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Report: Lightning Assistant Derek Lalonde Interviewed in Detroit Tuesday

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Derek Lalonde, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach Derek Lalonde has interviewed for the head coaching job in Detroit

Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach Derek Lalonde was in Detroit Tuesday to interview for the vacant head coaching job, according NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes.

One reason why the Red Wings’ coaching search has taken time is because GM Steve Yzerman wanted to interview the Tampa Bay assistants. They were involved in the NHL playoffs until the Lightning were eliminated Sunday in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Yzerman hired Lalonde in 2018 when he was the Tampa Bay general manager. He also hired Washington assistant coach Jeff Halpern. He is probably also on Detroit’s interview list.

Lalonde turns 50 on August 18. Prior to becoming one of Jon Cooper’s assistants, he was a head coach in the United States Hockey League, ECHL and the American League. He coached ECHL’s Toledo Walleye in his climb to the NHL.

Joe Smith of the Athletic profiled Lalonde after he temporarily became Lightning head coach. Cooper was in COVID-19 protocol.

Lalonde a Colorful Character

The gifted writer said Lalonde possesses an outgoing personality and self-deprecating humor that helps him connect to player. He often starts speeches with a joke. His fashion faux pas are legendary. Mismatched socks. Tie-shirt coordination that doesn’t work. Old man shoes. He often faces ribbing about his wardrobe.

“Lalonde can take it,” Smith writes, “as the short-and-stocky, bald coach notes his resemblance to Uncle Fester from “The Addams Family.” He’ll tell players that he was a Division III goalie back in the day, but he’s still got issues skating crossing over to his left.”

The bottom line: Lalonde is well respected by players and management in Tampa Bay.

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Yzerman said after firing Jeff Blashill that he feels his best hires are those he knew before the interview. Yzerman knows Lalonde. But he also knows Halpern as well. It’s unknown whether Halpern has interviewed or will interview.

Detroit Hockey Now has confirmed that the Red Wings didn’t approach the Carolina Hurricanes about Ryan Warsofsky, the young coaching star of the Chicago Wolves in the AHL.

The Boston Bruins are moving closer to naming a new coach. Former New York Rangers coach David Quinn may be the leading candidate, but there are others being interviewed.

The New York Islanders (Lane Lambert), Philadelphia Flyers (John Tortorella), Florida Panthers (Paul Maurice), Vegas Golden Knights (Bruce Cassidy) and Chicago Blackhawks (Luke Richardson) have already named coaches. If Boston’s work is done, only the Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets are still looking for coaches.

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