Detroit – Talk about a shock to forward Robby Fabbri’s system.
When Fabbri was acquired by the Red Wings in a trade last month, he went from the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues to a Detroit team currently last in the NHL standings.
That’s the definition of going from the penthouse to the outhouse.
But if you ask him, hear the tone of his voice when answering the question, watch him around the locker room day to day, there is no sense of disappointment.
Fabbri wants to be Red Wing and is entirely glad the trade worked out as it did.
“I want to be here, I’m happy with being here,” said Fabbri, who has 10 points (five goals) in 12 games with the Wings. “I’ve said it before, with the team we have in this room, the standings don’t do us justice. We’re getting there and getting better, we’re learning from the stuff we’re doing wrong.”
To an extent, Fabbri saw the same situation with the Blues, though St. Louis had a more veteran presence and established veterans to build from in becoming a Stanley Cup team.
“It’s going to be a process and it doesn’t happen overnight,” Fabbri said. “But I’m a big team guy and this is the team I’m with and I’m committed to help and contribute whatever I need to do to help this team be successful.”
Fabbri has shuttled between the Wings’ top two scoring lines since he was acquired, and his importance has been magnified since leading goal-scorer Anthony Mantha was injured a week ago.
Fabbri’s goal Friday in Philadelphia snapped a Red Wings goal-scoring drought of 164 minutes, 37 seconds – ironically, it was after a Fabbri goal when the drought began – and Fabbri followed that with a goal in Saturday’s loss against Washington.
“It’s been pretty quick, which was nice,” Fabbri said of his adjustment to the Wings. “It’s a great group to fit in with, from the players to the coaches, everyone helped me out, game to game and shift to shift.
“They’ve been helping me whenever they notice something, and that’s something I like. It just makes the game easier.”
Offense has been a season-long problem, but particularly since Mantha (12 goals) has been sidelined. Fabbri believes it’s going to take a team-wide effort to offset Mantha’s loss.
“His size and speed, the goals he gets, it’s tough to lose,” Fabbri said. “But we have to have a next-man-up mentality. Everyone can contribute a little bit more and pick up the slack.”
Chances are defenseman Jonathan Ericsson never even left town, but no matter, the Wings recalled the veteran defenseman Sunday from Grand Rapids.
To alleviate a temporary roster crunch, the Wings had assigned Ericsson to the Griffins Saturday.
With Ericsson recalled, the Wings assigned goaltender Calvin Pickard to the Griffins.
Pickard’s move likely indicates the Wings will slide goalie Eric Comrie, acquired Saturday from Arizona, into the backup goaltending position behind Jonathan Bernier.
Back to basics
Saturday's 5-2 loss against Washington stretched the Wings' current winless streak to nine games (0-7-2) including the last seven in regulation time.
Coach Jeff Blashill was realistic about the team's current state, noting the overall performance hasn't been good enough.
"It's snowballed already," Blashill said of the Wings' current plight. "We've gone a long stretch without winning a hockey game. As coaches we have to focus on the reality of how you're playing.
"We've got to make sure they fight through the emotion of it. You tell them what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. We've been doing a lot of good things, but through this stretch we haven't been playing good enough."
Islanders at Red Wings
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Little Caesars Arena
TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM
Outlook: The Islanders (17-5-2) have been one of best, most consistent teams, all season. They’re No. 1 in the NHL in goals allowed (58). … C Mathew Barzal (10 goals, 22 points) leads offensively, while goalies Thomas Greiss (10-2-0, .931 SVS) and Semyon Varlamov (7-3-2, .918 SVS) have both been dependable.