Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

The Future Of Jeff Blashill

01/30/2022 at 6:20am EST

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Blashill has been the Wings' head coach since 2015-16, his arrival coming as the franchise was headed for a downswing after 25 consecutive playoff berths. (The Wings made the playoffs in his first season; they have not made it since.) He is the NHL's second-longest tenured coach, trailing only the Lightning's Jon Cooper (who was hired in Tampa Bay by Yzerman). Saturday's contest against the Leafs marked Blashill's 500th game.

Yzerman knows well the growing pains of turning a team into a contender — and from there, into a champion. He waited 14 years from being drafted in 1983 until winning the Stanley Cup in 1997 (and that was with the amazing 1989 draft that yielded future first-ballot Hockey Hall of Famers Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov). The Wings probably aren’t a playoff team this season, but it reflects well on Blashill that they are fighting for a wild-card spot, rather than the best odds in the draft lottery. That's especially true considering forward Jakub Vrana has been out since training camp with a shoulder injury; the Wings had expected him to be a major part of their offense. (He could be back in February). Even if the Wings sink in the standings in the second half as the playoff race intensifies, they've shown they have grown as a team.

When the Wings do finally return to the playoffs, Yzerman will have to decide if Blashill is the right guy to continue that journey. Yzerman went through it as a player: Frustrated with the Wings coming up short in the playoffs, then-owner Mike Ilitch brought in Stanley Cup-champion Scotty Bowman to coach the Wings in 1993.

For now, Yzerman is likely to do what he did last year: Wait till the season ends, and then decide Blashill’s future within one to two weeks.

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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.

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