Speaking for the first time since his firing as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, Jeff Blashill was effusive in his praise of the man who is replacing him.
“They got a real good coach in Derek Lalonde, who I think will do great things,” Blashill said of the new coach of the Red Wings. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Derek Lalonde.”
It’s actually been a coaching merry go round for Lalonde and Blashill. While Lalonde was replacing Blashill behind Detroit’s bench, the Tampa Bay Lightning were announcing on Tuesday that Blashill would be replacing Lalonde on the staff of coach Jon Cooper.
We have hired Jeff Blashill as assistant coach.
Glad to have you in Tampa, Coach!https://t.co/vgPFocOxBw
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 12, 2022
Blashill and Cooper are longtime firends. They held some preliminary conversations whille Blashill was coaching with Team USA at the IIHF World Championship. Once it became apparent that Lalonde would be taking the Detroit job, the talks between Blashill and Cooper began heating up.
“Kind of as I went through a couple different processes and Coop went thought same process once he found out Derek was headed to Detroit, we had more detailed conversations,” Blashill said. “We both came to the conclusion this was the right move for both of us.
“I’m certainly excited about it and I believe he is as well.”
Blashill Holding Fond Red Wings Memories
It certainly didn’t end up working out how anyone would’ve been hoping for things to turn out. However, that doesn’t mean Blashill is harboring any bitterness about his demise in Detroit.
“Over the course of seven years I got the opportunity to coach a team I grew up cheering for,” Blashill said. “For a young boy who was born in Detroit and grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, it was a great experience, great life experience.
“My kids were in the Detroit area for seven straight years, which is not always the norm in coaching. They got to grow up and really be raised here to a large extent.
Jeff Blashill, the #Bolts newest assistant coach, on what he is most proud of in his time with the Detroit Red Wings: "I got the opportunity to coach the team I grew up cheering for…my kids were in the Detroit area for 7 straight years, which is not always the norm in coaching"
— Gabby Shirley (@Gabby_Shirley_) July 12, 2022
“We obviously didn’t have the success we wanted to on the ice,. Part of that is the situation we were in and the fact that shortly into my time we went into a rebuild that then became a full rebuild.
“I know the program is headed in the right direction. Really when I look back, just fond of the people I worked with. The experiences we went through, the players I got the opportunity to coach. I’m proud of the fact we worked through a lot of difficult times. I think the ship is headed in the right direction.”
“Certainly, through adversity you can really have an opportunity to grow. And certainly I feel like I had that opportunity to grow. A big part of that was my inner workings with (Red Wings GM) Steve (Yzerman).”