We’ve been wondering and arguing among ourselves about this all season long, but especially more since Evgeny Svechnikov last played for the Red Wings in a March 4th loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. That game was not particularly fantastic for anybody, but Svechnikov put up an assist and earned his fourth point in his fourth game played.
Since then, he’s been scratched, placed on the taxi squad, sent to Grand Rapids, and finally recalled to play tonight thanks only to a day-to-day injury to Bobby Ryan.
At today’s presser, Jeff Blashill finally answered the question on what else Svechnikov needs to do to stay in the lineup after putting up four points in those four games.
Jump to 4:48 to get specifically to the question, asked by Helene St. James
I’m paraphrasing a bit below, cutting out a number of “umms” and other pauses, but here’s what Blash had to say:
As I spoke about with guys who haven’t produced, we don’t judge players simply on production. There’s a lot more that goes into the game certainly beyond just goals & assists, plus/minus or any of those stats that you can gather easy. But production does matter and the fact that he’s a point a game is probably why he’s in the lineup right now ahead of some other guys. He just needs to make sure that he wins...wins every shift, make sure that he’s accountable, make sure he’s uhhh... you know you have to play as a five man unit and so to play as a five-man unit you have to make sure everybody’s doing their jobs, so he has to make sure he’s doing his job in each particular instance. I think that when he... he’s got to make sure that he’s winning battles by skating. If he does that, I think he can be an effective player so we’ll see.
I suppose this is as specific as we’re going to get, either in question asked or answer given. If we’re to dig into the negative space of what Blashill was apparently saying about Svechnikov in how how was dropping platitudes, we’re left with a few options for what Svechnikov has not done well enough in his four games or in practices:
- Not winning every shift
- Not being accountable
- Not doing his job in enough particular instances as a member of a five-man unit
- Not winning battles by skating
I don’t know. I’ve only seen 45 minutes’ worth of on-ice time and to be honest, I’ve been watching the entire game and not focused solely on Svechnikov. That leaves over 24,000 minutes since the start of February 27th that I have NOT been observing Evgeny Svechnikov before today, so there has to be some pretty good data in all of those minutes, right?
The other option I should mention is the go-to “coaches lie.” - It’s delving even farther into speculation that there would be more to it than this and that Blashill is outright lying just because he has to say SOMETHING, but it’s also not so far out of the realm of possibility that we should just ignore it.
Also of interest, at the very end of the presser, Max Bultman asked if Svech would be playing in Bobby Ryan’s spot. Blashill flashed a wry smile and asked Bultman if it was going to affect his article before dismissing the question with “lines will be in warmups.”