Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Why Is Jeff Blashill Still Behind The Bench For The Wings?

01/29/2020 at 8:02am EST

Today's question for Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press is basically why is Jeff Blashill still coaching for the Wings?

To pin this dismal season on Blashill is unfair. The Wings lack an established no. 1 defenseman (that’s what the hope is Moritz Seider evolves into) and a game-changer up front (that’s the hope for FIlip Zadina). General manager Steve Yzerman has tried to strengthen the team via a handful of moves, but they have been minor ones: Signing free agents Valtteri Filppula, Patrik Nemeth and Calvin Pickard, and trading for Adam Erne, Alex Biega, Brendan Perlini and Robby Fabbri. Injuries have had an impact — the team’s top defenseman, Danny DeKeyser, was lost to a back injury eight games into the season. Anthony Mantha had 24 points in 29 games when his decision to challenge Toronto’s Jake Muzzin for a hit on Madison Bowey led to a ribcage/shoulder injury that may cost Mantha the rest of the season. Once the Wings resume their schedule there should be a better feel for when Andreas Athanasiou is expected to return from a lower-body injury that has sidelined Dec. 29....

The bottom line is, if Yzerman didn’t think Blashill is having a positive impact on the young players — Larkin, Bertuzzi, Zadina, Filip Hronek — then Blashill would not still be behind the Wings’ bench. Yzerman doesn’t watch only games, he watches practices at Little Caesars Arena. That’s what Yzerman is judging, not where the Wings are in the standings. The optics of missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season may lead to Blashill not coaching the Wings next season, but to his credit, the Wings largely have continued to play hard even as they’ve tumbled to the bottom of the NHL.

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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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