Coach Derek Lalonde will not allow Red Wings to go through motions in final weeks

Detroit News

Detroit — You could maybe see it in the last few games. The Red Wings, after a series of trades and a key injury to Michael Rasmussen, have seen their roster decimated.

They’ve also seen their playoff chances equally gutted.

So, possibly, their energy on the ice has been affected. If it has, coach Derek Lalonde will rectify it quickly.

“There’s no doubt the boys felt sorry for themselves,” Lalonde said. “Is it right or wrong? It’s just more of the reality.

“It’ll be my job to get them out of that. We are not going to go through the motions over these (final) games. We are going to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.

“This lineup is not much different than at the beginning of the year and we were extremely competitive.”

Since moving into playoff position Feb. 23 with a victory over the New York Rangers, the Wings have gone winless in six games and dropped into 12th place in the Eastern Conference.

“We beat the Rangers, we’re above the playoff line with games in hand,” Lalonde said. “It’s flipped in a hurry and I understand some of that. It (disappointment) was still there on the weekend. We talked about it, tried to snap the guys out a little bit. I understand the reality of it, but now it’s time.

“Draw that line.”

The Wings are without forwards Tyer Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana and Oskar Sundqvist, and defenseman Filip Hronek (all traded) and Rasmussen (lower-body).

“I get it, there’s five or six guys out of the lineup pre-injury, deadline, but this weekend is an example, those games were extremely winnable,” Lalonde said. “It’s on me to get the group motivated and to stay on track here.”

Lalonde is hopeful the fact the Wings now have their roster, with no more roster upheaval on the way, will help stability. The Wings have three more minor-league recalls allowed but will use them judiciously.

“Our lineup is settled, these are our 12 forwards, these are our seven defensemen,” Lalonde said. “Hopefully we can get some rhythm and find ways win some tight games like we could have on the weekend.”

Regarding the call-ups, the Wings are likely to give more ice time to young players such as Jonatan Berggren or Joe Veleno, maybe defenseman Gustav Lindstrom, to help the maturation process and earn more experience.

Prospects such as defenseman Simon Edvinsson and Albert Johansson are likely to be better served seeing ample ice time in Grand Rapids.

“We got to be smart about it,” Lalonde said. “We want to play some of our young guys, give them opportunity in significant roles.”

Sizzling Cossa

Goaltender Sebastian Cossa was the ECHL goaltender of the week and it was easy to see why.

Cossa (2021 first round, 15th overall) has been dominant most of this season, but especially so while making 32 saves in a 4-1 victory over Iowa and 23 saves in a 1-0 victory over Wheeling last week. Cossa had a .982 save percentage in the two games.

Cossa is 20-13-2 in Toledo, with a 2.50 goals-against average and .911 save percentage. Cossa has a seven-game win streak, with three of those victories being shutouts with a .969 save percentge.

“He’s trending in the right direction,” Steve Yzerman said during the general manager’s media availability. “The most important thing was we want him playing a lot and we want him playing in a league where he’s being challenged, where it’s not too hard and not too easy. He’s getting a lot of starts on a very good team in Toledo, a very good organization.

“The one good thing I really like is he’s got a work ethic. He understands why he’s there and he’s working to get better. We’re going to be very patient with him.”

Twitter: @tkulfan

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