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Detroit – It has been a tough year, and the Detroit Red Wings have been thinking more about next season than the playoffs for a few weeks.

The Red Wings will enter the last game of their season Saturday with 39 losses in regulation. They have not lost that many games in 32 years, since they went 17-57-6 in 1985-86.

But Jeff Blashill still has expectations for the 7 p.m. game against the New York Islanders.

What does Blashill want to see from the Wings, in their last game of the inaugural season their new home?

“That we stay focused on moving forward as a group and as individuals,” Blashill said, after an optional practice Friday.

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“I talked in between periods in Columbus about that. We’re trying to win hockey games and have lots of pride for that winged wheel that’s on the crest on our chest,” he said. “But we’re also trying to improve here.

“I don’t think that you can improve while taking steps backward.”

Dylan Larkin and Martin Frk were two of the players who participated in practice, while others remained off the ice in workouts.

Both said they hope to go to the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship in Denmark, May 4-20.

Easier said than done, however.

Both would be on their country’s teams. But the arrangements are more complex than they may seem.

The players must insure themselves, and Larkin said he has begun working on that.

And clearing work approvals and making sure he is in place for early team meetings and practices is something Frk says he will address.

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