Ted Kulfan | The Detroit News
Detroit — Filip Zadina isn’t producing points the way he or the Red Wings would necessarily like.
But the way Zadina is playing all over the ice, specifically on the defensive end, makes the lesser amount of offense more palatable.
The maturation of Zadina is continuing, and thus far, this season has shown that to be true.
“He’s done a pretty good job of understand he has to be a complete player, that the goal is to try to win the game,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “You’re not going to score every shift and you’re not going to score every game, and yet you can still have a positive impact on the game.
“Filip has done a good job. Certainly he’s progressed from a year ago. He’s a better hockey player. He’s gaining more confidence, even in practice you could see him making plays. When you are young, you value, probably, production, and as you get older you start to realize it’s all about winning. Not that he doesn’t want to win, he totally does. But when you are young, a lot of times when you’re young you end up pressing or cheating for offense.
“He’s done a pretty good job of not doing that.”
Zadina has four points (one goal) through his first 11 games. Considering Zadina played in his native Czech Republic through the autumn, while the NHL was still delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also the positive way Zadina ended his NHL season last year before injuring his ankle, much more was expected of Zadina offensively.
But a long line of Wings have struggled to produce offense, not just Zadina.
“It’s not coming our way so far but we have had good looks,” Zadina said. “It’s coming. We just have to keep going, keep competing every shift. We have good chances on net. We just have to be patient work hard, and get to the net more.”
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The losing of the last several seasons wears on the former first-round draft pick, but it’s not anything new.
Zadina experienced losing seasons in junior hockey, and understands the work involved to reverse the regular defeats.
Still, this particular season has been frustrating, because Zadina feels the Wings have been good enough to have a better record.
“It’s tough, because we are not losing by five or six goals, every single game is pretty close,” Zadina said. “We just can’t score right now. It’s tough. But I love to be a hockey player. I love to play hockey.
“It’s not going our way right now but we just have to keep believing and working hard. We’ll be fine, for sure. We have a strong team and we just have to be a little more lucky.
“It might change with the next game, we’ll see.”
This weekend’s two games will be the fifth and sixth games between the Red Wings and Florida Panthers this season.
And, for the Red Wings, they will only have reached the 20-game mark with Saturday’s game (Florida will be at 16 games), so there is quite a bit of familiarity between these two teams.
All of which nullifies a lot of scouting, and basically forces each team to continue to do what they do best, and take away the other team’s strength as much as possible.
Hockey, Blashill said, usually comes down to that, rather than strategy.
“Because the game is so fluid, it comes down to your own habits and your own game,” he said. “Certainly there are areas of the game where you have to try to exploit, to be sure, and they’ll try to exploit you.
“But we know each other so well now, in a condensed period of time, there’s no surprises. It’s who executes and plays to a higher level.”
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Blashill said after the morning skate forward Vladislav Namestnikov would not be available for Friday’s game, but forward Darren Helm (lower body) was likely to return after missing the last three games.
Forward Tyler Bertuzzi (upper body) was to miss both games against the Panthers this weekend.
Thomas Greiss was expected to get the start in net, with Jonathan Bernier likely the starter for Saturday.
Panthers at Red Wings
Faceoff: 5 Saturday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
Outlook: The teams complete the quick, two-game in two-days series. … It’ll be, already, the sixth time these teams have played each other this shortened season. … The Wings compete a six-game homestand with two games against Nashville next week.