Joey MacDonald began the season in the minor leagues with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He was given his chance to get back into the NHL and is making the most of his opportunity. MacDonald may be getting closer to securing a spot on the Detroit Red Wings roster for the postseason after the way he has been playing lately. The Red Wings defeated the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Tuesday, surpassing the single-season mark of 20 straight home wins set by Boston in the 1929-30 season and matched by Philadelphia in 1976. MacDonald has made his way into the record books. It’s a remarkable team achievement for Detroit and incredible to think No.31 was watching this team on his couch two weeks ago and now is a part of NHL history.
Joey MacDonald joined WDFN in Detroit with Matt Shepard to discuss the Detroit Red Wings winning a record 21 straight home games, the point in time where the Red Wings players were cognizant of the home wins record, the biggest change in his game as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, the difficulty in maintaining consistency in the modern day NHL and the most impressive quality of this Red Wings team.
What are you thinking after the Red Wings set the record with 21 straight home wins?
“It was a great moment. The fans were in it and it was like a playoff game. I was telling everybody the last 4 or 5 minutes everybody was on their feet and it was a playoff game. Last year being here with the Red Wings against Phoenix and San Jose it was just like that. Everybody on their feet chanting. It would have been nice to get the shutout, but the win was more important.”
At what point did all the players on the team become cognizant for the record of home wins in a row?
“It’s just something that every single night you get to be a home team and if you want to make up ground and want to be one of the top teams in the NHL you gotta kind of be like homers. You gotta win your games at home and like I said two weeks ago I was sitting at home on my couch watching Jimmy [Howard] win 17 straight at home and I am like wow. That’s quite an accomplishment. Two weeks later I am kind of thrown into the mix of things and I am getting the next three or four, so it is awesome and to be the only team in NHL history to do it and to be a part of it? It’s quite an accomplishment.” You look completely different now. What is different for you now from maybe in years gone by? In 2010 you were 1-4, so almost directly the opposite.
What has been the biggest change for you?
“It’s kind of more patience. Patient waiting. Waiting for the play to happen and of course being in here in Detroit with guys like Nick [Lidstrom] and [Niklas] Kronwall and [Brad] Stuart these guys that battle in front of you every single night. I think the big thing was my first game in Phoenix – I think we had 18 blocked shots. I’m like wow these guys are just sacrificing their bodies, sacrifice doing it every single game in and game out and it doesn’t matter what they are doing. They’re trying to win and as a goalie you see them do that. You’re like wow and it puts a little more pressure on you wanting to be the guy and it worked out good. Like I said two weeks ago I watching these guys. I didn’t think at this point of time this would happen, but hey hockey is a strange sport and you gotta take advantage of it when you got the opportunity.”
How difficult is it in today’s NHL to set the record for the most wins in a row at home?
“The NHL is so spread out now. You look at the standings and you go from first place to your 6th/7th place is only a few points like 5,6,7 points. We’re ahead of St.Louis right now by 4 points. The way the salary cap is and the way everything is. Everything is so tight. You can’t take a day off. Even if you are playing the first place team or the last place team. Back maybe years ago you could come in against the last place team you would be kind of laughing saying this would be an easy take, but now it doesn’t matter. You gotta show up every single night. If you don’t? You are not going to win.”
What has surprised you the most about your club this year?
“Like I said I wasn’t here the whole year, but when I was down in Grand Rapids whenever I got the opportunity to watch I was sitting by my TV and watching. It’s just the way they compete every single night. They find a way. It doesn’t matter who it is, maybe a different guy every night. It’s Pav [Pavel Datsyuk]. It’s Hank [Henrik Zetterberg]. They find a way every single night to get it done. That’s a good sign and if it happens in regulation? It happens in regulation. If it happens in a shootout? It happens in a shootout. They are finding a way.”