Red Wings slow down drills for more teaching time

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News

Taylor — Stopping at the Taylor Sportsplex before heading to Metro Airport for their plane to Alberta, the Red Wings worked on the penalty kill and special teams.

They are units essential to making the playoffs and playing deep six months from now, the goal for the long season.

And after three big wins to start the season, the consecutive losses to the Hurricanes and Canadiens were partially due to a lack of offensive punch.

A perkier power play would help.

“What we did, a little bit, was just kind of give them a chance to slow it down, a little bit,” coach Jeff Blashill said, alluding to portions of the drills done at about half to three-quarters pace.

“We took a little more time on it.

“Sometimes, I think we want practice to go at such a high pace that you rush through and maybe don’t get so much teaching time.

“We’ll see if it helps.”

Wings eager to head west for hockey, bonding

Five games is not a lot to consider, let alone the downward trends in the two losses. And Blashill expressed confidence, starting with a game tonight against the Oilers before back-to-backs Friday and Saturday against the Flames and Canucks.

“This is a small sample size,” Blashill said. “I think we’ll be fine.

“We’ve just got to keep getting better at it.”

Attacking the schedule

A lot goes into a long trip for a sports team.

Scheduling of practices and meals, sleep and conditioning and when to arrive where, and how, is important.

And it all requires some consideration, especially by a coach, working with the captain and the players and his assistants, and folks in the front office.

Will Blashill do anything differently from Mike Babcock, coach for the extended excursions of the previous decade?

“It’s hard for me to say, exactly,” said Blashill, who traveled with Babcock and the Wings for only a season before heading to journeys on buses in the American Hockey League as coach in Grand Rapids.

“I think those are decisions you continue to make,” he said, of becoming accustomed to his players, and vice versa. “And you hope you make more right ones than wrong ones.

“For us, we’ll attack it. We’ll skate tomorrow, as a pregame,” he said, of scheduling a morning skate before the night game.

“Thursday, we’ll make a decision,” he said, of the possibility of scheduling a practice on the day off before the back-to-back.

“But those are the decisions you make as you move forward.”

Perks of winning

Justin Abdlekader, who is scoring big, won the award for the best costume at the team Halloween party.

He credited the brainstorm of dressing as an avatar, in part, to his girlfriend.

Some of the blue paint required for the regalia remained on his side, said the former Spartans star.

When a scribe suggested it might be evidence he had decided to “go blue” after all, Abdelkader smiled and did not miss a beat.

“Yeah, well, after we won,” he said, “I figured I could.”

The Spartans beat the Wolverines, 27-23, last weekend.

Red Wings at Oilers

Faceoff: 9:30 Wednesday, Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Outlook: After consecutive losses, the Red Wings are confronting some bugaboos from last season — difficulty getting out of the zone, turnovers, faceoffs lost and too much time in the penalty box. ... The Oilers are coached by former Red Wings assistant Todd McLellan and feature Connor McDavid, 18, who had two goals and two assists in two games last weekend.