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Red Wings Yzerman Renders Split Decision in Review of Coaching Staff

Detroit GM expects coaches to improve team defense



Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings GM
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman says its incumbent on coach Derek Lalonde and staff to improve the club's defensive performance.

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman started out singing the praises of head coach Derek Lalonde and his staff.

Then all of a sudden, he was singing a completely different.

Is Yzerman happy with the work of his coaching staff?

Yes and no.

His overeall message seems to be that while things are good and in the improving mode, the bottom line remains that overall, it still isn’t good enough.

“It was a roller coaster of a year as far as wins and losses,” Yzerman said. “We were humming along and then we couldn’t win a game. We were trying to figure it out.”

While he wasn’t finding the Jekyll-Hyde nature of his team to be an enjoyable experience, Yzerman did offer kudos to his coaching staff for keeping the team motivated.

“I think we competed hard,” Yzerman said. “I thought there was a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of determination amongst the players.

“Obviously we weren’t perfect. But the most important thing from my vantage point is that our players are motivated, our players are determined. There’s a good atmosphere within the locker room.

“Part of that is the coaching staff helps foster that or create that. Overall, I’m happy with the direction we’re going, the coaching that we have.”

Yzerman Comes To Red Wings Defense With Growing Concern

Turning the subject to the club’s ability to play defense was causing Yzerman happy face to turn upside down.

“Ultimately, we gotta become a better defensive hockey team,” Yzerman said. “We have to improve in that area.

“It’s the fundamentals of defending. I’m counting on our coaching staff to work with our players and our players be determined to do that. It’s not necessarily the system, it’s the basic fundamentals of defending that at times this year we struggled with, and we need to address it again.”

Though Detroit was to reduce the club’s overall goals against from 275 down to 273, in the bigger picture, the Red Wings were slumping from 22nd to 24th in the league in goals allowed. They were 27th in the NHL in 5-in-5 goals against (189). The was an increase from the 183 allowed the season prior.

“It’s incumbent upon our coaching staff to instill or improve, continue to work on, whether it’s a different system or getting better in how we play and improving our players in the system,” Yzerman assessed of the club’s continuing defensive woes. “It’s practice, practice, practice for me and get it over with.”