Their recent dip has taken them away from any remote chance at a playoff spot and as the wounded ‘Winged Wheel’ drops in to take on the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night at Rogers Arena, the Red Wings find themselves in an 0-5-and-1 stretch while giving up 5.5 goals per game.
The Canucks hope it’s more of the same but realize they’ll need to be careful. There’s no taking any team lightly given the importance of the games.
“Every game is important and then the next one is more important,” Canucks forward Brock Boeser said after morning skate. “Each one keeps getting more and more important and we all have that belief in making the playoffs and I think you guys can see within our game it’s something we’re pushing hard for.”
The danger lies with the work ethic of Detroit’s lead-by-example captain Dylan Larkin, one of the fastest players in the sport and a maniacal competitor. Get a struggling team pulling in the same direction on any given night, even during their doldrums, and it’s a recipe for disaster. The Vancouver Canucks will hope to use the home cooking to their advantage, as the local faithful grow more and more involved.
“It’s been awesome,” Boeser said. “I think you can feel it each and every game and you can hear how loud the crowd is, it’s the loudest I’ve heard in my time here and I can only imagine if we make the playoffs how loud everyone would be and how crazy it would be. It definitely helps us players, gives us momentum and it’s a big thing in these games right now.”
At 24-29-and-7, the Red Wings are playing for future jobs. It’s expected a veteran or two on expiring contracts could be moved before the deadline on Monday, although Detroit General Manager Steve Yzerman wouldn’t necessarily be desperate to shed talent for picks. They already have eight picks in the first five rounds of the NHL Draft his summer. The lengthy rebuild that began in 2016 needs to start turning a corner.
One big positive step in the right direction literally comes from 6-foot-4, 200-pound German rookie defenceman Moritz Seider, one of the favourites for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. His teammate, Swedish forward Lucas Raymond should be another candidate.
Seider, the rebuild, and living in the woods are the main topics discussed with salt-of-the-Earth, Red Wings Head Coach Jeff Blashill during “Simmer’s Morning Skate”.