Though the Detroit Red Wings got off to a promising 4-1 start to this season, they’ve gone winless in their past four, dropping their record to 4-4-1.
Following their listless performance against the Vancouver Canucks at Little Caesars Arena on Sunday night, a team meeting was called, during which head coach Jeff Blashill reiterated what he expects from his team while showing video clips of some particularly poor performances during the 4-1 setback to the Canucks.
“For me, the more important thing was the meeting,” Blashill explained afterwards. “I walked in my coaches’ room last night and I sat in disgust with our coaching staff for a long time. I wanted to get two things done.
“One I wanted to make sure and send a message to our team that last night’s approach and effort wasn’t good enough and two, I want to put us in the best position to win tomorrow night, which we obviously need a win. When I did that, I said to myself probably the best way to accomplish both of those things is to have a meeting, which we met for a good amount of time.
“I thought that was better than an hour practice where I would have got the message across like I did get it across through my meeting without maybe the physical exertion where we’ll need the energy tomorrow night.”
Following Anthony Mantha’s goal late in the first period to tie the score at 1-1, the wheels came off and the Red Wings allowed themselves to be dominated by an average Canucks team whom many were predicting to be at or near the bottom of the NHL’s standings. Vancouver outshot Detroit 18-6 during the second period and put three pucks behind netminder Jimmy Howard.
The final shot totals were 37-21 for Vancouver.
Blashill remained optimistic, and outlined what his team needs to do moving forward to ensure that a performance like Sunday night isn’t repeated.
“I like our team,” he said. “We’ve got no reason not to have success. I like our team. We gotta make sure that we don’t let that happen. My last clip (in the meeting) was the current standings in our division. We’re two points out of a playoff spot. That’s the reality of it. Last night sucked. But it’s over.
“Let’s make sure we go prepare. Like I said, we can go and play good hockey Tuesday and lose. That’s the reality of this league. Nobody is that much better. They got a really good team. They want to win bad. So that’s the way it goes.
“But we got to play great hockey over and over again.”
Captain Henrik Zetterberg also weighed in, saying he doesn’t think that Sunday night was an indication of things to come.
“It was a stinker,” Zetterberg said. “But we know we can play good hockey if we do it right, if we have a little more passion, a little more effort. We didn’t have that last night. We can’t afford to play like that if we want to go somewhere this year.
“We went through a lot of things here today. The video room we just got was used a lot today. Try and flush this and get ready for a game tomorrow. We see it as one bad game and it’s up to us to make sure it’s one bad game.”
The Red Wings will head out for seven of their next eight games on the road, beginning in Buffalo on Tuesday before going to Florida for games against the Lightning and Panthers.