Detroit Red Wings Hire Jeff Blashill


The Detroit Red Wings named their 27th coach in franchise history today; Jeff Blashill. Most thought the Grand Rapids Griffins coach was a shoe-in for the job. Ken Holland said he only talked to Blashill when it came to who was going to replace the former Mike Babcock. He said he “Probably made the decision a year ago.”

Blashill brings a lot to the Red Wings bench despite being only 41, which is pretty young for a NHL coach. He has the experience of winning. He and the Griffins won the Calder Cup in the American Hockey League two seasons ago. He also won a championship in the United States Hockey League with the Indiana Ice.

When Blashill was offered the job in Grand Rapids he said he reached out to Jon Cooper, one of the two coaches in the Stanley Cup finals, him being with the Tampa Bay Lightning, when he was offered the job in Grand Rapids. He said Cooper told him to take the job.

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Holland said when he told Blashill last year other NHL clubs were interested, Blashill told him “I love it here” and so he stayed in Grand Rapids, now he’s with Detroit. The Red Wings hire wasn’t flashy because let’s be honest the common hockey fan has no idea who Blashill is.

With Blashill coming to coach the Red Wings, he becomes the first American Head Coach in Red Wings history. Blashill is the first head coach hired by Detroit who has never previously been an NHL player or head coach since Nick Polano. Interesting fact; Polano was the first coach Mike and Marian Ilitch hired.

So Who Is Jeff Blashill? 

Blashill was born in Southfield, Michigan, but, raised in Sault Ste. Marie. His father was a longtime professor of criminal justice and fire science at Lake Superior State, retiring as a dean in 2008.

Blashill was a goaltender at Ferris State University while in college. His brother Tim is the Program & Pro Shop Coordinator there as well. Blashill has a winning pedigree as he’s compiled a 225-127-10-28 (W-L-T-OTL) overall record as a head coach for a .626 winning percentage at three different levels.

What Does Hiring Jeff Blashill Mean For Detroit?

The thing I took out of the presser that was held today is when Blashill said; “It’s not about the (playoff) streak… it’s about competing to get in at a level to win.” He later said, “It’s important” to get in the playoffs and is the expectation he puts on himself.

Blashill has coach many of the Red Wings players, but one would wonder if he makes the team a little younger? Does he bring up the Red Wings top prospect such as, Dylan Larkin or perhaps Anthony Mantha? That’s a question we don’t exactly know just yet. Blashill said the same thing “It’s tough to call, we have a long ways from September.”

Blashill also was quick to say Howard and Mrazek will be on the roster next year. He said “It’s important to have depth at all positions, especially goalie, we lost to a team who is up 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Finals. That’s how close this league is.”

Interesting Notes From Ken Holland: 

  • Holland said that it’s “Possible” that he could bring Dan Cleary back.
  • Cleary also is rumored to retire and could take a position in the Red Wings Organization
  • TSN’s Aaron Ward said that Chris Chelios will be an assistant coach.
  • Holland hasn’t made a decision on if Zidlicky will be back.

Reaction To Hire:

I like the hire of Blashill. Detroit is getting a guy who is a proven winner. That’s something you just don’t have randomly. I look at Blashill like Cooper and that’s not a bad thing. Both are really smart, both are taking over teams that were ready to win.

Blashill knows the Red Wings organization well and that well play into his favor. The Red Wings hire of Blashill is the best hire for the team. He knows the players, he has a good sense of the direction the team wants to go into, I see this being a smooth transition.

Next: Would you bring Dan Cleary back?

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