from John Niyo of the Detroit New,
When Jeff Blashill peers down at his lineup card Thursday before the Red Wings' season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he’ll see the names of as many as a half-dozen rookies listed. Four of them on defense, perhaps.
“And that’s a lot of unknowns,” he admitted Wednesday. “That doesn’t mean it can’t be great. It just means you’re not sure.”
The same might be said of Blashill as an NHL head coach, at this point. And as the 44-year-old bench boss heads into the final year of his contract in Detroit, with a roster in flux and a franchise in full rebuilding mode, nothing seems certain other than this: Blashill’s facing a stacked deck if he’s expected to take this team to the playoffs.
The Red Wings begin the 2018-19 season with the longest odds to win the Stanley Cup — Las Vegas bookmakers have both Detroit and Ottawa pegged as 200-1 also-rans — and even the veterans in the dressing room will acknowledge that, as forward Thomas Vanek did Wednesday, saying, “I think you’ve gotta be realistic.”