from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
Whatever plan Blashill has isn’t working, and his players aren’t buying into it. Since the NHL shut down for a month in mid-December, Detroit has gone 9-14-3. They’ve lost 11 of their past 17 games (6-10-1), and in that spiral, they’ve been outscored 85-57. They’ve allowed five or more goals in nine of those games; they’ve surrendered seven goals in two of those games, eight goals in one of those games, 10 goals in one of those games, and now, nine goals in one of those games.
This can’t be allowed to continue. Wings GM Steve Yzerman signed Blashill to a contract extension last summer, but the term length of the deal has never been officially made public by the team, and it is believed it’s just a two-year extension (almost standard procedure in the increasingly fickle NHL coaching profession), covering this season and next year. Yzerman has an earned reputation as a savvy GM, but he has to know what an awful environment the Wings are in right now, and he also knows there aren’t going to be any improvements via the trade front. Even if he moves a veteran like defenseman Nick Leddy, the return isn’t going to add the necessary 6-10 above-average players Detroit is in desperate need of.
So, the only option to shake things up is to bring a new voice behind the bench. It’s one thing to lose hard-fought games. It’s another thing entirely to lose games in which you’ve hardly fought. Red Wings ownership has gallantly stood behind Blashill in his six-and-two-thirds-seasons on the job. But Detroit’s players are playing like they don’t want him to continue in the role.
Six-and-two-thirds seasons coaching the same team while making only one playoff appearance – and only in the first of those six-and-two-thirds seasons – is a remarkable achievement for an NHL head coach. Noting Blashill’s longevity is not a condemnation of his coaching ability. Instead, it’s a reference to a tenure that is, NHL circles, a Wayne Gretzky-record kind of statistic. You rarely, if ever expect anyone to touch those kind of numbers.
But in that loss to Arizona, the Red Wings had a coach-killer game. It is officially ugly in Detroit, and there’s still one-third of the year to play. And now, the only question is who Yzerman replaces Blashill with.
more, note the article repeats itself in a few areas...