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Abel to Yzerman

On The Derek Lalonde Hire

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

This is not Yzerman trying to recreate history. This is Yzerman knowing how important communication and relationships are, especially with a young team still facing a long slog to contention. There were no instant fixes, even with experienced coaches available. Yzerman looked around and settled on what he’d seen before, a coach who’d won on several levels and was ready for the next level.

The hire might resemble the one Yzerman made in 2013 when he appointed Cooper to his first NHL head-coaching job. The connection to another first-timer is unavoidable, although when Yzerman introduced Lalonde on Friday at Little Caesars Arena, he didn’t belabor it.

“What I like is, he’s going to be himself,” Yzerman said. “I expect him to do things his way, not necessarily the Tampa Bay Lightning way, or the Jon Cooper way. I think Derek is bright enough, and he’s gotten to where he is by adjusting, by learning and growing from his experiences. And I think his time in Tampa will make him an even better coach.”

The Wings’ tedious rebuild wasn’t derailed by previous coach Jeff Blashill, but after seven seasons, it had stalled. The team still isn’t ready for a win-now coach, but it also isn’t in position to take a shot at a complete unknown from the minor leagues.

In many sports, coaching hires sometimes alternate between tough guy and nice guy. For the Wings, Scotty Bowman was a tough guy. Dave Lewis was a nice guy. Mike Babcock was a tough guy. Blashill was a nice guy.


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Paul's avatar

from Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press,

Derek Lalonde likes to talk. He will eventually talk to you. Not directly, perhaps, but he won’t be afraid to step to the microphone after a game or practice and tell you what he thinks of your Detroit Red Wings.

Yes, your Red Wings. He may be the team’s new steward from the bench, the 28th coach in team history, but he understands who the team ultimately belongs to. 

Which is why he called his job as Hockeytown’s newest head coach “a huge responsibility” late Friday morning from the basement of Little Caesars Arena, where he sat flanked by Red Wings owner Chris Ilitch and general manager Steve Yzerman. 

Talk about gauging the room.

Before he talks to you, though, he’s going to talk to his players, one-by-one. Conversations, he said, that will be critical to establishing the player-coach relationship.


Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/02/22 at 07:07 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

It all sounds great, it all sounds like a few years back when Blash was brought in. “Friendly Babs”.

I didn’t get the hype with Blash and I don’t think there’s reason to hype Lalonde. Ultimately the results matter most, and Lalonde is coming into a team at a very good time.

I think he’ll do well over the next three years. I would expect a dead cat bounce this coming season, too.

Posted by TreKronor on 07/02/22 at 10:05 AM ET


It all sounds great, it all sounds like a few years back when Blash was brought in. “Friendly Babs”.

Except that this time it’s Yzerman’s judgement vs Holland’s. To me that might be the single biggest difference between the two hires. I never loved the Blashill move either (I’m an unapologetic Babcock fan) but he didn’t have the Captain’s seal of approval. This is Steve’s guy. To me it’s a clear indication that Detroit is entering the next phase of the rebuild and I expect a more aggressive offseason then previous. I don’t expect major FA signings persay, but I do think some trades will be coming.

As for Lalonde I hear a distinct difference in personality from Blashill. Lalonde has a clear air of confidence about him that Blashill never did. He mentioned multiple times the successes he’s been a part of, not the least of which were 3 straight runs to the Finals. If reports and fan testimony are to be believed Lalonde had his prints all over Tampa’s defensive scheme and special teams, Detroit’s two weakest areas.

In the end I would’ve supported whomever Yzerman brought in because he’s a ****ing boss. I can’t wait for the draft and to see who Lalonde tags as his assistant coaches!

Posted by godblender on 07/02/22 at 10:43 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Apparently, along with “process,” he also said he wants to be “hard to play against.” Lol

Yzerman was right, 7 years of crap and Blashill had to face the media everyday. Hard not to be repetitive without just giving up and saying they weren’t talented enough.

Fact of the matter is that these two guys should not be compared. I’ll be judging the hire based on results.

But if ya cried about Blashill’s lingo then it sounds like you’re in for more of the same. Let the hate flow through you wink

Posted by ilovehomers on 07/02/22 at 10:52 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Just a heads up, both the News and Free Press have started not to mark their articles as Subscription, so I have no idea if it is or isn’t.  I even sign out and check and I was able to read this one, but it is my understanding it is a Subscription.

Until they start marking them properly, we have a problem.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/02/22 at 11:53 AM ET


One thing I always believed in: in democracy, politicians decide foreign politics (including offensive wars), and soldiers fight. If soldiers decide who to fight, it’s military dictatorship. So, if you don’t like the war, like Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, celebrate the soldiers who do what they are supposed to do for your country, and do whatever you can to kick the politicians out of the office.

Posted by Davor on 07/02/22 at 01:51 PM 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

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