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Abel to Yzerman

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.

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jhpcarrier97's avatar

You must have lost some grey matter during the Covid.  I am willing to wager that if you take a poll you will be humiliated.  The Sports writers in this town seem to be competing with the Toronto writers, get out of the Kenny era and start writing that next year we are back, with a coaching team that know how to run a power play.  If we had a power play this year, guaranteed we would be in the playoffs.  Maybe not win the CUP or a series, but at least the young kids would get a taste of playoff hockey, wet their appetites with desire.

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 05/05/21 at 11:00 PM ET

d ca's avatar

The F |_| C |< he does….who couldn’t coach this team to a bottom 5 finish (which professional not some amateur off the street)?

so what if the Wings played better when they had absolutely nothing left to play for the last month…plenty of other teams looked past them at that point and the Wings played a boring make no mistake and hope for a 0-0 overtime game. There were 8 games in April-May where you put up 1 goal or less….

What did the power play do? What about the PK?

Did you play the rookies or ride the vets to make your record look better for the next job?

Nashville kicked the $h!t out of him 7-1 twice. The first time after getting shut out against them.

...and he deserves to come back? Did people forget what he’s done in those first couple years?

Blash was hired for the ‘15-16 season and inherited a playoff team (and an aging one with Dats at 37 and Z at 35 (though there were newcomers: Larkin in Oct, AA in Nov, and Mantha in March) and the league’s 2nd best power play the previous season. He had holdover assistants in Tony Granato (defense and PK) and Jim Bedard (goaltenders in his 18th season as such). Blash recruited Pat Ferschweiler, who was his assistant coach in GR, to run the PP. Mike Green and Brad Richards were brought in to “improve an already elite unit.” Although, they finished with 93 pts—the power play was a disaster (only finishing 13th after a late season boom) and their up-and-coming goalie (Mrazek) didn’t get along with Bedard (his GR coach came up mid-season to work with him privately). Yet, Mrazek proved a key performer in the playoffs that year by taking over for Howard mid-series and posting a shutout, then losing game 4 with 2:59 to play in the 3rd surrendering his 3rd power play goal of the night (on the PP Tampa was 3/5 while Detroit was 0/4 that night). In the elimination game Mrazek gave up a goal with 1:43 left in the 3rd (again Detroit was 0/4 on the PP that night) to lose the game 0-1. Detroit finished the series 1 for 25 on the PP. So Blash, by way of his hire, had cost them the Wings their last chance with Dats and Z.

Next year 16-17: Granato moved on to be a head coach at Wisconsin and was replaced by Doug Houda. Ferschweiler was reassigned to the press box as the video coach. He was replaced by John Torchettil. Bedard was replaced by Mrazek’s GR coach, Jeff Salajko. This was the year Holland made moves and was the front-runner for Stamkos. Unfortunately, for Wings fans that believed this they were only made aware of the fact—after giving up assets for cap space via the Datsyuk contract trade—-Stamkos didn’t even return Holland’s call. Eventually using that extra money, Holland signed Frans Nielsen to an outrageous 6 year deal (31.5M) which they are still paying for now. The Wings missed the playoffs and the rebuild was on. Howard outplayed Mrazek and locker room issues surfaced with the disgruntled goalie. Holland started auctioning off pieces for draft capital. Oh and the PP was still awful finishing 27th (at 15.1%)

Next year 17-18: Signed Daley.  Detroit was hindered by its cap and aging veterans such as ERRORSON. No one cared because it was the year everyone was out in the concourse during the games (there were no empty seats: the crowd was the hugest, greatest ever) as it was the inaugural season of LCA.  Mrazek and Tatar got traded. PP finished at 17.52% but that didn’t tell the whole story:  started strong 21.8% from October to November. Then tanked at 14.5% from December to April. Torchettil lost his job because of this.
The Athletic article on why 17-18 power play tanked
18-19 Power play finished 19th (at 18.1%). Traded Nyquist and Jensen. Kronwall retired.

...so don’t give me Blash hasn’t had a chance with a good team non-sense either.


Posted by d ca on 05/05/21 at 11:16 PM ET


spot on d ca

Posted by akwingsfan on 05/05/21 at 11:43 PM ET


Preach brother. Preach.

Posted by Ventr on 05/06/21 at 12:12 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Please do it. The meltdowns will be muy fantastico

Posted by ilovehomers on 05/06/21 at 01:55 AM ET



Nah, hard pass on that. He deserves to have a chance at an assistant coaching role on a different team or a HC job in the AHL with the hopes of one day being the bench boss in the NHL again.

Posted by MZ2215 on 05/06/21 at 07:08 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Careful careful with them comments girls and boys.  If he does come back, you are essentially letting us know what you think of the man making the call, Steve Yzerman himself.

I’m not sure Blashill has coached his way out of his job, we played well to finish the year without 4 of our top 6, as we did most of the year, on a team that was already void of any elite offensive or defensive talent, this is not Tampa less Stammer or Washington less Ovie.  But irrespective of the progress, I think its time for a new voice, turn the page to an new era of expectation in Detroit, but in Yzergod I trust, if he brings him back, I’m good, its all part of the Yzerplan.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/06/21 at 08:07 AM ET


I have a theory that Blashill came back this year because of the pandemic. With revenues down, Illitch didn’t want to foot the bill for the half million severance, plus hire a new coach for a team that wasn’t ready to compete yet.  Illitch’s stinginess with the Tigers, coupled with the fact that we didn’t replace an assistant coach on the Wings makes me think that’s the case. With Blash’s contract up, we are ready to let him walk and get a new voice in the room.

If I’m wrong and he comes back, then that’s my big first strike against Yzerman. Sure, we’re playing decent low-event hockey, but our goalies have been bailing us out over this last stretch. And the PP is dreadful. We’re ready for a new coach.

Posted by Trade Deadline Rental on 05/06/21 at 08:40 AM ET

Rumbear's avatar


No. No he doesn’t.

Frankly, he is just not an NHL caliber coach.  In the real world the performance by both the GM and coach would warrant dismissal. In an entertainment based sport, the deliverables of these two are meager.

But he will be back. He is a useful tool in the Stevie Wonder 15 year rebuild. Blashill buys the GM time.

So, the Wings will sally forth and once again learn how to lose gracefully as the YzerGawd pockets drafts picks like Pokemon cards! Soon he will have them all and ..... watch out!

Because the YzerPlan Can….

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, sing along The YzerMan Can!...... on 05/06/21 at 09:54 AM ET

RedMenace's avatar

I like to point to the clumps of several-in-row losses (including that 8-game skid), as well as the seemingly bi-polar play of the team on many occasions as to why he shouldn’t be back.

Nothing against the guy personally, but roster woes or not, it’s time for a change.

Posted by RedMenace from Hoping HFBoards crashes permanently on 05/06/21 at 10:08 AM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

No. Just no.

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 05/06/21 at 11:23 AM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar


Posted by d ca on 05/05/21 at 11:16 PM ET

The entire comment is right on… wink

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 05/06/21 at 11:25 AM ET

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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