Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Wings Moving In The Right Direction

12/07/2021 at 3:56pm EST

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

On more than one occasion, coach Jeff Blashill has mentioned how the 2019-20 season was the most difficult of his professional career.

“As challenging a time as I ever had professionally, and I’m sure it was the same for our players,” Blashill said. “It’s fun to go into games with the expectation that you should win the hockey game. When you're down like we were two years ago, there were games you might be hoping to win the hockey game and now you feel you should win if you execute at a high level.

"That's not to disrespect anybody and not we're not here to say we're the 1986 Edmonton Oilers. But we believe when we go out and play our best hockey, we put ourselves in position to win. Certainly it's more fun to be in that spot than going out and feeling like you're hoping to win."

Blashill and many players think the Wings took a major step forward last season. Other than in January, when the Wings lost key regulars to COVID-19 protocol, the team was competitive through the shortened season.

Blashill felt the Wings committed to playing well defensively, and it has carried over this season.

“There was an understanding of the importance of defending well, how it keeps you in games and you can find ways to win games," Blashill said. "I would say on this current stretch it’s been similar. We’ve competed hard, and when you do that, you’re in the mix to win games.

"Then it’s about making a play at a critical moment, and we’ve done that more this year than we did a year ago. We’ve taken a step 25 games in, but we’ve got a big five-game segment ahead of us and a whole lot of games ahead.”

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