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Red Wings Players Offer Assessment of Lalonde

Coach will be entering thrid season behind Detroit bench



Derek Lalonde, Red Wings coach
Here's what Red Wings players think about the job that head coach Derek Lalonde is doing.

Detroit Red Wings players are really no different than you when it comes to workplace relationships. While their might be more zeroes on the end of their paychecks and further girth to their wallet than yours, the fact of the matter is they have both good and bad days on the job.

And some days, their boss certanly can get on their nerves.

This is going to be Derek Lalonde’s third season on the job as head coach of the team when the Red Wings go to training camp in the fall. He’s also entering the last year of the three-year deal he signed with Detroit, so viewing it from the outside, it’s easy to see this as a make it or break it season concerningas his future with the team.

That being the case, it’s interesting to get a sense of the sentiments that the Red Wings players have of the job their bench boss is doing.

“Newsy, one thing I really respect about him and like about him as a coach is he’s always pretty even keeled,” Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said. “He’s demanding but he knows how to get the best out of each guy I believe.

“Whether it’s different, or the same, I think he’s just really always the same, even keel. You know what you’re gonna get and I respect that.”

Red Wings Lalonde Can Be Contradictory

If you pay attention during Lalonde’s sessions with the media, his answers often take on a point-counterpoint aura. Reporters covering the team are often referring to this as Lalonde’s ‘yeah but’ instinct.

He’ll frequently follow a compliment about a player by highlighting a moment of an instance where they could’ve done something better, especially if it’s an example of how they hampered the team’s chances at success.

“I can’t say I’ve watched too much of what he’s like in the press room but he is a pretty calm guy, but he’s still passionate,” Red Wings forward J.T. Compher said. “There’s times where he’s fired up.”

Behind the scenes, the players do admit that Lalonde doesn’t hesitate to call players out and demand more of them.

“He’s a competitive guy just like the rest of the players and coaches in that room,” Compher said. “He wants to win and he, along with the rest of the group, feels like we do everything we can to win and he’s part of that.”

Yzerman Will Have Ultimate Call On Lalonde’s Future

Even though he’s only been in charge of the Red Wings for two seasons, there are only 10 current NHL head coaches with more seniority in their current job than Lalonde.

When you get right down to it, there’s only one man who’ll determine the long-term future of Lalonde as Detroit’s bench boss. That would be his boss, Detroit GM Steve Yzerman.

“I think we competed hard,,” was Yzerman’s assessment of Detroit’s 2023-24 season. “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.”