Wings' Tatar seeks to extend hot World Cup run

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Grosse Pointe Woods — Tomas Tatar was on a tear during the World Cup of Hockey.

Playing for Team Europe, which lost in the final to Canada, scored three goals in six games and was a threat throughout the tournament.

Now, the Red Wings hope that kind of performance carries over into this season.

“You always want to be better,” said Tatar, hoping to shed the disappointment of last season when he scored 21 goals after having 29 in 2014-15. “Even if you max, you still want to at least match (your best statistics) or be better.

“I wasn’t real happy with last year. I would like to be better than I was last year for sure.”

Playing with and against the best in the NHL — and the world — the past few weeks, and gaining confidence, should benefit Tatar.

“He played with (Marian) Hossa and (Anze) Kopitar,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “He played against everyone’s best and did a great job.”

Tatar agrees.

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“It’ll give you a lift, for sure,” Tatar said. “You play at the highest level, really good hockey. It was a good (training) camp for us, for whoever played in that tournament.”

This season, however, one player Tatar won’t line up with is Pavel Datsyuk, a linemate of his last season who decided to return to his native Russia.

And Blashill hasn’t decided Tatar’s linemates this season, although Tatar doesn’t believe it’s an issue.

All he wants to do is get better — and win.

“I’m not really looking (at expectations), I’m thinking about the team and how I can help the team,” Tatar said .”Every season is different for you. Sometimes you slump, sometimes you do good. We’ll see how it starts.

“I’m ready. I did everything I could to become more mentally stronger and better.”

Twitter: @tkulfan