from Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now,
Playing for a purpose is being replaced by playing for pride. And lately, that pride hasn’t really been in evidence. Case in point – a 9-2 home-ice loss to the 32nd-placed Arizona Coyotes last Tuesday in which the team was booed off the ice. Exhibit B – Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Calgary, in which the Wings only tested Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom with five shots over the first 40 minutes.
Both performances were entirely unaccepatable but may be a sign that the Wings are accepting their fate.
“Yeah, I think there’s a human factor to it,” Blashill admitted of his team’s play of late. “You better mentally find a way to grind. We got 20-some games left. We gotta show up every night and play great hockey.
“You never get these games back. I don’t care what our last little bit’s been.”
A month ago, the Wings were just six points out of a playoff spot. A 2-7-1 skid since dashed those postseason hopes.
Blashill understands that a letdown facing their current scenario might be understandable but it won’t be tolerated for long.
“Is there a mental grind to it?” Blashill asked rhetorically. “For sure there is. Is there a toll that wears on you when you’ve gone through a tough stretch and you’re looking up in the standings? For sure there is.
“Is that an excuse? No chance. We gotta be way more mentally tough than that.”
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,