| The Detroit News
Detroit — Michael Rasmussen has been spending as much time as he can on the ice these days with Luke Glendening.
It’s a matter of soaking knowledge out of Glendening, who entered play Monday leading the NHL by winning 67.7% of his draws.
Often regarded as one of the NHL’s better defensive forwards, but particularly with his work on faceoffs, Glendening is passing on what he knows to Rasmussen.
“It’s unreal the way he plays center and takes faceoffs,” said Rasmussen Monday during a media Zoom chat. “It’s pretty crazy. He started a game the other day 15-1 (winning 15 of 16 draws) and if I can watch him or if he can help me, that’s great.
“It’s (faceoffs) a big part of the game and if he can me with techniques or guys’ tendencies, he’s been a big help, not just with that but with everything.”
Now, what might work for the 5-foot-11 Glendening might not necessarily translate physically to the 6-6 Rasmussen.
But there are definitely details and tricks of the trade that Glendening can pass along.
“He just tells you what works for him,” Rasmussen said of the post-practice drills. “We’re kind of different sizes, and different hands, so what works for him isn’t necessarily going to work for me. But he gives me pointers and takes faceoffs against me and sees where I can improve on.
“I’m just soaking all that up and listening to what he has to say.”
For any center, young or old, veteran or rookie, taking and winning faceoffs becomes a crucial part of playing in the NHL. You want possession of the puck and realize quickly how important a facet that is at the professional level.
But it also seems it’s a part of the game that isn’t easily mastered and experience becomes a needed tool.
What has Rasmussen sensed so far that is important to be effective on draws?
“It’s different for everyone,” Rasmussen said. “For myself, I’m a bigger guy so outmuscle guys. Timing is huge, too.
“You just have to get a couple of moves you rely on and kind of master those and keep working at them because it’s a hard gig taking a lot of faceoffs. You have to be consistent.”
Rasmussen, 21, has three points (all assists) in 10 games with the Wings this season. He’s had two different stays between seven games in Grand Rapids, where Rasmussen has two goals and four assists.
Coach Jeff Blashill has noticed Rasmussen, the Wings’ 2017 first-round pick, is playing with a bit more confidence this time in the lineup.
“He’s playing quicker, and that was clear the last couple of games we played,” Blashill said. “Is that because of an actual physical element or confidence? I can’t answer that. Both play into it. He’s worked hard at his skating through the course of the summer, but when he was up the first time (this season) the processing wasn’t quite quick enough making decisions and with the puck.
“Since he’s been back, he’s played way quicker and I would attribute most of that to confidence. He put a lot of pressure on himself early and that can happen sometimes. You just have to play and go for it as if you have nothing to lose and he certainly has had that attitude since coming back.”
The Wings have allowed 16 goals over the last three games. That’s not a recipe for success with high-powered offenses such as Tampa, Carolina and Dallas visiting during a six-game homestand.
Blashill felt the Wings defended well for stretches in the last three games, but then got away from it and that’s when things would go awry.
“Our guys know our system and know what they have to do. They have to go out and execute it,” Blashill said. “You can’t go back to your own end (of the rink) and swing (back offensively). You have to stop and that little detail matters. The attention to details in those situations, we need to be better.”
The way the lines were set in Monday’s practice, it looked like forward Evgeny Svechnikov (four points in four games) was outside of the lineup. But Blashill isn’t sure of that yet.
“We’re still waiting on health and seeing where some guys are, and that will dictate (lineup decisions),” Blashill said. “He has skated with the extras, but Svech is doing a good job. He tries hard every shift and works hard every shift. He’s doing a solid job. I haven’t made a decision and that’s just the reality of it.”
… Blashill said Dylan Larkin and Troy Stecher, who both have been out with upper body injuries but have practiced the last two days, will be game-time decisions against Tampa.
Lightning at Red Wings
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
Outlook: The Red Wings (7-16-3) and Lightning (17-4-2) begin a two-game series. …Tampa has won both games against the Wings this season. …The defending Stanley Cup champions have the second most points (36) and second-best win percentage (.783). Victor Hedman (19 assists, 24 points) leads offensively.