Lucas Raymond hoped to obtain some Swedish pizza when he arrived in his homeland. “Swedish pizza and American pizza — it’s a little different,” Raymond said. “But I recommend trying it.”
Before Robby Fabbri left, he said all he wanted was Swedish meatballs. “That’s the most popular thing,” Fabbri said. “I’ve been to Stockholm. So I’m excited to go back.”
But the minor longing for an international food tasting is as close as Detroit players want to get to playing tourist. Led by their captain Dylan Larkin, the Red Wings made it clear that they weren’t going to forget that they are trying to secure four points in two important Atlantic Division games on Thursday and Friday against the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Red Wings. To the Red Wings, there is no vacation from trying to make the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. It’s the mission that can’t be pushed aside.
Hit the Ground Skating
The Red Wings hit the ice Sunday not long after they landed in Stockholm and they have two full practices scheduled before meeting the Ottawa Senators in Thursday’s game. We can guess that the Red Wings will be working on the power play and sharpening up their defensive play.
After starting 5-1, the Red Wings have given up 34 goals over the past nine games. The team’s power play has been dry for three games.
“We can use it as kind of a little bit of a reset,” defenseman Jeff Petry said. “You look at the schedule, there’s not many opportunities where you have a few days where you’re not playing. It’s usually maybe one, two if you’re lucky. Spend some time with the guys. But then when we do hit the ice it’s to focus and be prepared to work on the things that we need to that will put us in the best position to win those two games.”
Coach Derek Lalonde’s planning has been all about maximizing practice time and preparing for the competition.
“The league did a really good job of having that balance, acclimating, having that experience away from the rink, giving you plenty of time to be ready to play,” Lalonde said.
Lalonde consulted with the experts who recommended going on the ice as soon as possible after arriving in Stockholm. Lalonde also has experience in this kind of travel. The Tampa Lightning made a trip like this when Lalonde was an assistant coach.
“All science,” he said. “Everything. We’ve really started working with and leaning on our nutritionists, leaning on our sports science team. That practice will be more about acclimating. All the science says go there and do a light skate immediately. It helps with the (internal) clock. I experienced that last year going to world championships. We literally rolled into Germany, got off the bus and went to practice and actually, it worked. There’s a science to it.”
Lalonde followed the advice of his experts to prepare himself. “Honestly, my wife was laughing at me,” Lalonde said. “Our sports nutritionist has already given everybody a to do list and I was following it to the minute. Like you had to be outside at sunrise 7:14. I was outside at 7:14 staring at the sun. (Friday) we were to be in bed at 10. At 9:59 I walked right upstairs. I’m doing my part. Hopefully it works.”