Wings hope to change Holland's mind at trade deadline
Detroit — Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill has done it himself from a coaching standpoint.
By Blashill’s estimation, he’s had to move his family approximately eight times during his career, one of the facets of being in professional sports that doesn’t get much talked about.
So, with the trade deadline on Feb. 26 rapidly approaching, Blashill will make a point of talking to several Red Wings players who are in the rumor mill.
“I’ll have conversations with guys in that spot or in that position where they could potentially be a guy that might be traded,” Blashill said. “I just want to make sure they are doing all right. Last year (Thomas) Vanek was definitely one, Smitty (Brendan Smith). You just want to have conversations to make they’re doing OK.
“We’ll have conversations, especially if I see a guy struggle a little bit mentally. The one thing that gets forgotten about, because they’re professional athletes, is the human side of it, and it’s hard.”
Counting Thursday’s game in Tampa, the Red Wings have seven games before the trade deadline.
Though gradually inching up the standings, there simply may not be enough time to make up the point difference dramatically, thereby possibly changing the mind of Red Wings’ management.
That leaves, likely, defensemen Mike Green and Xavier Ouellet, either goaltender Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek, and forward Gustav Nyquist among the names possibly available on the trade market.
General manager Ken Holland said last weekend he’d like to acquire draft picks to further strengthen the pool of talent in the organization.
But, the players on the current roster are still hopeful they can change Holland’s mind.
“We want to win games,” Howard said. “That’s what we’re focusing on is winning games and getting points and giving ourselves a chance down the stretch to get in.
"As long as we work hard and do things the right way and get results, maybe we can force management’s hand.
“Honestly we have a good group of guys in here and we all enjoy going out and competing. We want to pull the switch here.”
Howard has heard his name in trade discussions many times in the past, and is doing so again.
But as with many other NHL players, said Howard, the speculation is mainly hot air.
“Just have to block it out as much as possible,” Howard said. “You have to be professional and when you go out there and play, you’ve got to play the right way. You can’t let it distract you, just keep pushing forward.
“At the end of the day, whatever happens, happens.”
Frans Nielsen’s winning goal against Anaheim was his 13th goal this season and maintained a recent hot streak.
Heading into Thursday’s game Nielsen had nine points (three goals, six assists) in his last nine games — after not getting a point in eight games.
“I don’t think about it much,” Nielsen said. “You try to go out there and compete every night and sometimes it bounces your way. I’m having a little bit of luck right now and hopefully it’ll keep bouncing my way.
“It’s been nice lately we’ve (Nielsen’s line) been able to (score goals). It shows in the wins, too, when we’re able to help that way.”
Said Blashill: “Fransy’s been real consistent in his game all year. When you play a consistent game, sometimes you (accumulate) point(s) and sometimes you don’t. Just like Anthony Mantha had played real well and not gotten rewarded for a while, then he got rewarded. I just think when you play good hockey, you're rewarded in the long term.”
The Red Wings and Michigan-based Warrior Hockey surprised the Motor City Stars after Wednesday’s practice with $12,000 worth of new hockey equipment.
The Stars are a team with special needs players, ranging from ages 8-45, and are based in Livonia.