One of the hottest NHL head coaching candidates is staying put — for now.
Jeff Blashill, the head coach of Detroit’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, has signed a three-year extension to remain with the organization, the Wings announced on Wednesday. Blashill, 40, has been with Detroit since the 2011-12 season, first spending a year behind the Red Wings bench as Mike Babcock’s assistant before taking the head coaching gig with the Griffins.
In Grand Rapids, Blashill has enjoyed tremendous success. The team won the Calder Cup last season and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals this season before losing to the Texas Stars. The loss represented the first playoff series loss the Griffins suffered during Blashill’s tenure as head coach.
This past season, a number of his players successfully made the jump to the NHL: Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Luke Glendening and Brendan Smith, to name a few.
The three-year extension is interesting on a number of fronts. One, it essentially takes Blashill out of the running for vacant positions in Vancouver, Florida and Carolina — earlier this month, Detroit GM Ken Holland called Blashill “an NHL coach in the making” — and two, it could be seen as a succession plan should (or, whenever) Mike Babcock decides to step down as Detroit’s head coach.
Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth
Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.
“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”
“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”
As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupovto injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.
After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:
"That's a really disappointing effort from our hockey club… We weren't a very determined team." McLellan on the #Oilers defeat