Mike Babcock, Drew Miller

Red Wings expected to name Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill as one of their assistants

The Detroit Red Wings have been on the hunt for assistant coaches for quite a while now, especially after wonderfully mustached right hand man Paul MacLean fled for the Ottawa Senators’ head post. Word circulated that the Red Wings would hire two now assistants for bench boss Mike Babcock (pictured) today; the Detroit Free Press reports that Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill will be one of them.

Blashill only spent one season as the head coach at Western Michigan, leading the team to its first NCAA tournament berth since 1996 after putting together a 19-13-10 record. Here is a little more coaching background on Blashill, according to a profile by Graham Couch of MLive.com.

Assistant coach at Ferris State (1998-2002)
Assistant coach at Miami of Ohio (2002-2008)
Head coach of USHL’s Indiana Ice (2008-2010)
Head coach of Western Michigan (2010-11)

Want some anecdotal discussion of what Blashill brings to the table? Here’s more from Couch’s profile.

“He’s a guy who demands the best out of you all the time and he gets it out of you,” said Michigan State freshman defenseman Torey Krug, who played for Blashill a year ago with the United States Hockey League’s Indiana Ice. “It might be a Monday morning practice after a long weekend and he’ll get in your face and tell you what is.

“One of the things I appreciated with coach Blashill is he’s going to make sure you’re there (mentally). As a player, you appreciate that, maybe not at the moment because he’s in your face screaming at you, but you appreciate it in the end.”

The Red Wings are expected to make Blashill and one other assistant coaching hire official later today. We’ll let you know who the other assistant ends up being (and confirm Blashill’s hire) once that happens.

Start the Carr: Habs recall another player from the minors

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There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.

This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.

Carr has no prior NHL experience.

The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.

In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.

This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.

Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.