'It's not fun': Red Wings come up short against Flames as trade deadline looms
Detroit — This Red Wings roster may not look the same by the end of Monday’s trade deadline.
And there was an inkling of who might be part of those changes.
The Red Wings lost 4-2 Sunday to the Calgary Flames, falling behind early, and not being able to complete the comeback.
But these results are a foregone conclusion at this point for the basement-dwelling Wings (15-45-4).
What is more intriguing is who might be dealt as general manager Steve Yzerman attempts to rebuild the organization through draft picks, and possibly some more prospects.
Maybe there was a hint Sunday.
With the trade deadline looming Monday at 3 p.m., the Red Wings were into asset management consideration, holding out forward Andreas Athanasiou and defenseman Mike Green.
The team found out about Athanasiou and Green not dressing about five minutes before they were to hit the ice for warmups.
“It’s hard, probably the hardest thing I’ve gone through right before a game, news like that, it’s two guys who are a huge part of this team, huge players for us,” said forward Dylan Larkin, who scored both Wings goals. “Great guys in the room, and are beloved.
"To hear that, I was very proud of our guys, the level of professionalism we showed to go out. We just didn’t come up with enough in the end, and those are two guys we definitely could have used late in the game.
“It’s part of the game, part of our league and it’s tough. You don’t know what’ll happen next, it could be just precautionary, that’s what we were told. You never know.”
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier has been through these types of situations before, but it remains a “weird” feeling.
“I’ve been part of that for many years and it’s always a weird feeling to hear that a guy won’t play and might get traded, or whatever happens,” Bernier said. “It’s never fun.”
Larkin stressed the need for the Wings to continue to work and improve these final six weeks of the season, although losing players like Green and Athanasiou would be jarring.
“We have to show up with the energy and pride with being in this locker room,” Larkin said. “I personally look at it as a wake-up call. Those are two pretty darn good players that are potentially being traded and you don’t want see that for a player like myself and a lot of players in this room.
“It’s definitely a wake-up call to see that.”
Coach Jeff Blashill said nothing was imminent with either player. Blashill told the team before the game to control what they could control, and nothing else.
“They can’t do anything about what might happen, emphasize might,” Blashill said. “All you can control is what you can control. Our guys understand the business of this. We’ve put ourselves in this spot, we shouldn’t feel one ounce sorry for ourselves. We have to go out and continue to try to do what we’ve done on a daily basis here and that’s to get better.”
As far as the game against Calgary it was a rerun of many other Wings’ losses.
Larkin scored his 16th goal, cutting Calgary’s lead to 2-1 at 15:48 of the second period and Larkin added his 17th with two minutes left in regulation time, making it 3-2.
But it was too little too late, as again, the Wings had to battle from a quick-striking hole.
Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan scored goals 1:17 apart in the first period, giving the Flames a 2-0 lead they wouldn’t slip away.
Calgary's Andrew Mangiapane scored with 10.6 seconds left in the second period, deflecting defenseman Noah Hanifan’s shot, to make it 3-1 Calgary, then Mangiapane clinched it with an empty-net goal with 11.8 seconds left in the game.
“We didn’t do a good enough job of execution in the first period,” Blashill said. “We got better as the game went along. We couldn’t pass the puck in the first (period). We couldn’t execute and couldn’t pass the puck, so then you bog yourself down.”