Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Pros And Cons For Keeping Jeff Blashill

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

While there have been routs here and there, the Wings, on the whole, have worked hard under Blashill. There has never been chaos in the locker room. His players respect him. From all appearances, he has a good relationship with Yzerman.

There’s also the fact that Blashill doesn’t command the higher-end salary of more experienced coaches, and that’s not an insignificant factor at a time the coronavirus pandemic has left teams scrounging for revenue.

Lastly, there’s this: If Yzerman didn’t think Blashill was doing a good job developing the players who are key to the rebuild — Larkin, Bertuzzi, Michael Rasmussen, Filip Zadina, to name a few — there’s no way Yzerman would have kept Blashill behind the bench.

Missing the playoffs five straight seasons would cost many a coach his job, but nothing in Yzerman’s history indicates he’ll make a change just to make a change. It comes down to whether Yzerman thinks Blashill is the right guy to continue coaching the rebuild. The Wings don’t project to be a playoff team next season — not even with Moritz Seider on defense and Joe Veleno joining the youth movement up front. They should be better than this season’s team, though, the way this season’s team was better than last season’s.

Yzerman isn’t yet at a point where he’s looking to hire the guy he thinks can coach the Wings towards Stanley Cup-contender status. His old linemate and longtime buddy, Gerard Gallant, has been available for more than a year, and Yzerman hasn’t bit. Is there an in-between coach Yzerman has in mind? We should know shortly.

more ($$$)

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Jeff Blashill Deserves To Return

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

When the Red Wings were threatening new lows a few weeks ago, dropping the occasional 7-1 stinker, the coaching verdict seemed clear. Progress was minimal, and with Jeff Blashill’s contract expiring after his sixth season, change was needed.

And then some things did change. The Wings’ defense tightened and their young players competed harder and they even beat Tampa Bay three times. The Wings don’t have the worst record in the NHL — sixth-worst at 18-27-9, for the record — and with two games remaining, it’s time to ask: Have they improved enough to buy Blashill another year?

By a slim margin, I’d say yes. Not a full-throated endorsement but an acknowledgement he’s faced challenges beyond the massive rebuild, and on most nights, the Wings are competitive. Steve Yzerman hasn’t indicated anything, other than to say he’ll sit down with Blashill “very quickly” after the season, which means a resolution could come soon after the Saturday finale in Columbus.

Yzerman doesn’t make decisions based on loyalty or sentiment, and doesn’t make mandates or threats. He also doesn’t veer suddenly from a charted plan, and in two years as GM here, he has pleaded for patience.

continued (subscription)

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Tyler Bertuzzi Had Back Surgery And Robby Fabbri Won’t Play This Weekend


Below, Jeff Blashill after practice and Bobby Ryan.

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Practicing In Detroit

Ansar Khan tweets,

RedWings return to practice after two off days, wrap up season at Columbus Friday and Saturday in games that will determine 7th/8th place in Central and affect draft lottery odds.

Robby Fabbri no longer practicing in blue non-contact jersey, so might return Friday after missing 15 games with an upper-body injury.

added 11:31am, below is the live stream of The Word on Woodward.

Topics include prospects in the organization and some of the champions of youth hockey in the Detroit area.

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It Appears Jonatan Berggren Will Be Headed To Grand Rapids Next Season

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Positive Thoughts

from Sean McIndoe of The Athletic,

So today, we’re going to break out a gimmick I’ve tried a few times in the past and see if we can come up with three positive thoughts for each of the 15 teams that will miss the playoffs. That’s it — no nitpicking, no complaining, just three nice things to say about each team.

Detroit Red Wings

The negative: They’re going to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year, and while their record will be better than it was during last year’s disaster, it’s on pace to be worse than in any of the first three years of the rebuild.

Positive thought #1: They finally escaped the bottom five! That was good, right? (Please don’t read this week’s rankings, where they might be right back in.)

Positive thought #2: The whole Yzerplan thing is going slowly, sure, but progress is being made. They’ve got some prospect help on the way, a ton of picks this year, lots of cap room to work with, and (maybe) a new set of eyes behind the bench to help it all along. The pain isn’t over yet, but you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and Red Wings fans seem like they’re willing to be patient.

Positive thought #3: The new draft lottery system means they’ll only drop two spots this year instead of the customary three.

14 more ($$$) teams...

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Video- Evgeny Svechnikov Mic’d Up Against His Brother

Evgeny Svechnikov mic'd up against his brother on April 29th. 

Svechnikov remains on today's Covid list.


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Re-Sign Sam Gagner?

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Gagner signed a one-year contract worth $850,000 last offseason as general manager Steve Yzerman gathered veteran complementary players to strengthen the Wings’ roster.

Yzerman has lengthy list of unrestricted free agents to deal with this summer, Gagner being one. But it wouldn’t be shocking to see the two sides reach some sort of agreement.

Gagner can help the Wings, and t a fair price. He doesn’t think the rebuild will last long.

“We’ll see what happens after the season but I really enjoy it here,” Gagner said. “I feel like my responsibility has grown over my time here. I really like my role and that we’re closer (to being competitive) than a lot of people would project.

“(There were) a lot of injuries this year. The division we’re in, we have an opportunity to turn things around quicker than people expect and I’d like to be part of it.”

much more

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Taking Stock

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Stock up
Thomas Greiss

What a performance he delivered. Back-to-back 33-save outings to set up 0-0 shootouts. The second game, against the Lightning, was a lopsided affair; the Wings were outshot, 11-4, after the first period and 33-15 after overtime. The shootout went eight rounds. Greiss posted a 1-0-1 record on the week, with a 1.00 save percentage and 0.00 goals-against average in 130 minutes to land on the stock up for a second straight week.

Jonathan Bernier
He continued his season-long role as the team’s rock, making 29 saves April 29 in a game in which the Wings were outshot, 32-17, and 40 saves in Sunday’s loss to the Lightning. Bernier’s performances last week yielded a .932 save percentage and 2.61 GAA in 114:48 minutes.

Joe Veleno
He’s played four NHL games, and looked like he belongs. That’s a good sign for the organization from the 30th overall pick in 2018. Veleno has made a favorable impression towards being a regular out of camp next season, playing with physicality and winning draws. He set up Sam Gagner for a good scoring chance. It’s a solid showing for a short time.

read on (paid) for the stock down players, Hronek and Stecher.

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Stars Of The Week

NEW YORK (May 3, 2021) – Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System regional director of pharmacy Joanne MacDonald have been named the NHL’s “First Stars” for the week ending May 2.

Throughout the 2020-21 season the NHL is celebrating the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League’s weekly and monthly “Stars.”

MacDonald serves as a pharmacy leader within the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, overseeing five hospitals and providing support to more than 100 colleagues across the southeast Michigan region – including hospital and retail pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and clinical dietitians. MacDonald’s team, which is responsible for preparing and coordinating the distribution of medications and vaccinations to patients across the healthcare continuum, ensures that colleagues have the resources they need and clear processes in place to deliver safe, high-quality care to patients.

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com


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