Detroit Red Wings enjoying new schedule format with less travel
When the NHL schedule was announced, players in general were excited about the baseball format.
Mostly two-game sets, often with a day between games.
Now that the Red Wings have been sticking to the schedule a bit and are in the middle of a road trip, they’re giving a big thumbs up too.
“I don’t mind, it’s good,” said defender Patrik Nemeth after skating on Tuesday morning in a Zoom media chat. “It’s a really good solution, especially in times like these. There’s nothing wrong with that. “
Players see several key advantages to this format of staying in the same city for a few days.
There is less actual travel and more opportunities to rest. The second games in the series are generally more intense than a standard regular season game. And in the current COVID climate, the number of cities is fewer as the teams only play matchups within the division.
Nemeth is already feeling the benefits.
“I like that. You can be in bed earlier and there is less travel. It’s easier on the body,” said Nemeth. “The second game (of the series) should be really good. It can be a small playoff series, or that’s what it feels like anyway.
“I can see we’ll keep it in the future. If you fly to the West Coast, you can play your season series there instead of jumping back and forth. When you’re out, you’re out, and when you’re home, you’re home for a while. “
On the flip side, the intra-division format, while useful this season, is something that likely won’t stay in the future.
More: “I can redeem myself”: Red Wings’ Anthony Mantha struggles to crawl out of the early season slump
Seeing the same seven teams over and over again can accelerate rivalries and bad feelings towards opponents, but it can also cause boredom.
Nemeth and players like the idea of seeing each team.
“We should play against every team,” said Nemeth. “It’s (currently) like in four different leagues because that’s how we play it. If we want to stick to this kind of schedule in the future, we should at least play safely against the other divisions.
“The Canadian teams (in the North Division) are playing against each other, huh, 10 games? That might be getting a little old. So play every team in the league. You (the league) are going to come up with a game.” good solution (for the next season). “
It was a difficult start for striker Vladislav Namestnikov, who was looking for his first point as a red wing and struggling with a minus-5-plus-minus rating for Tuesday night’s game in Dallas.
Namestnikov had good scoring chances in the first six games but failed to convert.
“He had an opportunity to score and produce and it didn’t go in,” said coach Jeff Blashill. “The biggest challenge for Vlade is not to beat up, probably like most players.
“It’s going to be tough for guys and their confidence is fading. Vlade is tough on himself. You wish one of them walked in early and made them feel safer. “
The only thing about this shortened NHL season is that no team can afford a long, costly losing streak.
Since the schedule is only 56 games long, a multiple game loss can put a team deep in the standings and potentially be eliminated from the playoff competition.
Only the top four teams in each division will automatically qualify for the playoffs this season.
“There’s an urgency,” said Blashill when he stopped losing streaks. “No matter how long the season lasts, nobody wants to get into a phase where you lose. Surely a shortened season has an immediate bigger impact.
“Are we going to nip this in the bud? Absolutely. Is there an urgency to do that? Absolutely.”
Darren Helm is still retired with an unknown, everyday injury. Adam Erne, Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina, Sam Gagner and Jon Merrill are on the COVID-19 protocol list.
Blashill think this is a great opportunity for young players who are in the line-up to show they need a permanent place.
“You’re getting a great opportunity,” said Blashill. “But the thing about opportunity is that you have to seize it. You can’t just be okay. You have to grab it. We’d love them to show that they are hitters in the NHL. “
… Taro Hirose entered the line-up on Sunday and showed a positive performance in over 15 minutes of Ice Age.
Blashill met with Hirose ahead of the season and was impressed with Hirose’s demeanor this season.
“He was totally focused on what he could control and play with confidence,” said Blashill. “We have to make sure he gets more ice age if he plays well.”