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Yzerman Looking to Lightning for new Red Wings coach?

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Jeff Halpern, Lightning
Jeff Halpern is an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Detroit's Steve Yzerman may talk to him about the Red Wings job

Sunday Night’s conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final should also bring closure to the Detroit Red Wings coaching search.

Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman keeps his plans to himself. But five other NHL teams — the New Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights. Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks — have chosen new coaches. The presumption is Yzerman has been waiting to talk to Tampa Bay assistant coaches Jeff Halpern and Derek Lalonde. Yzerman hired both of them when he was the Lightning general manager.

Andy Strickland, the St. Louis Blues Bally Sports Midwest reporter, reported on social media that Halpern “has the inside track.”

Detroit Hockey Now has not been able to confirm that report. Strickland has covered hockey for a long time and has broken national news in the past.

There’s an expectation that the Red Wings will name a coach this week, but the Red Wings have not scheduled any press conference or provided any heads-up that an announcement is forthcoming. The Red Wings’ job opened up when Yzerman fired Jeff Blashill immediately after the season.

Halpern vs. Lalonde

Ideally, the Red Wings would like a coach before the NHL draft, scheduled for July 7-8 in Montreal. The Red Wings will host a prospect camp right after that. Plus, the new head coach will be involved in the hiring of assistant coaches. Alex Tanguay is the only assistant that was retained.

Halpern, 46, played 976 NHL games, for seven different teams, as a highly regarded role player. He has no head coaching experience. Yzerman hired him as a lightning assistant after he served as an assistant coach on the Calder Trophy-winning Syracuse team in the AHL.

Lalonde is 49 and boasts head coaching experience in the United States Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and the American League. He won a playoff championship in the USHL. Lalonde guided the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to a 50-15-5-2 record to win the league’s regular-season championship in 2014-15. He helped the Iowa Wild record their first winning season in the American Hockey League.

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