clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Red Wings Preaching Speed In Camp.

New York Ranges v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

“Quickly quickly quickly, move move move!” Coach Blashill yells to his players as they execute drills and move the puck up the ice. “Go go go!” echos inside the glass as the player hear it for the hundredth time. Everything the coach has his players doing, he wants them to execute quickly and precisely. Get the puck quickly, pass quickly, skate with speed, think and make smart plays in the blink of an eye. Over and over again the coaches push the players to skate faster, move the puck faster, react faster, pass faster, play hockey faster. Drills are designed to get the players making quick touch passes to their linemates to get the puck up ice quicker, and to teach the players how to make quick smart plays under pressure. Quick transition hockey, Coach Blashill calls it.

When I asked the coach if speed was a core fundamental he’s trying to instill in his players, he talked about the emphasis and why it’s key for the Wings success.

“We’ve talked about our identity being relentless and fast, being competitive and detailed. In the fast part obviously speed’s a factor but it’s not everything. It’s mentality, not just how fast you skate but how fast you play, so we try to play as fast as we can and transition hockey. I think that’s our best chance to have lots of success based on the team we have. When LA won the two cups in a row everyone talked about being big and strong, but I think you have to play to your best asset. Pittsburgh was fast last year but that’s part of their team makeup. I think we’ve got a team that when we’re going North, we’re going to be better. We’ve got a D corps that can get up in the play and skate and a group of forwards who have some high end speed and can make plays at high speed, so to me it’s just playing to our strengths.”

The Red Wings have a lot of young, fast players, both on the roster and competing for a spot this upcoming season. Blashill has talked about speed down the middle making the entire team faster, with centers like Dylan Larkin and Darren Helm creating offense using their blazing pace. But all the speed up front can be wasted if the back end doesn’t play the same way and start that quick transition.

The defensemen got a lot of positional instruction and attention today, going through drills specifically designed to get the defense retrieving the puck quickly, and working with the forwards to get the puck moving up ice quickly.

There’s been a different feel this year in training camp, at least as an observer. The emphasis on thinking and executing quickly is evident, and it’s noticeable to the players as well.

“We’re always preaching to try and get the fourth guy in the rush,” Danny DeKeyser said “But I think it’s even more evident this year that they’re really trying to push that off side defenseman to get up in the play; that’s how you create offense in today’s game so we’re going to try and do that.”

It’s certanily been more exciting and entertaining to watch the faster pace, and I’m looking forward to a more exciting season to come.


Audio Interviews