World Cup criticism ‘frustrating’ for Wings’ Abdelkader

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Justin Abdelkader

Detroit – Justin Abdelkader enjoyed his experience at the World Cup of Hockey.

He just hoped it would have lasted a little longer.

Abdelkader and goalie Petr Mrazek (Czech Republic) returned to Red Wings practice Thursday after taking a few days off upon Team USA’s elimination from the World Cup of Hockey.

An ability to score, as Abdelkader saw it, was Team USA’s downfall in the tournament.

“We didn’t score enough,” said Abdelkader, of a team that scored five goals in three games (0-3-0), Abdelkader scoring one of the five. “We hit some posts, had some bad breaks go against us, and in a short tournament …

“It’s disappointing for sure when you lose that first game (to Team Europe), in a short tournament your backs are really against the wall. It was frustrating; obviously we wanted to be better.”

After Team USA’s elimination, tweets (notably from Phil Kessel, a player not picked for the roster) and criticism mounted regarding the heavy amount of grinders and lack of offensive players on the roster.

Abdelkader was disappointed with the negative feedback.

“That’s always frustrating, you want those guys to be on board with you,” Abdelkader said. “We were a close group and didn’t let any of the outside noise bother us.

“There’s going to be second guessing of everything. When you lose, no matter what happens, they’re going to second guess. The coaches did a terrific job, the management group picked a great group.

“The players, unfortunately, didn’t get it done.”

Red Wings debut line of Larkin, Athanasiou, Mantha

Abdelkader felt coach John Tortorella, a lightning rod of criticism throughout the tournament, was not to blame.

“He’s tough but he holds guys accountable, he’s an honest coach, you know where you stand with him and he’s real passionate,” Abdelkader said. “Especially for his country. He’s a real good motivator. He did a real good job for us.

“It was just a few mistakes and we couldn’t score enough.”

Mrazek got one start for the Czech Republic, earning a victory, but also was disappointed his country didn’t get out of the preliminary round.

“It was my first tournament for the Czech, it was a high-level tournament, the best players in the world were there,” Mrazek said. “It was a little disappointing we didn’t make the semifinals.”

Coach Jeff Blashill plans on starting Mrazek on Sunday in the home game against Chicago, while Abdelkader could be in the lineup early next week.

Nosek update

Forward Tomas Nosek (knee) skated Thursday after twisting his knee in a collision with Steve Ott in the Red and White scrimmage.

Nosek is day-to-day and would like to get into at least one exhibition game before heading back to Grand Rapids.

“I feel pretty good, the knee is getting stronger,” said Nosek, 23, who is waiver-exempt for one more season. “They just wanted to make sure it’s not going to be a big deal. It’s kind of not a good time to be injured. I hope it’s going to be good and I get a chance to play.”

Ott apologized to Nosek after Monday’s scrimmage.

“Right after,” Nosek said. “He came to me and apologized. It’s not his fault. It was a good (clean) hit.”

Ice chips

Blashill said goalie Jimmy Howard will play the entire game Friday against Boston.

… Blashill liked the pace the Red Wings played with in Wednesday’s victory against the Bruins.

“We put their defense in tough spots, got in behind them quite a few times,” Blashill said. “When you break out cleaner you play way faster, and we broke out cleaner, so we played faster.”

… Filip Hronek (2016, second round) will make his debut Friday, replacing veteran Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Nathan Paetsch.

“He (Hronek) looked good (in development camp), has a little edge to him for his size (6-foot, 164 pounds), controls the puck and has a lot of poise,” Blashill said.

Bruins at Red Wings

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Joe Louis Arena

TV / radio: Fox Sports Detroit Plus / WWJ 950

Notable: The majority of Tuesday’s lineup in the 5-1 win over Boston will return to play this third Red Wings exhibition, including C Darren Helm, RW Gustav Nyquist and D Jonathan Ericsson.

Twitter @tkulfan