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Yzerman On Why He Re-Signed Red Wings Head Coach Jeff Blashill

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has decided to extend head coach Jeff Blashill for another season, despite the team’s lack of success.

On Tuesday, the Detroit Red Wings re-signed head coach Jeff Blashill to a contract extension. It was a polarizing decision among the Red Wings fan base considering the team didn’t come close to being a playoff team and that he’s had a long run with a hockey club that isn’t terribly competitive.

Blashill is the third-longest tenured coach in the NHL and the Red Wings are a rebuilding club that could have potentially benefited from a new voice. There are many strong coaching candidates becoming available on the open market and Yzerman could have gone in a number of different directions. Instead, the GM is sticking with the guy he knows.

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Yzerman explained: “I feel our team is collectively very competitive … we play hard. That’s a reflection of the coaching staff. I see progress is being made.” He added, “Jeff has really shown (the willingness) to work with me with working young players into the lineup. Hasn’t handed them opportunities and made them work for it.”

While some fans are saying they’re not seeing progress in the young core of the team, Yzerman doesn’t agree and believes a coach who took AHL players to a championship is the right guy to work this young team into shape. That he’s been saddled with nothing more than a mediocre team at best and made them compete, the team’s losing record is probably not the highest of priorities for Yzerman.

Consider too, that not only to do players not ask to be traded out of Detroit, but they want to stay despite many of their roster being players who were signed to one-year deals. This is rare in today’s NHL when playing on a winning team means an awful lot.

Trust In Yzerman

There will be critics of this move but at the end of the day, Yzerman is around this Detroit team continuously and he’s clearly a good judge of character and talent. Red Wings fans can only hope he’s right in his assessment of Blashill and that the team takes a big step forward next season.

Jeff Blashill Detroit Red Wings head coach at practice
Jeff Blashill Detroit Red Wings head coach

If the team can get better playing the way Blashill wants them to, the continued messaging and commitment to the coach could pay off in the long run.

There’s also the possibility that this is just a stop gap move and that when the Red Wings are a more competitive team with younger players who are ready to contribute, Yzerman may have someone else in mind to take this team over the finish line.

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