The Detroit Red Wings weren’t expected to do much this season so slogging to a 6-6-1 record shouldn’t catch anyone by surprise. But after starting out 4-1, the Red Wings dropped six in a row and suddenly Blashill found himself on toasty seat. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch wrote last week that the lack of improvement have started whispers around the league that the third-year coach is on borrowed time. The Detroit News’ Gregg Krupa adds that Blashill shouldn’t see a fourth season should the Red Wings continue to plummet in play. Aside from a lackluster power play, an inability to score goals, and some regression from scoring hopefuls Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, Blashill told Krupa back in July that he was 100% confident that Detroit would return to the playoffs after last year’s hiatus. That puts a lot of pressure on a coach who doesn’t have the strongest of rosters.
The Red Wings look far from a playoff contender. Worse, it looks like the Red Wings have a long journey back to respectability.
While Blashill certainly shoulders some of the blame for regression, others point out that Ken Holland, the architect of the team, should see the door first. From another standpoint, firing Blashill may just be putting a bandaid on a bigger wound. Red Wings blog Winging it in Motown had a writeup about exactly this and wondered if it would actually make sense to let Blashill go. From WIIM:
Things in Detroit won’t change for the better until the organization gets out of these bad contracts and changes the way it operates from a trades and free agency standpoint. The issues of this team start as a result of Holland and anything that leads to his return next season as general manager will just kick the can down the road. Unfortunately, another bad season is the only way to start the process of getting out of this mess.
The more the team struggles the louder the coaching change rumors will get. We have to hope for no knee jerk reactions that will set things back further as the season continues.
Regardless of what happens, Detroit is stuck with a lot of long-term deals drowning in dollars. It seems the Red Wings problems run deeper than just who is behind the bench.