Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

No World Championship For Lucas Raymond And Riley Barber Will Play For USA

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Lucas Raymond ended his extraordinary rookie season with an assist and a celebration — and a need to decompress.

The 20-year-old was one of three Detroit Red Wings to last all 82 games, more than double what he was used to in his native Sweden. He played big minutes, too, earning a job on the top line out of training camp and never faltering.

Raymond has high standards for himself, and his desire to make even more of an impact in his second year led him to turn down an invitation to play at this month's World Championship in Finland.

"It was a very tough decision," Raymond said Wednesday. "You always want to play for your national team, especially in a tournament that big, but the decision came down to that I didn’t have much left in the tank and had to think about having a good summer. I want to have a really good summer this year to be prepared for next year, and I feel now I can get more time and I can prepare the way I want to."


from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

Detroit Red Wings farm hand Riley Barber will play for USA at the upcoming World Championships in Finland.

Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic is also on the squad. Former Detroit coach Jeff Blashill is an assistant to U.S. head coach David Quinn. The tournament will be May 13-29 in Tampere and Helsinki, Finland.

Pittsburgh native Barber scored 28 goals in 49 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He also played four games for the Red Wings this season. This was Barber’s second season with the Red Wings. He’s a proven American League scorer, but hasn’t been able to earn any lengthy promotions to the NHL. He previously had been with the Washington Capitals’ and Montreal Canadiens’ organizations. He played four games with the Capitals in 2016-17 and nine games with the Habs in 2019-20.


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Questions Facing The Wings

from Rory Boylen of Sportsnet,

For the 16 NHL teams that didn’t qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the off-season checklists have begun to roll in....

So what are the big questions facing these teams? We take a look here, moving from the last team eliminated from the playoffs, down to the bottom of the league standings.

Detroit Red Wings: Will the new coach lead the Wings to the next step?

Jeff Blashill had seven seasons behind the bench in Detroit, saw the worst of the rebuild and tried to start making strides out of it. That the Wings missed the playoffs in each of the past six years is hardly on Blashill – Detroit has been sucked into the rebuild abyss for some time.

This season became the one where not enough progress was made, and it became time for the Wings to look for the coach who will take them into the next phase of trying to challenge for a playoff spot.

“We’d gotten to a point where fundamentally with and without the puck we had regressed. We’re at a point now where I felt, ‘OK, I’ve gotta see if bringing in a new coach, new coaching staff, can make a difference to get us back on track and going in the right direction,” Yzerman said. “I’m hoping a new voice, new coach, different approach, we can improve our team play and the play of our players individually.”

Yzerman did not describe what kind of coach he’d be after, a recycled veteran or someone less proven at this level. He didn’t even give a defined plan about when he wanted the Wings to contend again. The Wings remain all about slowly adding pieces, accumulating assets and planning that one day it’s all going to come together and hit.

Whoever the next Wings coach is will still have room to work with and doesn’t need to face the pressure of needing to move things along to the post-season ASAP. That will come in this next window, though, making this coaching situation one of the more interesting to watch.

the other 15 teams...

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Video- 16 Minutes With Lucas Raymond

His recent media availability.

added 12:21pm, Below find Nedeljkovic and Robby Fabbri


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Praise For Jeff Blashill

from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon said former NHL coach Gene Ubriaco used to say that hockey “was a great game, and a crappy business.”

Only Ubriaco used a stronger word than crappy.

Simon thought about that saying when he heard Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was fired.

“I learned a lot about coaching from Jeff just throughout the years,” Simon said. “What I learned that’s way more important is just how he treated people. He’s a fantastic human being. He treats people – whether you’re the janitor, whether you’re the head coach of another NHL team coming in, whether you’re a minor league coach – he treats you with the utmost respect,makes you feel like you belong.”

Simon said he couldn’t thank Blashill enough for being so “inclusive of me and my staff when I was an assistant in Grand Rapids, when I was the head coach in Grand Rapids.”

“He’s had a lot of success at every level that he’s been at,” Simon said. “I got a lot of time for Jeff and a lot of appreciation for what he’s done for me and my career, my family, and I have no doubt that he’s going to land on his feet. Him and  (wife) Erica and the kids are just fantastic people.”

continued, plus more Detroit related news...

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Steve Yzerman This Morning

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Video- Tyler Bertuzzi Media Conference

8 minutes of your time.



added 2:00pm, Sam Gagner is below.

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Video- Dylan Larkin Media Conference

23 minutes long.


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The European Coaching Options

from John Niyo of the Detroit News,

Because there is a long list of possible candidates coaching overseas, and it stretches well beyond the names that probably are most familiar to Red Wings fans.

Sergei Fedorov just led the famed CSKA Moscow club to a KHL title in his first season as head coach, while Igor Larionov has turned from his work as an agent to coaching, first with the Russian national junior team and now reportedly with a new deal to coaching Torpedo in the KHL. I’m not sure how viable either candidate is here for a variety of reasons, including the geopolitical realities.

But Rikard Gronborg, the longtime former coach of the Swedish national team, certainly could be. His record is impressive, and Lidstrom, the Wings’ new VP of hockey operations, is among many in Detroit's front office who have worked with or played for Gronborg in the past. Gronborg interviewed for the Buffalo Sabres’ coaching vacancy last spring, and reportedly spoke with New Jersey the year before.

Yzerman claims he hasn't even made a list of coaching candidates yet, other than "a few names kind of bouncing around in my head." But once he does, and after he has pared that list down to a manageable number, maybe Gronborg is one of those that gets an interview.

There are other possibilities, of course. The Red Wings have spent so much time scouting and drafting the talent on Frolunda’s roster in the Swedish League — prospects like Raymond and Simon Edvinsson that’ll be part of the core of the next playoff team in Detroit — why shouldn’t they consider poaching the coach, Roger Rönnberg, that has helped keep that machine humming for the past decade.

Roger Ronnberg has been the head coach of Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League since the 2013-14 season.

much more (paid)

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Video- Steve Yzerman Today

48 minutes of GM Yzerman taking questions from the media.


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Stream- Steve Yzerman Media Availability

via the YouTube page of the Detroit Red Wings,

The Word on Woodward is covering the Red Wings Season Ending Media availabilities.  Join Daniella Bruce, Art Regner, Ken Kal & Carley Johnston as they break down all the news live from Little Caesars Arena.

Watch below, scheduled to begin at 3:50pm.

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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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