Didn’t take the Red Wings long to fill a vacancy on Jeff Blashill’s coaching staff — and, what’s more, they did it with a familiar face.
On Tuesday — one day after GM Ken Holland cut ties with goalie coach Jim Bedard, and re-assigned assistant Pat Ferschweiler — the Wings announced that Doug Houda, the longtime Boston assistant that spent six years of his playing career with Detroit, has signed a three-year deal.
Houda will serve as one of Blashill’s two assistants next season, with the other spot still to be filled. And while Detroit said Houda’s role on the bench is still “unclear,” it stands to reason he’ll inherit at least some of ex-assistant Tony Granato’s responsibilities.
Last year, Granato was in charge of the Wings’ defensemen and penalty kill,
In his first eight seasons with the B’s, Houda ran the blueline and the club’s power play.
But in his last two years with Boston, Houda was removed from his special teams role and focused solely on the defense. In April, he was the only coach dismissed after the B’s failed to make the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
There were some who felt Houda was unfairly scapegoated for Boston’s defensive issues over the last two campaigns.
Those critics pointed to losing two key pieces — Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton — the slowing down of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, and a slew of young, inexperienced replacements (Colin Miler, Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman) as the main reasons Boston’s defense struggled recently.
“Doug Houda is a great coach,” Claude Julien told the Boston Globe last month. “Doug Houda will coach again in this league. The players loved him.”
Houda, 50, was Detroit’s second-round pick in 1984, and appeared in over 160 games for the organization before getting traded to Hartford in 1991.
In 1998, he was traded back to the Red Wings (from Anaheim), and registered his final NHL point that season.