from Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press,
It’s also clear Blashill and Yzerman get along, and that matters. Both are low-key guys and personality fits are important.
But the reason I wasn’t crazy about Yzerman keeping Blashill? Hockey is primarily a defensive game, which means a team needs to have star offensive players. And not only was it hard to see progress from the Wings’ young offensive players, but two of their most promising young scorers struggled or regressed. Anthony Mantha was supposed to lead the team with around 20 goals, but he looked unmotivated and was traded after scoring 10 goals in 42 games. Filip Zadina was projected to score about 15 goals but finished with six.
Yzerman took the most generous view of Blashill’s development of a team that was led in points by a defenseman, Filip Hronek’s whopping 26 points. (Is it even worth mentioning that Connor McDavid led the NHL with 105 points?)
“As we are rebuilding and trying to move younger players into the lineup,” Yzerman said, “I think it is important to have a coach that has a calmness and a willingness and the patience to allow these younger players to go through some of the growing pains of playing in the NHL.”
But maybe there’s too much patience and calmness.
I like Blashill’s demeanor and his overall approach, but it’s time to show a little more urgency on the bench and throughout the organization. Hiring a new coach would have signaled that intention — and possibly appeased a restless fan base — though, admittedly, it might have elongated the rebuild even more with Yzerman having to align his rebuild vision with a new coach’s system and approach....
Talent tends to trump everything in pro sports. And maybe Yzerman believes if he works hard enough, he can draft and trade his way to greatness.
But coaching also plays a huge part in how a team’s talent is developed and used most effectively, and Yzerman should understand better than anyone that no matter how good and big and fast and strong any player is, he isn’t necessarily perfect and needs the right coach to help him improve.