The Detroit Red Wings are 16-16-3 and clinging to life in the Atlantic Division. Rather than rotting in the depths, things are starting to come together. While it was written before the COVID-19 outbreak changed things around a lot, I wrote that the Red Wings will not count out the playoffs just yet.
Detroit Red Wings fans may not have expected a playoff run or even a truly competitive season in 2021-22, but this team is surprising many. They’re going to continue to turn heads and might just wind up making the playoffs as a last-minute entry.
That being said, the man behind the bench is crucial for a team making a run and for a team’s success. In recent years, the perennial contenders’ teams seem like they all have that coach who has been around.
Think about it. There are teams like the Bruins with Bruce Cassidy, who always has a competitive position. Joel Quenneville during his days with the Chicago Blackhawks. Scotty Bowman for those fans who miss the late 90s.
While I am not trying to suggest that Jeff Blashill is similar to Scotty Bowman or will be the coach of the future and be some hall of fame caliber bench boss, but there is something about how things have gone with Blashill that’s starting to stand out.
Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill is reliable.
Over the years, I’ve written plenty about Blashill’s coaching. From his questionable lineup choices, interesting line combinations, and heavy amounts of couch-coach criticism, I’ve covered it all. But, as a blogger or a fan, these coaches’ actions will always upset someone. In the end, it’s menial.
The decision to play Darren Helm on the first line for ten games in a row back in 2017-18 really does not matter. But when it comes to Blashill’s style in the long term, he has done well as of late. He’s been reliable, which helped him earn the contract extension that Yzerman handed him after the 2020-21 season concluded.
With the help of Steve Yzerman from above in the general manager role to the caliber of the team improving, Blashill seems to have things going well. It’s no fault of his for the team’s lackluster performance in recent years; it’s a rebuild.
But now that the team is coming to a point where they are seemingly going to be good again, it should be interesting if Blashill can remain reliable. If he can do what he does best, work with the young talent and let the veteran leaders take care of things to create a winning culture.
As I mentioned early on, it’s not to say Blashill will be the team’s new fearless leader and icon-coach, but he deserves a chance to keep working with this group as they come out of the rebuild.