Count ESPN’s Scott Burnside as an impressed realist. Burnside notes that while the Red Wings are “cooked” and still sitting dead last in the Eastern Conference, they put on an impressive show when they beat the Washington Capitals Saturday and the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday. Burnside reiterates that the Red Wings are all but out of the race, but that the fanbase should take solace in the fact that with its team showing such fight, the future isn’t so bleak after all. Petr Mrazek, in general, posted two strong games, and should Detroit improve its blue line, their return to prominence may not take as long as it could.
In other Red Wings news:
- The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan writes that captain Henrik Zetterberg is anything but done as he leads the team in points and continues to cobble together quality games despite the Red Wings’ struggles. Head coach Jeff Blashill is quoted as saying that with Zetterberg’s struggles as last year’s season wore on, he was prepared to slash the captain’s ice time. But this season hasn’t seen that fall. Zetterberg’s 45 points (13-32) are just five short of his total last season, and that’s impressive being that last season included Pavel Datsyuk on the roster. In the face of challenges not seen in over 25 years, the captain has still carried the team.
- Kulfan continues, complimenting the play of forward Steve Ott, who added a goal and an assist of his own in yesterday’s victory over Pittsburgh. He quotes Blashill as saying that Ott “has a way about him in the locker room and he’s an asset to a hockey team.”
- On the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of age and productivity, center Dylan Larkin has seen a dip in ice time due to some of his struggles writes the Detroit Free Press’ George Sipple. He reports that Larkin has played less than 12 minutes in his past three games, and Blashill states that its more of Larkin not being on the ice for power plays and penalty kills than punishment. The bench boss, does, however offers words for improvement, saying that the 20-year-old center needs to work on his stopping “all over the ice” to earn the trust from his coach–which leads to more ice time. Sipple adds that Blashill indicated that after a few talks with the young forward, it has already improved.