The Detroit Red Wings find themselves at the bottom of the NHL this season with a dismal 15-47-4 record and already have been eliminated from a potential playoff spot on Feb. 21.
That could spell the end for head coach Jeff Blashill, who could find himself out of a job when the regular season ends. Both general manager Steve Yzerman and president and CEO Christopher Illitch have been supportive of Blashill recently. However, Illitch went a step further on Friday, stating that Blashill’s job will be completely in the hands of Yzerman, in an interview with the Detroit Free Press’ Carlos Monarrez.
“I think Steve had indicated that Jeff and Steve are going to talk after the season’s over and they’ll talk about the future and we’ll see where it goes,” said Illitch. “But at the end of the day, that’s Steve’s call. I support it, but I agree with Steve. I think Jeff’s done a good job in the situation he’s been given.”
Last Monday, Yzerman told the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James that the team can’t blame all the losing on Blashill and was supportive of a coach that he inherited last year when he took over as GM.
“It’s unfair to judge Jeff Blashill on our team’s record, it really is,” said Yzerman. “I put this team together. I had expectations for the year. I don’t think this is a playoff team honestly. A lot of things would have had to go right for us to be a playoff team at the start of the year. Obviously that hasn’t happened. A lot of things went wrong that we necessarily didn’t forsee, whether it be injury or what not.”
- With rumors that Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, an unrestricted free agent this summer, could be looking for a $9MM per year on the open market and potentially asking for $8MM from the Boston Bruins, WEEI’s Matt Kalman spoke to Krug who said that he hasn’t changed his mindset on negotiations with the Bruins. “No, I’ve been in the same spot from Day One. Just obviously trying to respect the situation here and trying to find a balance of being paid fairly and obviously being part of a winning team too,” Krug said. Krug has eight goals and 45 points this year and is a key piece to the team, but at 28 years of age, the Bruins may be hesitant to hand him a long-term deal. The team did free up some cap room at the trade deadline, unloading the albatross contract of David Backes as well as moving Danton Heinen, but the team has a number of other players it needs to sign as well.
- While there is no word on when Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci might return, the blueliner did participate in Saturday’s morning skate, signaling he might not be that far away from returning, according to TSN’s Kristen Shilton. “It’s moving along pretty good. [Morning skate] was a nice step for me,” said Ceci, who is out with an ankle injury since Feb. 5. His next step is to take contact at a full practice.
- In an unusual AHL transaction, the Laval Rocket announced they have re-assigned goaltender Keith Kinkaid to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. Kinkaid signed with the Montreal Canadiens in the offseason as the backup to Carey Price. However, Kinkaid struggled in six appearances with a .875 save percentage. He has played with the Rocket for 13 appearances with little more success (.876 save percentage) and now will attempt to help out the Checkers, the AHL affiliate, who lost both Anton Forsberg and Alex Nedeljkovic to the Carolina Hurricanes after their two starters went down with injury. Regardless, it’s an AHL transactions, which means his contract still belongs to the Canadiens.