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As Veteran Coaches Wait, the Red Wings are Clearly Being Patient

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In the first edition of Detroit Hockey Now’s Coaching Update, there were a couple names not listed since there’s been no contact. But he may be right up the Detroit Red Wings’ alley.

But more on him in a second.

Barry Trotz, John Tortorella and even Rick Tocchet have all been named as potential replacements for Jeff Blashill. DHN’s Kevin Allen wrote that it’s expected that the Red Wings go with a tougher coach this time around.

All three meet that requirement. Because of their veteran coaching experience, they seem like potential fits.

But the longer it goes without Steve Yzerman naming a replacement, the more it seems that maybe the veteran coaches aren’t his target after all.

In terms of Trotz, there is no rush for him to take a job according to the most recent entry from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman. Philadelphia, Dallas, Vegas, and Winnipeg have all spoken with him. Of those teams, where would Detroit fit?

The Red Wings have an offseason ahead that will likely be another small, but significant step forward. Does Trotz want to wait that out? Or would he prefer a team like Vegas, who is a Cup or bust mentality. Winnipeg is also a very likely option since Trotz is a native.

Tortorella is an interesting choice, one whose very name sends some fans into an absolute tizzy. Currently a commentator on ESPN, Tortorella has interviewed already with Philadelphia.

Truly the biggest question is would the sometimes prickly personality that Tortorella has shown at times mesh with Yzerman?

As Allen wrote a month ago, that many players thought Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan was tougher to play for than Tortorella. But just because he is that tougher coach, doesn’t mean that Yzerman will select him. As of now, there has been no conversation between Tortorella or the Red Wings.

Tocchet is currently a studio analyst with TNT and news on potential interviews has been scarce. But he too, was another coach that would push his players as a taskmaster.

But maybe the answer is still in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay May Provide the Red Wings’ Next Coach

Yzerman’s former club, the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion, may very be holding Detroit’s next head coach. Derek Lalonde seems like a natural fit for the Red Wings. Yzerman said quite a bit about the coach he seeks.

“I intend to look at all different avenues or different leagues or different backgrounds of coaches,” Yzerman said.  “I’m not going to restrict myself to any particular resume in who I determine the next coach will be.”

That’s not all Yzerman said.

“I think we’re just making a mistake if we limit ourselves to a specific criteria,” Yzerman said. “Just ‘cause a guy’s worked in the
league, it doesn’t entitle him to the right to get another job. Likewise, we shouldn’t exclude these young minds, whether it’s a
Sheldon Keefe or say, Jon Cooper.”

It’s the obvious: Yzerman is going to do his due diligence. And so they wait.

Which brings it back to Lalonde. Yzerman was still at the top of Tampa Bay’s organization when Lalonde was brought into the fold. He’s helped the team to back-to-back Cups and obviously still in it battling for a third.

Of some of the work written about him, Lalonde is described in an article written by the Athletic’s Joe Smith as the “yin to Cooper’s yang.”

Pretty high praise. With a comfort of knowing the type of coach and human he’s getting, Lalonde seems like almost the most natural leader on Yzerman’s list.

But taking into account how Yzerman is approaching it, and likely that Lalonde will be sought by several teams, a reunion might not be a slam dunk.

One Other Name To Keep an Eye On

The Chicago Wolves dominated the AHL from the November through their game one tilt tonight against Stockton. The Wolves are led by Ryan Warsofsky, who has led Carolina’s AHL affiliates for two seasons now. (Last season with the Checkers and this season with the Wolves).

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Warsofsky is just 34-years-old and has seen success in both the ECHL and the AHL. In fact, his Wolves team this season set the all-time organization record with a .724 winning percentage. If they go out and win the Calder Cup, you have to figure other teams beyond the Red Wings will be calling.

Of course, Carolina can block access and that wouldn’t be surprising in the least.

The veteran coaches certainly have experience and the toughness Yzerman seeks. But he’ll wait as long as he has to, in doing his due diligence, to move the team another step forward with the right voice.

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