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Lidstrom Won’t Rule Out European Coach For Red Wings

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Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings VP of hockey operations Nicklas Lidstrom won't rule out a European as next coach of the team.

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is promising to leave no stone unturned in his search for the next coach of the team. They will be taking all qualified applicants under consideration.

Evidently, they are preparing to span the globe in pursuit of the next bench boss. Red Wings vice-president of hockey operations Nicklas Lidstrom offered indications that European coaches will be in the mix for the position.

Swedish coaches Rikard Grönborg of Swiss club Zurirch and Roger Rönnberg of Frölunda have been mentioned in speculation regarding the Detroit job. Canadian Cam Abbott, who coaches Rögle in Sweden, is another who has been connected to Red Wings coaching rumors.

“We will try to find the coach who is best suited for the Red Wings’ development going forward and who can help us get better,” Lidstrom explained to Swedish media site Aftonbladet.se. “Then we will see where that coach comes from.”

There’s never been a Swedish coach in the NHL. The closest was Canadian Jeremy Colliton. The former coach of the Chicago Blackhawks previously coached Mora in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second division.

Lidstrom was quick to caution that the Detroit coaching search was still in its infancy.

“The process has not really started for us yet with candidates for a new coach for Red Wings,” Lidstrom said. “I do not really have any comments about the name of the coach yet. There will of course be a lot of speculation on possible candidates.”

Red Wings GM Yzerman Open To All Possibilities

Yzerman also wasn’t about to rule out a European element to his coaching search. Pittsburgh’s Ivan Hlinka (Czech) and Chicago’s Alpo Suhonen (Finland) are the only Europeans to be NHL head coaches but it hasn’t occurred since 2001.

“It hasn’t happened for whatever reasons,” Yzerman said. “I’m not really sure why.”

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Yzerman wasn’t sure that he wouldn’t say ‘why not?’ to a European as head coach of the Red Wings.

“At this stage I’m not going to restrict my search or my long list to any particular criteria as he has to be a head coach, he has to have NHL experience, this or that,” Yzerman said. “I’m not going to kind of restrict it to any particular tight, narrow set of requirements I guess, or experience or lack of experience for that matter.”