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Red Wings Daily: Yzerman Tips Cap To Blashill



Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings GM
As much as he found it difficult to relieve Jeff Blashill of his duties as coach of the Red Wings, GM Steve Yzerman knew it had to be done.

The energy was about who would next be coaching the Detroit Red Wings. However, GM Steve Yzerman took time on Monday to recognize the job that Jeff Blashill did during seven years in charge of the team.

There’s a notion popularly held in some corners of the team’s fanbase. It’s that Blashill wasn’t up to the task of coaching in the NHL. Yzerman was quick to dismiss this idea.

“Jeff Blashill is a good hockey coach,” Yzerman said. “He ran a really good program. I can certainly attest to our program for the last three years because it’s been dictated by me.

“Under the circumstances where I’m trying to rebuild this team, we’re trying to add prospects, add draft picks, whatnot and in turn we’re letting our veterans go as opposed to re-signing them, I say this sincerely, Jeff did an outstanding job of leading this team, this organization in a very difficult circumstance.

“He ran a good program. Pardon the expression but this wasn’t a complete shit-show. We were organized, our guys practiced hard. I said it after year one, I said it after year two, you cannot judge Jeff Blashill on the Detroit Red Wings’ record. I think you judge it on how he ran this program and conducted himself and was extremely professional. It’s really unfair to put it on the coach.”

Red Wings In Need Of Change

At the same time, Yzerman is of the feeling that the team’s slumping in the second half was leaving him with no choice but to make a change behind the bench.

“I don’t know if plateaued is the right word, but we’d gotten to a point where fundamentally with and without the puck we had regressed,” Yzerman said. “We’re at a point now where I felt like we got to see if bringing in a new coach, new coaching staff, can make a difference to get us back on track and going in the right direction. Ultimately that is the biggest reason to make the change.”

Barber, Berggren Recognized

The American Hockey League was announcing on Monday the selection of Grand Rapids right wing Riley Barber as the AHL Player of the Month for April. As well, there was the selection of Griffins winger Jonatan Berggren as AHL Rookie of the Month.

Barber becomes just the second player in franchise history to win the AHL Player of the Month award, joining Chris Minard from Feb. 2012. The seven-year pro scored in all 13 games he played in April and compiled 21 points (15-6-21), two hat tricks and five multi-point outings. Barber ended the season on a career-best five-game goal streak, lighting the lamp nine times during that span. He concluded the year on an AHL season-high and career-high 17-game point streak (18-8-26).

Berggren joins Justin Abdelkader (Oct. 2008) and Tomas Kopecky (Feb. 2003) as the only three Griffins to achieve AHL Rookie of the Month. He finished the month with 20 points (6-14-20) in 14 contests. Berggren was counting seven multi-point outings, including two points in each of his last four games. Berggren closed April on an 11-game point streak (6-13-19).

He became the first rookie in Griffins history to record 60 points in a season and with that became Grand Rapids’ rookie single-season scoring leader. Berggren concluded the campaign with 64 points (21-43-64) in 70 outings, which placed second among rookies and tied for 12th among all AHL skaters. The 21-year-old became the first rookie to ever lead the Griffins in assists (43) and the third to pace the team in either points (64) or game-winning goals (7).

Farjestad Pulls Even

Red Wings draftee Albert Johansson picked up an assist as Farjestad blanked Lulea 4-0. By doing so, they drew even two games into the SHL final.

Game 3 in the best-of-seven set goes Tuesday.

Red Wings In Case You Missed It

Hockey Now Network

Pittsburgh: Hall of Famer Dave Molinari is joining the Pittsburgh Hockey Now team.

Boston: The Carolina Hurricanes whipped the Boston Bruins 5-1 in their playoff series opener.

Washington: Well, this isn’t good news. On the eve of the playoffs, the Washington Capitals still don’t know which goalie they’re going to play.

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Florida: Both Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad are expected to be playing in Game 1 of their playoff series.

Colorado: As the star of the Colorado Avalanche, Nathan MacKinnon recognizes that he’ll always be questioned until he wins a Stanley Cup.

Calgary: The Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames appear to be well-matched in their playoff series.