Mike Halford

Jeff Blashill

Wings shake up coaching staff, Holland stresses need for change


Jeff Blashill will be back behind the Detroit bench next season.

But he’s about the only one returning from this year’s coaching staff.

Just one week after reports of wholesale changes coming behind the bench, the Red Wings made two noteworthy moves on Monday:

— Jim Bedard, the longtime goalie coach that’s been with the club for the last 18 years, has been told he won’t be brought back.

— Pat Ferschweiler, the first year NHL assistant head coach that came up with Blashill from AHL Grand Rapids, has been reassigned to work out of the press box next season.

“We need change,” general manager Ken Holland said, per MLive. “We’re still trying to figure out exactly how we’re putting the staff together. Jeff felt he wanted to put together a different staff, felt it was time for some change.”

Change is definitely happening though, to be fair, the process was already underway. Prior to the Bedard and Ferschweiler moves, the club lost veteran bench boss Tony Granato, who left his assistant’s post to take the head coaching gig at the University of Wisconsin.

So now, Blashill could be working with an entirely new group for 2016-17.

Who comprises that group remains to be seen.

Holland said he wanted “someone with a lot of experience,” and MLive suggested Marc Crawford, a Stanley Cup-winning coach with 18 years on his resume, as a viable candidate.

Crawford, though, has reportedly already committed to another assistant position, on Guy Boucher’s staff in Ottawa.

In today’s piece, MLive suggested the likes of Todd Richards, Dave Cameron, Paul MacLean, Mike Yeo and Doug Houda as potential additions to Blashill’s staff.

It’s possible the decision could come down to who can best improve the club’s power play. Ferschweiler faced some criticism running the unit this season — though it did finish a respectable 13th in the league, Detroit’s man advantage struggled for long stretches and was horrific in the playoffs, going just 1-for-25.

As for who replaces Bedard as goalie coach, it’s believed Jeff Salajko — who coached Petr Mrazek in AHL Grand Rapids — could be promoted to the parent club.

Report: Crawford to join Boucher’s staff in Ottawa

Marc Crawford
Getty Images

Marc Crawford’s return to the NHL is just about complete.

Per TSN, Crawford is expected to be named Guy Boucher’s associate coach today in Ottawa. The hire would come just one day after Sens GM Pierre Dorion gave Boucher the club’s head coaching gig, returning Boucher to the NHL after a multi-year stint in Switzerland.

And in that regard, Boucher and Crawford have a lot in common.

Crawford, too, is coming off the heels of a stint with Zurich in the Swiss League, during which he won the league title in 2014 and mentored top draft prospect Auston Matthews.

In looking for his head coach, Dorion stressed he wanted a veteran guy with experience at the NHL level.

Based on the Crawford hire, it seems Ottawa wanted the same out of its associate. The 55-year-old has a truckload of experience — 15 years in the NHL, to be exact — won a Cup with the Avs, and his 549 wins put him 18th all time.

If there’s any disappointment from Crawford, it’s probably that he was unable return to head coaching. He’s interviewed for a number of jobs over the last few years — including the Minnesota gig, filled over the weekend by Bruce Boudreau — but will now have to settle for a right-hand man’s job.

To be fair, Crawford did say he would be more than willing to take an assistant coaching position, so long as it got him back into the NHL.

That led to earlier rumblings of Crawford potentially landing in Detroit, where GM Ken Holland is looking to add experience to Jeff Blashill’s staff.

Related: ‘No doubt’ Boucher was Ottawa’s first choice, says GM

Will Sutter take ‘punches in the gut’ and return to coach Kings?

Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter listens to a question during a news conference after Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 win over the Kings in the second overtime period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Western Conference finals, Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Chicago. The Blackhawks advance to the Stanley Cup finals. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Darryl Sutter has an offer on the table to return as the Kings’ head coach, and GM Dean Lombardi isn’t concerned about him walking away.

But that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing in Los Angeles.

In Friday’s conference call, Lombardi acknowledged the Kings are in a bit of a tough spot, and need to reevaluate things after missing the playoffs two years ago and getting bounced in five games this season.

“I think there’s an offer that’s certainly respectable, but I don’t think this is about money,” Lombardi said, per Yahoo. “I think it’s ‘are we ready to do this’ because it’s going to be a lot of work. And just like building it in the past, you stick with some tough times.

“We’re not going back to there, but to get this back on track there’s going to be some minor punches in the gut as we fight our way through.”

Sutter, 57, has been with L.A. for the last five seasons and enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, winning two Stanley Cups. His direct, no-nonsense approach is admired (even if his players locked him out of the dressing room once) and he’s incredibly tight with Lombardi, dating back from their time together in San Jose.

Sutter — from Viking, Alberta, population 1,041 — also enjoys life in L.A. He says living in Manhattan Beach is “awesome” and “basically a small town.”

But for all the good stuff, the last two years have been tumultuous off the ice — Slava Voynov’s domestic violence charge, Jarret Stoll‘s drug arrest, Mike Richards‘ contract termination — and underwhelming on it.

The Kings’ defensive depth has been whittled away, and was exposed in this year’s postseason loss to the Sharks. Veterans Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik — who combine for nearly $11 million in cap space — have struggled, and both are on the wrong side of 30.

The club wants to retain power forward Milan Lucic, and are working towards a contract extension. But with a tight cap situation, it wasn’t surprising to hear Lombardi explain he doesn’t see a deal getting done anytime soon.

Lombardi later admitted the Kings are in “uncharted waters,” and “not where we want to be.”

As for Sutter, he’s yet to speak publicly to reporters about his plans for next year.

Jagr mum on World Cup participation

Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr (68) reacts after a play during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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Though he wasn’t named to the initial 16-man roster, Jaromir Jagr has an open invitation to join the Czech Republic team for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Now he needs to decide if he’ll take it.

Jagr was non-committal about his participation during a Friday conference call to discuss his new one-year contract with the Panthers. He declined to answer questions, explaining that he needed to speak with Czech GM Martin Rucinsky before reaching any conclusions.

“I think we’re going to make a decision after that,” Jagr said, per NHL.com. “We have a lot of time to go.”

Rucinsky is on record saying Jagr has a spot on the team, if he wants it. That comes as no surprise — Jagr’s a living legend and one of the most productive Czech NHLers this year, leading the Panthers in scoring with 66 points.

The issue, though, is how much stress the 44-year-old wants to put on his body.

Jagr played a ton this year — 79 games — and it showed in the postseason, when a compacted opening-round schedule against the Islanders (they played six games in 10 nights) seemed to hamper him.

Jagr finished the series with no goals and just two assists.

The World Cup runs Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, and the Czechs will play a minimum of three round-robin preliminary games. They also have three pre-tournament exhibition games.

Rucinsky needs to submit his final roster by June 1.


Avs lose another to Europe, as Everberg signs in Sweden

Dennis Everberg, Jason Pominville

Just four days after Joey Hishon signed with KHL club Jokerit, another Colorado player has inked overseas — on Friday, SHL club Vaxjo announced it had agreed to terms with Dennis Everberg.

Everberg, 24, appeared in 70 games over the last two seasons with the Avs. His best effort came during the ’14-15 campaign, when he scored three goals and 12 points in 55 games.

Last year, he was largely phased out of the Avalanche lineup — appearing in just 15 contests — and spent most of his time in AHL San Antonio (where, to his credit, he played well, scoring 40 points in 54 games.)

Signed as an undrafted free agent two years ago, Everberg will now return to the same league in which he first made a name for himself. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder had played for SHL club Rogle prior to coming to North America.

Both Everberg and Hishon were set to become RFAs on July 1, and neither seemed as though they had a long-term future with the club.

As such, these departures can’t come as a big shock.