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Lalonde’s Message To Red Wings Players: Don’t Take Criticism Personally

Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde suggested there were many hard conversations following Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the Devils



Derek Lalonde, Red Wings coach
Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde seeks to keep all criticism constructive.

The glaring spotlight shining upon them is a fact of life for players on the Detroit Red Wings. It’s part of what you sign up for when signing a contract to be playing a professional sport.

However, there’s one place where they’d rather not be appearing on the big screen. That’s behind the closed doors of a team meeting, as what went wrong from the previous game is broken down via video by the coaching staff in front of their peers. At that point, there’s nowhere to hide.

One of those days came on Wednesday following Detroit’s embarrassing 6-2 home-ice loss to the New Jersey Devils at Little Caesars Arena. It was the club’s first regulation-time loss of the season and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

Upon further review, it didn’t get any less ugly.

“I had some hard conversations with a lot of different guys (Wednesday) morning,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “That’s all part of it.”

Red Wings Shouldn’t Feel Embarrassed

A factor Lalonde is always weighing during this video sessions is eminding everyone – especially those starring as central figures in the bad examples – that this isn’t about embarrassing them. It’s not personal, just strictly aimed at making both player and team better in the long run.

Over the years, Lalonde was learning a trait that’s helping out in this manner. That’s having an assistant coach taking the player aside for a one-on-one video session prior to the team meeting. This can soften the blow. They aren’t being caught by surprise during the group session.

“If I’m going to have a really hard conversation, if some of our players are going to show up in the team video in a hard way, sometimes that’s a good heads-up for the assistant,” Lalonde explaned. “Now it’s a one-on-one meeting, some video – don’t be surprised if you see this in the video, take it constructively, the right way.

“That’s all part of managing.”

Though he’s never been an NHL head coach, Lalonde does have seven years as a bench boss in the college, junior and minor pro ranks. Employment of this formula for helping players deal with the reality that sometimes their gaffes will become public viewing for the betterment of the team is part and parcel of learning how to win.

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“You hope to be able to manage them the right way,” Lalonde said.  “I don’t know if you can continue to beat on them in those ways. You have to have a mixture of both and that’s where we’re at with it.”