Making it work when things aren’t working remains an art that the Detroit Red Wings haven’t crafted.
Throughout the course of the long season, every team endures ebbs and flow. Performance on the ice will be going through peaks and valleys during the 82-game grind.
Those teams that can still scrape out victories when they aren’t at their collective best are the clubs that find their way into securing playoff positions.
Think of it like a 20-game winner in baseball. No pitcher, no matter how great, is capable of toeing the rubber every fifth day with their best stuff. The ones who work through the rough patches on the days when they aren’t at their peak will be Cy Young Award contenders.
The Red Wings take the ice Saturday (7 p.m.) at Little Caesars Arena playing host to the Buffalo Sabres. It will be Detroit’s fifth game in eight days. The Wings are 0-2-1-1 in their previous four games during this stretch. They were looking very much like a worn-down bunch in Thursday’s 3-0 home-ice loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
“Sometimes fatigue shows up in your physical play in terms of how your legs feel,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Sometimes it shows up mentally.”
For a young team such as the Red Wings, learning how to alter their game so that they can play effectively when they are physcially and mentally tired is a lesson that is still being learned.
“We’re certainly worried in a sense that we’re very cognizant of the grind of the NHL schedule, especially for guys that haven’t played this kind of schedule,” Blashill said.
Mental Mistakes Hurting Red Wings
In the loss to the Jets, Blashill actually felt as though his team got off lucky. The scoreline couldn’t finished much worse.
“I thought we had a number of mental mistakes in the last game against Winnipeg that didn’t hurt us as much as it could have,” Blashill said. |”We gave up a number of 2-on-1s. As many as I’d like to give up in a season, we gave up in one game. We got fortunate on a number of them.”
When the Wings are on their game, they’ve proven to be a tough team to beat. However, when they don’t bring their A-game to the ice, Detroit usually is left with a failing grade.
“The reality is we have to find ways to be better when we are potentially fatigued,” Blashill said. “We gotta find ways to make sure that we don’t make mental mistakes in those types of situations.”