Connect with us

Detroit Red Wings

Five Reasons Why Red Wings Must Replace Blashill

Published

on

Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings coach
After six straight seasons out of the playoffs, the time has come for the Red Wings to move on from Jeff Blashill and find a new coach.

Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill is a good guy. If you met him, you’d like him. Likewise, Danny DeKeyser is a salt of the earth type, as decent as the day is long.

Here’s the thing, though. Once the Red Wings take the ice, none of that matters.

Years ago, while covering the Detroit Tigers, another reporter pointed out to Tony Phillips, newly-signed from the AL champion Oakland A’s, that his production numbers were quite impressive.

Phillips looked at his inquistor increduously. “They didn’t keep me around because they liked me,” he finally said.

Blashill likes to talk about the relentlessness of the NHL. It’s often also pointed out that they are in the business of winning. This season, his Red Wings have not proven very relentless. As for the business of winning, business is not good.

The decline and fall of the Red Wings over the past three months leaves only one obvious conclusion. It’s time for a change behind the bench.

For his part, Blashill claims he isn’t even considering his future.

“No. I haven’t thought about it for one second to be honest with you,” Blashill said. “I’m coaching a game tomorrow and that’s all that’s been my focus.”

Wings GM Steve Yzerman must certainly be thinking about it. Here’s five reasons why he should replace coach Jeff Blashill.

Red Wings’ Defensive Deficiencies

The abysmal defensive woes of the Red Wings are well documented. They’ve given up five or more goals in 32 of 81 games. That’s 39.5 percent of all of their games.

In other words, the Wings were needing to score six or more goals to win in four out of every 10 games they’ve played this season. That’s simply a formula for failure. Defense is about technique, commitment and positional play. A lot of that comes down to coaching.

“Certainly, our chances against were too high throughout the season, probably even when we won,” Blashill acknowledged.

With 309 goals against, or 3.79 goals against per game, only the Montreal Canadiens (317, 3.89) have proven to be more porous than Detroit. Its only the fifth time in franchise history and the first time since 1989-90 (323 goals against) that the Red Wings are surrendering more than 300 goals.

Detroit ended up missing the playoffs in 1989-90. At the end of the season, coach Jacques Demers was fired.

The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight

The double-edged sword with Detroit’s lack of defense is that the offense isn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard, either. In 38 of 81 games this season, the Red Wings finished up scoring two or fewer goals.

BetMGM Sportsbook

States: AZ, NJ, PA, IN, CO, MI, VA, WV

GET THE APP
SIGNUP BONUSUP TO $1,000!
RISK-FREE FIRST BET!
BET NOW

That works out to 46.9 percent of all games in which Detroit didn’t get to three goals scored. Combine that with their dismal defensive performance and it simply doesn’t compute to any semblance of success.

The Red Wings are 24th in the NHL in goals scored (222) and 26th in goals for per game (2.74).

Red Wings Special Teams Aren’t Very Special

Throughout the entirety of Blashill’s reign, special teams performance has proven to be an issue in need of solving.

During the six straight seasons of playoff absences, the Red Wings finished above 20th in the NHL on the power play just once, a 19th-place showing in 2018-19.

The penalty kill has shown occasional signs of life. In was 16th in 2016-17 and 22nd last season. However, that unit has completely bottomed out this season. Detroit is 32nd in the NHL on the PK (73.7%).

Over the past six seasons, the Red Wings rank 31st in the NHL on the power play (15.8%) and on the penalty kill (77.0%).

Red Wings Culture Shock

When a coach takes over a team, among the first buzzwords uttered are culture and identity. So tell us then, what exactly is the identity of the Red Wings? What is the culture that this team has built over the past six seasons?

It’s a question still without definitive answer. It’s one thing to be bad. It is an entirely different matter to be bad and often also appear to be rudderless.

“I think we’re trying to find kind of the recipe that allows us to have success,” veteran Red Wings forward Sam Gagner said. “We do have it at times, we just gotta keep building to make it consistent.”

Blashill’s had seven years to install a culture, an identity for this team. Yes, there are times when it shows. But those times happen far too rarely to suggest that the plan is progressing.

Time’s Up

It would be wrong to suggest that there hasn’t been coaching turnover in Detroit during Blashill’s tenure. In fact, including video coaches, the Red Wings have gone through a dozen different assistant coaches under Jeff Blashill. Only Doug Houda has proven to be an ever-present.

There are some people suggesting that based on the progress the Red Wings were showing in the first part of the season, that Bashill deserves another season at the helm of this team. You know what? From all accounts, the Titanic was enjoying a lovely voyage until the ship hit the iceberg. Then things really went south.

The proverbial iceberg for Detroit’s season was a seven-game stretch in mid-February against seven of the top eight teams in the NHL. Entering that segment, the Wings were seven points out of the playoffs. By the conclusion of those seven games, the Wings were 17 points adrift of the playoffs.

“I do think the mental effect of being in it for a long time, having hope, probably the most hope we’ve had in the last couple of years of being a playoff team, I think our guys really believed that we could be one,” Blashill said. “And went it became clear we weren’t, it took the life out of us for a little bit and we didn’t play with that same extraordinary passion that I thought we’d played with at the beginning of the season.”

They’ve only been continuing their downward spiral ever since. Today, the Wings sit 28 points out of the playoffs. The collapse of the team over the past three months has proven to be alarming.

No one can say that Blashill hasn’t been given a fair shot. He’s second among active NHL coaches in tenure with one club. At the same time, he ranks 22nd among active NHL coaches in playoff wins (one).

Sometimes, simply hearing another voice in charge can make a difference for a team. What’s become abundantly clear is that what they’re doing right now isn’t working.

Welcome to your new home for Detroit Red Wings breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to DHN+ for all of our members-only content from Kevin Allen, Bob Duff and the National Hockey Now network.
9 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gordon Cheswick

I still think Blashill did a good job with what he had. Problem with the power play – bring in a highly-touted coach – no improvement. Seider comes in and does a great job – no improvement in the defensive play. Ned comes in and plays reasonably well – goals against are terrible. Raymond, Bertuzzi, Larkin and Varna have a great season – we still lose.
So, everybody says ‘it’s Blashill’s fault’
How do you figure that?
Let’s get real – our ‘middle’ guys are not working! We need players that can get us into playoff contention. Will we see Johansson, Edvinsson, McIssac, Cotton show up to save the day?
Will Berggren, Hirose, Mazer, et al, show up to replace the forwards who do not understand that you shoot around the goalie, not directly at him.

Raise 91 to the rafters

Who is the highly touted coach? Tanguay? Can’t agree with that (see previous post). Love Steve but he missed big time on Ledy, Nedeljkovic and bringing back Dekeyser and Stahl. Edvinsson will help but he needs to go after a proven veteran Dman like Klingberg or Letang to guide the young D we will be bringing in.

Edvinsson
Wallinder
Sebrango
Johansson

Scott tar

The only problem is the lack of weapons players have been traded to teams that use them correctly and are in the playoffs. STOP making excuses for a poor coach!

TAV

Unlike many I don’t blame him for all the problems. They are not a coach away from winning a cup, consistency or being great anything and there is something to be said for keeping things from changing too much. But I do agree in this case they know they are going to switch anyway make it now.

Since I feel pretty confident he is not a playoff coach where line changes and strategy on the fly are what separate good from bad. Try a coach that might work or not and know in a couple years when this team is much better talent wise you can still switch. Lambert or the guy from Europe (Gronberg I think) would be good to try. Never know it might be a great fit, and if not, you can move to an experienced vet coach when ready. I think it is time to try a new option.

Scott tar

No they are not a coach away from the cup, but a coach away from a true shot at playoffs, yes!! This lack luster coach has killed this team. Tell him we’d like to go in a different direction, winning! And while your at it, trade larkin while you can get a player or two who could help the team. Larkin is always pointing out where to be on his face offs, then looses the face off!! Watch the body language, these guys dont like him always telling them where to be, out of position?

Raise 91 to the rafters

One of my beefs is the power play groups. We may not have a Hedman, McDavid, Mathews or Ovechkin, who consistently play the entire 2 minutes of their PP, but he always split power play time between his best players and an inferior groups with the likes of of zadina, hronek, dekyser even ernie (lack of cap intended). The second group were playing the same PP minutes as Larkin, Bertuzzi, Vrana, Sieder, and
Raymond. Anyone in the later group should be capable of playing the entire 2 minutes.

Ridiculous.

J Campbell

If I sick of hearing him with all of his excuses of defensive lapses and not executing and we have to be competitive. The team must be completely not listening anymore. #Fireblashill

MZACKCPA

THIS FAILURE IS ON STEVE YZERMAN. HE TOLERATED THIS HORRIBLE SITUATION FAR TOO LONG. THIS IS AND WAS BAD MANGEMENT AS IT DAMAGED THE FRANCHISE, THE CULTURE AND THE PLAYERS. YZERMAN’S JOB IS TO SET THE BAR OF WHAT IS AND WHAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. AND. THIS WAS AND SHOULD NEVER BE ACCEPTABLE. CHANGE YOUR COACH WHEN THE TEAM IS NOT RESPECTING OR RESPONDING TO THE COACH. LARKIN SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE VOCAL IN THS SITUTAION AS WELL. HE NEEDS TO SHOW HOW INVESTED HE IS IN THIS TEAM. WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH BAD EXAMPLES OF ATHELETES WHO DIDN’T SPEAK UP AND SHOULD HAVE: SANDERS AND JOHNSON.

THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE OVER A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO.
HE MADE A SERIOUS MISCALCULATION THEN.
THIS WHOLE SITUATION SPIRIALED OUT OF CONTROL AND NO ONE BENEFITTED BY ALLOWING IN TO CONTINUE IT ONLY FESTERED.

STEVE NEEDS TO INTERNALIZE THIS MISTAKE AND LEARN GOING FORWARD:
ACT DECISIVELY AND ACT SWIFTLY.
HE DID THAT IN TAMPA BAY BUT, FAILED HERE.

THIS SHOULD BE ANNOUCED OVER THE WEEKEND,
SO WE CAN ALL MOVE FORWARD.

THANK GOD ITS OVER

Robert Alpiner

The talent level compared to the 1990s and 200s just is not there. Where are the future Hall of Famers? Probably time to change coaches for the sake of change to show the fan base that something was done. Team still at least 2 years away from the playoffs no matter who the coach is.

Sign Up!

Get the very best in Detroit Red Wings and NHL breaking news, analysis and opinion delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.