As word spread across social media of Jeff Blashill’s dismissal as coach of the Detroit Red Wings, there was an interesting bit of info accompanying the posting of the news on Instagram.
Among the more than 5,000 people liking the news that Blashill wouldn’t return to Detroit’s bench next season was evgeny_svechnikov37. Yes, that Evgeny Svechnikov, the Winnipeg Jets forward and former Red Wings player.
Seems maybe Svech didn’t like him either pic.twitter.com/RYxL3agSzG
— Ryan (@RC_Tendy) April 30, 2022
Svechnikov was Detroit’s first-round draft choice in the 2015 NHL entry draft. The Red Wings took him 19th overall out of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, where Svehcnikov was a two-time 30-goal scorer.
Svechnikov wasn’t nearly as productive or successful during his Red Wings days, which all came on Blashill’s watch. A 20-goal scorer as an AHL rookie with the Grand Rapids Griffins, that ended up earning Evgeny Svechnikov a two-game look with the Red Wings. He went pointless in that brief NHL chance.
Knee Injury Slowed Svechnikov
In 2017-18, Svechnikov got into 14 games with the Wings, counting two goals and two assists. He spent the majority of the campaign (57 games) in GR. He then blew out his knee, underwent major reconstructive surgery and missed the entire 2018-19 season.
Returning for the 2019-20 campaign, Svechnikov was limited to four scoreless games in Detroit, again skating most of the season in GR (51 games). Finally in 2020-21 he got his longest Detroit stint. Svechnikov ended up playing 21 games for the Red Wings, putting up 3-5-8 totals. He wasn’t offered another contract and signed as a free agent with the Jets last summer.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) April 12, 2022
In Winnipeg, Svechnikov played his first fiull NHL season. He counted career-high 7-12-19 totals in 71 games.
Why Would Svechnikov Like Blashill Losing His Job?
It’s certainly rare in hockey for someone to take a public dig at a fellow NHL player or coach. What could be the cause of Svechnikov’s apparent joy at Blashill’s demise as Detroit coach? Well, it could be as simple as feeling he didn’t get a fair shake in Detroit. Or perhaps there’s more deep-seated resentment.
Early in the 2019-20 NHL season, right before a game against Carolina when Evgeny could’ve played for the first time against his younger brother, Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov, Evgeny was sent down to GR.
“We have to make the decisions that are best for him, that are best for the organization,” Blashill said at the time. “I know he’d like to play against his brother. They’re extremely close.
“Evgeny’s as good a person as I’ve been around. He’s an excellent human being and certainly you’d love to make that happen. But we’re in the business of trying to win hockey games and trying to do what’s best for the individual players.”
Is that the basis for some lingering bitterness that Svechnikov is harboring toward Blashill? His like certainly makes us wonder what the issue might be.