The scene outside the Red Wings locker room Thursday didn't portray a team panicking from a two-game slide. Ping pong balls and friendly competition showed only a veteran team that's been here before. Brad Galli reports.
Dan Cleary stares down his opponent, Ty Conklin, during a ping pong match outside the Red Wings locker room, October 27, 2011.
Ty Conklin battles during a ping pong match with Dan Cleary, outside the Red Wings locker room.
Niklas Kronwall dries his hand and readies his grip during a ping pong match with Johan Franzen, October 27.
Johan Franzen wails on a ping pong ball during a match against Niklas Kronwall.
Niklas Kronwall readies for a return on the ping pong table, during a battle with Johan Franzen.
Drew Miller watches his teammates play ping pong.
Johan Franzen reacts to winning a point during a ping pong match outside the Red Wings locker room.
After practice Thursday, things got heated outside the Red Wings locker room.
Ping pong tables lining the hallway filled up with fierce competition and any signs of a team on a two-game slide panicking were nowhere to be found.
"We got a couple games with top-ranked players," unofficial Red Wings Table Tennis league commissioner Jiri Hudler explained.
"Ty Conklin, Danny Cleary. High level ping pong right here. It doesn't get any better."
Hudler was "refereeing" the Conklin vs. Cleary match. The players were ranked third and fourth in the league, respectively, and their battle was for third place in the league.
"You can't move up the ladder without beating the guy in front of you," Patrick Eaves said.
Hudler proclaimed Eaves as the team's most prolific ping pong player. He pointed out Eaves carrying his own paddle -- and a case for it.
"Eveyone's having fun out here. We're not superstars or anything," Eaves said, shying away from attention.
"Everyone's about the same, so it's fun."
Fun is the perfect medicine for a team that dropped its last two games to the Capitals and Blue Jackets, and is looking to get back on track.
"I haven't heard anybody say the sky is falling," Brad Stuart said.
"Nobody in here thinks like that. We know what we have to do to turn it around."
Nicklas Lidstrom echoed those sentiments.
"It's a long year. You're gonna have your ups and downs. When you're not playing as well as you can, you wanna get out of it."
This veteran group of Red Wings has been through its fair share of two-game losing streaks in the past. And the attitude surrounding this one is no different.
They'll compete every moment they're in Joe Louis Arena, whether that's on the ice or on the ping pong table.