The Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman announced today that the team will pick up the 1-year team option on Coach Jeff Blashill. Max Bultman has Yzerman quoted as saying “Quite frankly, we need to improve the team for anybody to truly critique or assess the coaching staff. We need to improve the team.”
Blood from a Stone
While Yzerman isn’t wrong in saying you can’t judge Blashill fairly without a competent NHL team to coach, it’s a pretty grim dose of reality for the Wings fanbase. Not that this year wasn’t mind you, but this is going to be just as painful next year (whenever that season actual starts). The team lacks more than a handful of talented players. Asking any coach to succeed with this group is trying to get blood from a stone.
Listen, here is my opinion, solely based on the hockey I’ve watched Detroit play under Blashill. If you want to call it hockey. The team is the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over, and over again, only to get the same result. Dump and Chase. Get the puck deep, grind it out of the corners and create opportunities. Play solid two-way hockey, and grind. That’s all well and good if you have the team for it, but the Wings don’t and haven’t for years. Blashill’s system of dump and chase creates the most boring, cautious hockey since the left-wing lock. It is maddening to watch. It clearly doesn’t work and it’s not entertaining.
Would a different system work? No probably not. The team isn’t there, and so Blashill keeps his job for another season. Blashill is the third longest-tenured coach in the NHL, behind John Cooper in Tampa Bay, and Paul Maurice in Winnipeg. The Wings pick up the option even with the likes of Bruce Boudreau, Peter Laviolette, and former Red Wing and Yzerman buddy Gerard Gallant all sitting at home waiting for the phone call. Would any of them want the job? Tough to tell, I suspect that there would have at least been rumors of conversations if Yzerman had kicked the tires.
So here we are Wing fans, this journey of a rebuild is like being on a long haul Spirit Airlines flight that’s been delayed on the runway for 2 hours already. The kid behind you won’t stop kicking the seat. The AC has stopped working, and for some reason, you decided to pick the middle seat between an old couple that won’t stop coughing. You’ve already had enough, and the plane hasn’t even departed yet. Blashill is the Spirit Airlines of NHL coaches. It’s technically an airline, but no one has ever recommended you fly on it, but hey it’s better than walking…right?
Well whether we like it or not, we have Ole Dump and Chase for another season. In Yzerman we trust, right? Believe in the Yzerplan. Now cross your fingers and HOPE for Lafreniere!
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It's Week 3... and the computer didn't pick Chris Herndon this time