Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Making Progress

10/24/2022 at 5:09pm EDT

from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

What made Derek Lalonde attractive as an NHL coaching candidate is that he has a keen understanding of what steps are necessary to guide a team to the top of the mountain.

He was an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning when they won 62 games only to be swept in the first round of the NHL playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Lalonde was in that same job when the Lightning won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. He has intimate knowledge about both failed and successful ascents to the summit of his sport. Lalonde knows both the anguish and jubilation of the climb.

That’s why you have to listen to him when he cautions against getting too carried away with the Red Wings’ early improvement. In reality, the Red Wings are only a few steps into their journey.

“Their will is really, really good,” Lalonde said. “I can see throughout our start here our execution is still a work in progress, which is understandable. This is the introduction of a completely new system. But their will is great. Anything we have touched on and we’ve tried to implement, they’ve done. So that’s a good sign going forward.”

He understands why fans are excited. The past six seasons have been difficult. Fans are looking for hope. A 3-0-2 start represents one of the four Red Wings’ best starts since 1967. Newcomers Dominik Kubalik, Ben Chiarot, Ville Husso and Olli Maatta are playing at a high level. Yet this team is still figuring out they need to play to be the best version of themselves. Red Wings fans have learned to hate the word “process” over the last few seasons. But the Red Wings are still learning Lalonde’s process.

continued

Paul

Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News on the pk and pp,

The Wings drew inspiration Sunday after killing Anaheim's two-man, 1-minute 41-second advantage, maintaining a 2-1 lead at the time and turning the momentum squarely in the Wings' direction....

Lalonde has wanted the Wings to play more aggressively on the penalty kill. There needs to be constant motion, movement, and forcing offensive players into turnovers and unwanted quick decisions.

So far, the Wings are accomplishing it.

"The pressure routes have been excellent, but now we’re starting to get some detail within our pressure, some stick detail and good habits," Lalonde said. "It's been good. Like anything else, this is such a scouted, coached-type league, we’ll run into some power plays that may expose it in certain areas but right now it's playing well, playing confident.

"We talk about playing fast on the penalty kill, and when you're confident in it, you’re playing fast and that's what they're doing."

New additions David Perron and Dominik Kubalik are two players who've sparked the unit, which looks more able to score and put some fear into opponents, unlike previous seasons.

"I like the simplicity of it," Lalonde said. "Even the bumper, (Dylan Larkin) did a good job getting them out of trouble at any time.,and Alex Tanguay, Jay Varady, they’ve worked really hard with the power play. Those adjustments you saw, in personnel, were all them (Tanguay, Varady). We did a good job of putting guys in places to succeed, and tonight it cashed in."

Perron was mentioned among the best power-play players around while in St. Louis. Now with the Wings, Lalonde has noticed areas which make Perron so effective with the man advantage.

"His poise and ability to get us out of trouble on the power play is something I didn’t anticipate," Lalonde said. "He’s really good on that (left) half-wall offensively, good on that half-wall in getting us out of trouble where now we're set up again.

"He's been excellent."


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