As every team does at the end of their season, the Red Wings were at Little Caesars Arena to clean our their lockers and do one final round of interviews before going their separate ways for the offseason. The Detroit Red Wings YouTube account compiled all the interviews on their page, but for those who don’t want to click back and forth, this format is a little easier. There are some notable absences (where’s Larkin???), but the players expressed overall disappointment at the early end to their season. Give your favourite players a watch below. Under each video, I’ve included some of my own personal thoughts on the player’s interview.
Zetterberg’s disappointment is palpable. I found it interesting how, when talking about the team’s play, he mentioned how tired they got playing defense constantly that by the end of their shift there was no gas left for offense. Zetterberg, particularly, had a poor year at 5-on-5, posting a 49.94 on-ice Corsi-For percentage (per naturalstattrick.com). It’s the first time in his career that his on-ice Corsi-For percentage has dipped below 50%. It makes sense that, as he gets older, he gets more tired and has a harder time keeping up with the youth in the league.
I like that he preached having to play a full sixty minutes every game and that inconsistency is ultimately what killed this team. He’s right. Sometimes they looked like a playoff team, others they looked like a basement team. I was also happy to hear that Z won’t be requesting a trade out of Detroit to take a run at the Cup. I don’t think I could take seeing him in another jersey.
Abby is fully aware of his role on this team. As an older guy, he knows he needs to be a mentor. His leadership was on full display as he spoke of everyone having to look in the mirror and understand how they can be better. I think a strong offseason from him is crucial, as he pointed out at the end. The league has gotten so fast that you can’t only be a grinder anymore. It’ll be interesting to see how he improves next year if he has the kind of offseason he’s hoping for.
You have to respect how much understanding Kronner has for infusing the blueline with some youth. You also have to respect the amount of work he puts in to making sure he can compete every night. It was interesting hearing what his workout routine was to keep the pressure off his joints. More than anything, though, Kronwall is starting to look like an old man. His leadership will be crucial to bringing in the new crop of defensemen and he knows that.
Howie’s always great at keeping things light. I loved how, even though they’d love to be there, he’s still going to be watching the playoffs and cheering for Connor Hellebuyck. And no Howie at the World Championships this year. Congrats to the Howards on their new baby!
I was really interested to hear this one because of Athanasiou’s season. He’s certainly disappointed, but it feels like he’s disappointed that he didn’t get a good enough opportunity to prove himself. It’s clear that he’s unhappy with his ice time and it’s clear that he believes that he can play at a higher level. At the end of the day, though, this organization doesn’t award ice time to those who feel they deserve it. They award it to those who work for it and AA has shown that he only wants to work for it sometimes.
Nielsen was the first player that was asked about three-on-three. Considering he’s a special teams player, he knows that those units both need to be better if they want to win, especially when it comes down to one-goal games. Also, hearing Frans talk about playing for Team Denmark and facing his teammates was fun. I expect that this is the most giddy we’ll ever see him.
Hearing Goose talk about the leadership of Zetterberg and Kronwall was just beautiful. His offense this year was good, not great, and Goose knows that. He reinforced what so many other players have mentioned about losing one goal games. They do it to themselves and they need to figure out how to win. I’m curious about what’s holding up his decision on the Worlds. He was pretty cryptic about that. I wonder if he’s got a nagging injury that needs rest?
What stood out to me the most about Bertuzzi was how aware he is about the importance of his development. He’s hell-bent on hitting the gym and getting bigger and better, despite having to miss playing the playoffs with his buddies in Grand Rapids. It’s a sign of maturity. So is knowing how his struggles turned into successes when his confidence kicked in. This kid’s going to be good next year. I can’t wait to see more of it.
Mantha says there’s hope, but it doesn’t really feel like it based on his interview. He’s got to work on his consistency and he knows that. I thought it was interesting that they want him to work on his grit. The dude has never hesitated to drop the gloves, but they want him in boxing lessons? It’s kind of weird.
Blashill’s feeling pretty good right now since he’s been named head coach of Team U.S.A. at the World Championships and has been secured as the head coach for Detroit again. Going forward, his big job is going to be nurturing and developing young talent. Per Ken Holland, there’s going to be a lot of it coming in the next few years and making sure they are integrated into the league without intimidating them or breaking their confidence will be crucial. Hearing his strategies to deal with Mantha and Athanasiou was really interesting, but that is a topic to discuss on a deeper level in a full article.
There’s a lot to unpack here for a brief, one paragraph summary, but Holland is saying all the right things. Focus on getting younger, focus on the draft, stay away from free agency. There’s some interesting talk on goaltending that makes it sound like he’s not planning on bringing Coreau back, which means he’ll be going to the market to find a back-up goalie. Overall, Holland gives off positive vibes and feels good about the short-term and long-term future.