Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill seems to have taken a page out of the Willy Wonka book of explanations. It’s one that leaves you bewildered and wondering if Evgeny Svechnikov got caught guzzling some fizzie lifting drinks with brother Andrei last Thursday. From The Athletic’s Max Bultman:
Blashill says hasn’t made a decision on tomorrow’s lineup RE: Svechnikov, still waiting on some health/availability info.
“Svech is doing a good job, and he tries hard every shift … he’s doing a solid job. So when he gets in there, he’s just gotta keep doing a solid job.”
— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) March 8, 2021
Knowing that Svechnikov was working in as an extra during practices Sunday and Monday, it seems that there’s a chance that the forward who has four points in four games may be on the outside looking in. Blashill’s quote just goes in circles–it doesn’t specify, it doesn’t finger point to an issue, it just says that Svechnikov is trying hard, doing a solid job and has to keep doing a solid job.
Red Wings Lineup still Causing Confusion
If you’ve ever watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in its entirety, the scene in the tunnel where Gene Wilder sings to his suddenly frightened guests before rolling off a crescendo of spoken words shifts the mood quickly.
Gone was the delightful romp moments earlier where candy was plentiful (never mind poor Augustus, who might be a metaphor for Dennis Cholowski’s career opportunities in Detroit). It gets really scary, really fast, leaving the audience wondering: What’s going on here?
Wonka does a masterful job of keeping everyone off balance throughout the duration of the film. This season, it sure seems like Blashill is channeling his inner Wonka when it comes to the Red Wings lineup.
This is just the latest. How Svechnikov played himself out of a spot after three really good games and one average game is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, Adam Erne remains:
#RedWings practice lines/D same as yesterday:
Bertuzzi not skating
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) March 8, 2021
In this case, I get that Larkin being a game time decision affects lineups. But it’s the decision to sit Svech over Erne that brings up the same issue prevalent all year.
Maybe Svech ends up in the game after all.
But if Blashill really thinks Erne is better in the lineup than Svechnikov, then I’m a Vermicious Knid.
Red Wings face Tampa Bay for a pair this week
Rolling into Detroit are the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning (17-4-2), who hopefully will not fire off three quick goals as they did back in February during a 5-1 victory over Detroit (7-16-3). The back end of the two-game series resulted in a 3-1 Tampa victory but a much better game overall for Detroit.
Expect more of the same here, but losing Larkin could certainly see a game get out of hand quickly. The potent Lightning offense could take advantage of Detroit missing one of its best defensive forwards in Larkin.
Regardless, let’s hope for a competitive game. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. EST.