keep playing the same type of style we have been.

“We try to play a consistent game and when we do that, we’re going to win more than we lose. We’re confident in that game.”

Jimmy Howard starts in goal for the Red Wings, who have lost three consecutive games and will be looking to regroup after getting blown out 10-1 by the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

“You can’t read into it too much, but we know they’re going to come out ready to go,” said Copp. “It’s going to be a huge test for us. Going east was a little tough for us last year. In the Eastern Time Zone, we weren’t very good. We’ll concentrate on today and being sure we’re ready to go right at the start of the game.”

Wiebe continues while listing probable Wings and Jets lines, and he posted a video of Paul Maurice's comments.

Update #3: From WXYZ's Brad Galli:

If you're one for masochism...

Update #4: Among DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji and Arthur J. Regner's notes:

It's not a secret Saturday's shellacking in Montreal has not set well with the Wings. One player was especially miffed because he grew up in Detroit and understands what it means to be a Red Wing.

"You can say whatever you want to say," Danny DeKeyser said on Monday. "But until things change it's going to be the same until we go out and play better and win a game We're playing two really good teams this week, but in today's NHL everybody is good. It's so even you have to go out there and compete every night and play. So, whether it's the first team in the league or the last team in the league, if you don't compete you're going to get your lunch handed to you."  

DeKeyser missed 17 games with a broken bone in his ankle and has struggled since he returned to the lineup. In the seven games since he came back, DeKeyser is pointless and a minus-9. For the season, he's played in 10 games has not registered a point and is minus-10.

"It's been about two weeks or so (since his return on November 19, versus Colorado) I'm back in to it now and playing," he said. "I just wish we could win a couple games here and get the guys' confidence to get going a little bit.

"We are definitely better than what we've showed lately. We have tons of great players in this room we have to come together and play together as a team. Sometimes you have to go out there and not think and just play. That's the biggest thing for us, just go out there and play hockey."

Update #5: NHL.com's Dave Hogg penned a game preview:

They said it

"We can't change the way we play just because we're facing a team going through a tough time. If you think you can take it easy in this league, you'll get beat." -- Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba

"Henrik [Zetterberg] knows he has to keep playing his game and stick with the system. He wants to produce and we need him to produce, but he's still playing good hockey." -- Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill on center Henrik Zetterberg, who has gone 20 games without a goal

Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Bryan Little -- Patrik Laine

Andrew Copp -- Adam Lowry -- Brandon Tanev

Mathieu Perreault -- Matt Hendricks -- Joel Armia

Josh Morrissey -- Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot -- Dustin Byfuglien

Dmitry Kulikov -- Tyler Myers

Connor Hellebuyck

Eric Comrie

Scratched: Marko Dano, Tucker Poolman, Shawn Matthias

Injured: Toby Enstrom (lower body), Steve Mason (concussion)

Red Wings projected lineup

Anthony Mantha -- Dylan Larkin -- Tomas Tatar

Justin Abdelkader -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Gustav Nyquist

Luke Glendening -- Frans Nielsen -- Darren Helm

Martin Frk -- Andreas Athanasiou

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Jonathan Ericsson -- Trevor Daley

Niklas Kronwall -- Xavier Ouellet

Nick Jensen

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: David Booth

Injured: None

Suspended: Luke Witkowski

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


WingedRider's avatar

And the Free Press’s Helene St. James discussed Henrik Zetterberg’s goal and point-scoring drought with both coach Jeff Blashill and Zetterberg himself:

Z must have enjoyed talking to these 2 idiots on game day

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 12/05/17 at 01:21 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

I’ve always gotten the impression that Zetterberg enjoys the environment he works in… but then again I never fully appreciated the vitriol that St. James generates.

I expect good things tonight. I don’t know who will light the fuse, but I expect good things tonight.

I hope I’m right.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 12/05/17 at 02:27 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

… but then again I never fully appreciated the vitriol that St. James generates.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 12/05/17 at 02:27 PM ET

You must be the nicest guy ever.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 12/05/17 at 02:59 PM ET


but then again I never fully appreciated the vitriol that St. James generates.

For me, it’s numerous things. First, she has been covering the Wings for I think almost 20 years now, and she still will make mistakes in her writing about basic hockey things. Second, she lets her personal feelings towards players get in the way of objective writing. It isn’t professional for a journalist that is not writing an editorial to allow their personal opinion of an individual to sway their writing. Third, when she actually goes into a piece saying that she is giving her own opinion, it usually makes absolutely no sense, and leaves me to wonder how she has a job writing about hockey. Fourth, she never questions anything going on the organization, decisions, etc. If the team does something, she writes an article about why it was the right thing. Fifth, she is basically Holland’s puppet. Sixth, I can’t stand her voice during the post-game interviews. That’s all I can think of right now.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 12/05/17 at 03:43 PM ET


I like how HSJ spent years defending Kenny and the gang. She went out of her way to defend things like Dan Cleary and Abby and Helm and Howard and the whole nine yards.

Now suddenly she’s trying to come across as some cutting edge critic that’s asking tough questions. So she identifies guys like Zee and Kronwall to ask about their on-ice performance.

Hey HSJ…perhaps aim a little higher with your tough questions. It’s not Zee’s fault that he’s showing his age at 37 and leading a dumpster fire of a roster. Go ask Kenny a couple tough questions…

Posted by fatsavage on 12/05/17 at 03:49 PM ET


Here we go again, 11F and 7D, let the line blender continue. I’m not changing these. Only Blashill thinks chemistry is instantaneous and doesn’t develop. We have no go-to-line.and we aren’t scoring either, also no scoring seems worse with the constant line changes, yet he continues.

Posted by stateofmifan on 12/05/17 at 04:39 PM ET


Here we go again, 11F and 7D, let the line blender continue. I’m not changing these. Only Blashill thinks chemistry is instantaneous and doesn’t develop. We have no go-to-line.and we aren’t scoring either, also no scoring seems worse with the constant line changes, yet he continues.

Posted by stateofmifan on 12/05/17 at 04:39 PM ET

If Jon Cooper can sometimes use 11F and 7D…then so can I, you know, since I’m a better coach than he is.

Let’s ignore the fact that my 7th d-man is basically just a clone of my 4-5-6 guys so having him doesn’t serve any useful purpose. He isn’t a PP specialist or PK specialist. He’s just another clone for my battle drills/grinding wars. Thus he sometimes only plays 5 or 6 minutes anyway. But dressing him makes me pretty clever.

Posted by fatsavage on 12/05/17 at 04:54 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Posted by Ilovekermit on 12/05/17 at 03:43 PM ET

Well, without her media badge, she doesn’t have a job.  What you’ve said is…at least partially fair, but she also can’t burn the bridges. 

I don’t see her as someone who’s going to push the team or organization - just not her MO.  But she can be very good at exposing sides that weren’t thought of or discussed and she definitely has an inside scoop on just about everything. 

I guess I’ve just tempered my expectations of her.

Posted by TreKronor on 12/05/17 at 05:19 PM ET

woodwardave's avatar

The specific moment when I lost respect for HSJ was when I read her article online
trumpeting that Chris Osgood had re-signed with the Wings…until the press conference
began, and he announced his retirement. Of course, there was no admission of getting it completely, 100% wrong… just a hasty CYA online edit of the article to reflect reality…but that fact speaks to greater historical issues between the club and the ‘diggers’ who cover them who until very recently have done very little digging.

There’s a virtual “greatest hits” of the restated press releases and talking points
from Red Wings management and press office that have formed 99% of the
daily news articles about the team for years. Only with the rise of blogging (H/T
to Paul and George and Winging it in Motown) has there been a way for anything outside of the company line to see the light of day, much less ink on the paper of a daily newspaper.

You can blame the Wings to some extent, but ultimately the responsibility falls on
the beat writers themselves, who need to be able to push back…but haven’t/didn’t
during the gravy train years for fear of losing access. I understand why players like
not being under a Toronto or Montreal-intensity microscope, but the softballs HSJ has
thrown over the years are just infuriating to those of us who would like serious questions
answered about the team.

As a fan, I’m very grateful for the passion that Mr. I brought to the team and yes…like
a few people here, I saw game at the Olympia and went to some of the first games at
the Joe…but although the new arena looks positively spectacular, I am not chomping at
the bit to get back to the D to check it out in person until Chris Illitch reassures the fans
that the hockey club and the on-ice product is what’s important…and not just a means to
an end to get everyone to come and spend money at the property his family spent decades

Posted by woodwardave on 12/05/17 at 05:29 PM ET


Interesting perspectives re: HSJ and MSM.

I do understand how a culture of taking direction and not rocking the boat
can take hold when you don’t want to lose your profession and means of earning a living.

But that job is also a privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly- hockey
is too important to too many of us (lol) and too serious for all those many others whose
livelihoods are also dependent on the sport to just be a stenographer for the press office
and front office.

One thing’s for sure - if they expect these reporters to toe the line
I’d at least insist and push back hard if I wasn’t even being given good info.
And embarrassing myself in public by writing things I had to correct later in the day.

The real value of these reporters, other than giving a superficial synopsis
for casual sports readers, is probably giving us insight into what management
is thinking, right or wrong.

I’m a bit torn about a guy like Larry Brooks. Players are people, too, and as a fan I
don’t like seeing them get eaten alive in the press when things take a bad turn.
On the other hand, we don’t get that kind of unapologetically aggressive reporting
re: Detroit.

Finally, I agree that it’s not cool to mix in biased coverage of specific players/
play favorites when it comes to what’s supposedly straight reporting.
I get that with twitter, etc, it’s harder than ever for reporters to be publicly
objective. But they lose credibility when there’s a pattern of singling out some
players and not others when both/neither particularly deserve it.

Posted by Lefty30 on 12/05/17 at 05:51 PM ET


I’d say people like HSJ and the folks at MLIVE also deserve criticism for showing very little knowledge about what’s happening around the NHL. I recall MLIVE publishing an article regarding the expansion draft and who the Wings “might” protect. And they basically had all of the rules wrong, they were protecting players that were exempt, exposing players that had to be protected, they had the wrong number of forwards and d-men. A complete hack job. Some of MLIVE’s own readers started commenting about all the errors. And the beat writers fought back in the comment section claiming they were right. Hours later came an “edited” article without any apology. The Osgood extension, err retirement was another hilarious one. Quincey is about to sign an extension, err, no, we’re letting him walk.

Posted by fatsavage on 12/05/17 at 06:02 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

MLive puts more time and effort into covering Michigan high school football than it does the NHL or Wings.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 12/05/17 at 06:14 PM ET


It’s tough to be a mainstream “expert” these days for a living re: any specialized topic,
when there are so many genuinely smart (and obsessive!) people
who can call you out on twitter, in comment sections, etc.

Occasionally, even reporters who are very knowledgeable and thorough
are going to get one wrong.

But I agree that if you do want the prestige and access of being one of the few
credentialed reporters covering a team you had better redouble your
efforts and make sure you know what you’re talking about….or consider
another line of work.

Too many glaring errors and it’s only natural for readers to think:
why would I waste my time?

Posted by Lefty30 on 12/05/17 at 06:23 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

This one time, this one person was wrong. On the internet!!!!  so now I’m gonna complain about it for the rest of my life.

Yes, most of our local media is too scared to cross the line with our team. Or they are paid up well enough and told not to cross the line. And they most likely suck and arent that knowledgeable.

Most of the comments here provide more insight, ask the tough questions, and get somewhat answers. Or try at least.


Posted by ilovehomers on 12/05/17 at 06:54 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.