Detroit — Stuck in long winless streak, and coming off a particularly embarrassing loss in Montreal, the Red Wings returned to work Monday.
With rumors swirling about the futures of general manager Ken Holland and coach Jeff Blashill, and the possibility of trades — the Red Wings did make a minor move, sending forward Scott Wilson to Buffalo for a 2018 fifth-round draft pick — and the fragile, emotional state of this team, players focused on the job ahead.
On Tuesday, that includes playing the Western Conference-leading Winnipeg Jets (17-6-4, 38 points).
The Red Wings (10-12-5, 25 points) haven’t won in seven games (0-4-3).
“There’s enough said in here behind closed doors, with coaches,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Enough talk. We have to go out and show that we are a team and we stick together and play for one another.”
The speculation surrounding Blashill has died down two days after the 10-1 loss in Montreal, but it could pick up again if the Red Wings’ aren’t competitive against Winnipeg and/or Saturday against St. Louis.
“I don’t even pay attention,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said of the rumors around the team. ‘I don’t even know what’s out there.
“We just have to do better as a whole.”
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Players agreed the losing isn’t on Blashill and his assistants, but rather on themselves.
“Absolutely, it’s all good,” defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said, on whether the message is getting from the coaching staff to the players. “We’re all on the same page, all of us. We just have to find a way to do it on the ice.”
Said Zetterberg: “It’s not on the coaches, not on the system, it’s up to us in here to go out and perform better. Win your battles, go out and show more passion, and show more grit.
“We’ll do that tomorrow (against Winnipeg).”
Blashill’s message remained largely the same Monday, maintaining faith this team can turn things around.
“I’ve been in this business for a long time and you go through stretches like this,” Blashill said. “You have to keep grinding, you can never, ever, let yourself as a group slump at all, and you have to keep your head up and grind, and find ways to win.
“In order to win, you have to take a punch When things aren’t good, it gets harder to get up. Nobody gets you out of it other than yourself. We have to find a way to get out of it.”