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The Malik Report

‘Two Things’: On Tatar’s scoring and Doug Houda

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Tomas Tatar and Jeff Blashill regarding Tatar's struggle to score goals...

After nine games, Tatar leads the Wings with  28 shots. Dylan Larkin, who is next at 25 shots, went six games without scoring, then had two goals in one period. It’s likely to play out similarly with Tatar.

“Yeah, exactly,” he said. “You need that goal that gets you going. You start feeling better. You need that one greasy goal, for sure.”

Encouragingly for the Wings, Tatar is looking like a forward committed to playing well in his own zone, too. That, combined with creating chances, is what Jeff Blashill likes to see.

“I think Tats has played really well, both defensively and offensively,” he said. “If you can keep playing at that level, production always follows good process.”

And Blashill made a surprising admission to St. James regarding Tatar and Gustav Nyquist's ice time:

“Through the summer, I looked at it and said I’ve got to do a better job getting them on the ice,” Blashill said. “They’ve been on the ice more. And then they’ve got to play good hockey and then points will come for sure. Tats has proven over the course of a long period of time that with good hockey, points come. It’ll come again this year, whether it’s goals or assists. He just needs to keep playing good hockey, and I need to do a good job getting him on the ice in the right situations and the rest will follow.”

2. The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa spoke with both the Bruins and the Red Wings regarding former Bruins and current Wings assistant coach Doug Houda:

The Bruins played their first game against ex-assistant Doug Houda. The 10-year Bruins assistant is handling similar responsibilities on defense and the penalty kill for the Red Wings. Detroit hired Houda to replace Tony Granato, now the head coach at the University of Wisconsin.

“Without him, I’m probably sitting in a 5-6 role,” Torey Krug said. “He went to bat for me I’m sure multiple times. He’s helped me earn the trust of the coaching staff because he believed in me.”

As an example, Krug explained how Houda taught him to engage in the defensive zone. The 5-foot-9, 186-pound Krug cannot go one-on-one against brawnier forwards. So Houda instructed Krug to lay off some pucks. Houda told him to lift a forward’s stick instead of fishing for the puck in a battle.

The Bruins fired Houda after 2015-16 and replaced him with Bruce Cassidy. Houda’s college-aged son and daughter are still in Boston attending their respective schools.

“He’s helped shape the way we want to play D-zone,” said Detroit coach Jeff Blashill. “I wanted to make a change. I think he’s really helped us with the little details to help make that change and keep our D a little more accountable at the net front. I can’t say enough good things. He does a real good job on the penalty kill. He’s a real bright guy and a great person.”

3. And if you're interested...

Update: The Sports Xchange filed a Wings-Panthers game preview:

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (3-4-1): Defenseman Mike Matheson was rested Saturday after posting a minus-3 rating combined in the previous two games while veteran forward Shawn Thornton and blue liner Steve Kampfer made their season debuts.

The Panthers finished with a 33-25 edge in shots, but went 0-for-4 on the power play and Vincent Trocheck missed the net on a penalty shot.

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who finished with 15 goals last season, has just one tally in the first eight games despite a team-high 26 shots on net.

ABOUT THE RED WINGS (6-3-0): After a good start to the season with the man advantage, Detroit has gone scoreless in 17 attempts on the power play the last four games.

It hasn’t helped that Thomas Vanek, who shares the team lead in goals (four) and points (eight), missed the last two games with a groin injury.

Gustav Nyquist also boasts eight points while fellow forward Darren Helm owns four goals and a plus-10 rating, but the Wings still await the first goal of the season from captain Henrik Zetterberg (10 shots, last two games).

OVERTIME

  1.     The teams split four contests in 2015-16 and the Panthers rolled over the Red Wings 4-1 on Oct. 15 in this season’s second game.
  2.     Detroit LW Tomas Tatar, who had an outstanding World Cup for Team Europe, has recorded just one goal in the first nine games despite 28 shots.
  3.     Florida D Keith Yandle, who had a season-high seven shots on goal Saturday, is one shy of 300 career assists.

Update #2:

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Comments

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My wife told me Tatar is uncoordinated. I agree with her. To me, he looks like if he was taking a meth. He has a lot of energy but it comes on the expense of being detached from the reality of the action in the hockey ring.

Posted by tutoka on 10/30/16 at 07:27 PM ET

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Tats has a tendency to hold the puck too long and constantly tries to deke. All NHL D know this and it makes him easy to defend against.
He can skate and pass but choose to make the wrong and predictable decision all the time. In brief, he is his own worst enemy. Maybe being a healthy scratch would help him see the light???

Posted by NewfieWing on 10/31/16 at 12:10 AM 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.