Tag: Jeff Blashill


Sheahan on playing for Blashill: ‘Guys will be a little bit more confident’


Riley Sheahan believes his teammates’ familiarity with Jeff Blashill will help ease the transition for the rookie head coach in Detroit this season.

Sheahan is one of a number of players on the current Red Wings’ roster that played under Blashill with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

“You can see the job that he’s done in Grand Rapids and so many of us have played there and played with him, especially the Calder Cup team,” Sheahan told the team’s website. “He’s had so much success everywhere that he’s gone, so I think all of the guys are pretty happy.

“The guys that played with him before know how he reacts to different situations and knows what he expects. I think in that way some guys will be a little bit more confident, which always helps. It’s definitely a good thing.”

Blashill was named the 27th head coach in Wings’ history back in June. The 41-year-old led the Griffins to a 134-71-23 record in three seasons winning a Calder Cup in 2013.

Sheahan, who scored 13 goals and 36 points in 79 games in his first full season with the Wings last year, doesn’t expect much to change systems-wise with Blashill taking over from Mike Babcock.

“I actually thought they were really similar,” Sheahan said. “The system is pretty similar, there are a few tweaks here and there, but I think obviously, Babs leaving that’s tough to deal (with). He’s such a good coach, but Blash coming in, I think there’s a lot of positivity and a lot of happiness with the guys.”

Related: Under Pressure: Jeff Blashill

Under Pressure: Jeff Blashill


Here’s an understatement for you: Mike Babcock is a tough act to follow.

In the hearts and minds of Red Wings fans, Jeff Blashill may very well face an impossible task in trying to supplant the scowl of Babs. It cannot be easy to jump from the AHL to replacing one of the most respected bench bosses in recent history.

That said, for all the well-earned hero worship Babcock often inspires, there’s an argument that Detroit needed a breath of fresh air.

The Red Wings were as dominant as ever from 2006-07 to 2008-09, making three conference finals, two Stanley Cup Final rounds and winning one ring. They’ve been solid-yet-mostly-unspectacular since then, however:

  • Just one division title (in 2010-11).
  • Three first-round exits in their last six postseason berths, including two straight years of one-and-done. The Red Wings haven’t made it beyond the second round in that span, either.
  • They struggled to make the playoffs more than ever in recent years.

This is likely a case of oversimplifying, yet some may look at this situation in one of two ways:

A) Babcock squeezed every standings point possible out of a fading team.

B) Conversely, the franchise was begging for a jolt of energy.

It’s worth noting that the Red Wings remain a quality possession squad, although their exact rankings vary based on which specific metrics you use. The bottom line is that there’s a solid chance that Blashill has a decent group to work with, even if this obviously isn’t the stupidly dominant group many long associated with the Red Wings brand.

When your team is currently on a record 24-season playoff streak, expectations are inevitable, and Blashill faces a tall task. For all we know, setting the bar so high might not be such a bad thing.

Red Wings announce assistant coaches, including Chelios and Granato

New Jersey Devils v Toronto Maple Leafs

The Detroit Red Wings announced new head coach Jeff Blashill’s assistants on Tuesday, and you may notice some familiar names.

Tony Granato, Pat Ferschweiler, Chris Chelios (pictured) and Dave Noel-Bernier will be in the mix, while Jim Bedard returns as goalie coach.

The Red Wings noted that Granato and Ferschweiler will be behind the bench with Blashill while Noel-Bernier serves as a video coach; the team merely said that Granato “will have an increased role.”

MLive.com’s Ansar Khan provides a little more insight: it sounds like Chelios will (logically) work with defensemen.

This all continues a changing of the guard in the Red Wings organization, as Blashill jumps to the NHL level to replace Mike Babcock. Former Edmonton Oilers interim head coach (and experienced AHL bench boss) Todd Nelson is at the helm in Grand Rapids, too.

The 2015-16 season may present some uncomfortable changes, yet the Red Wings still seem to be in some capable hands.

Report: Todd Nelson to be named head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins

Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets
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It appears Todd Nelson has found a landing spot.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nelson will be the next head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Detroit Red Wings have been in search of a coach for their AHL affiliate after Jeff Blashill was promoted last week.

Nelson led the Edmonton Oilers to a 17-25-9 record in 42 games during the 2014-15 season.

Edmonton gave Nelson permission to explore other opportunities after hiring Todd McLellan.

Prior to joining the Oilers, Nelson coached the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons to a 161-105-42 between 2010-14.

The 46-year-old reportedly spoke to the Pittsburgh Penguins about their coaching vacancy in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last week.

According to Peter J. Wallner of MLive.com, Nelson was the first player in franchise history to be signed to a contract by the Griffins prior to the 1996-97 season.

Nelson appeared in 236 games with the Griffins as a player over four parts of seasons scoring 11 goals and 56 assists to go along with 123 penalty minutes.

The Griffins are expected to formally introduce Nelson as the club’s head coach at a press conference later this week.

Related: Leafs fill out coaching staff, hire Hiller, Smith and Brewer

Welcome Anthony Mantha to the trade rumor mill


At the NHL trade deadline Anthony Mantha was a prospect the Detroit Red Wings were unwilling to part ways with; however, it appears things have changed.

According to Sportsnet’s Damien Cox, the Wings’ are now willing to trade Mantha and their first round selection at this month’s draft (19th overall) for the right price.

Cox reports the 6-foot-5, 205-pound forward is the piece that killed any trade talks between the Wings and Leafs, which would’ve sent defenseman Dion Phaneuf to Detroit.

Mantha had a tough first season adjusting to the professional game.

The Red Wings’ first-round selection (20th overall) at the 2013 NHL Draft broke his leg back in September at the team’s rookie tournament in Traverse City.

When he finally returned to game action in mid-November, the 20-year-old struggled to find his groove.

“That injury was hard. It took me two months off so that means I started two months later than everyone,” Mantha told PHT in February. “I’ve started to play really good, but I mean I’m still two months back of everyone so I need to put double the effort in.

“After my injury, it had been five months since I had played a real game and it hurt my confidence a little bit and obviously my game is not the same.”

After consecutive 50-plus goal seasons with Val d’Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Mantha finished the 2014-15 season with 15 goals and 18 assists in 62 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He added two goals and two assists in 16 playoff games.

His poor first season in Grand Rapids led to some brutal honesty from longtime Red Wings executive Jim Devellano when asked about Mantha last month.

“Very, very, very disappointing,” said Devellano. “And I say that with a lot of sadness. Coming out of junior, we had such high hopes for him.”

Following the season, Mantha agreed many areas of his game need improvement heading into the 2015-16 season.

“I need to work on my strength, for sure,” Mantha said in May. “I need to work on a lot of aspects of my play, like getting quicker on my skates … I got better as the year went along but I need to keep growing for the summer.”

Despite the rough rookie campaign in Grand Rapids, Wings’ coach Jeff Blashill believes Mantha will be a good pro.

“He’s got special skill for a guy his size. He can do things that other guys just can’t do,” said Blashill in February. “He’s going to be a great player; I truly believe that and its just going to be a matter of time.

“When you care as much as he cares, as soon as he learns the daily attention to detail and the daily work ethic it takes, with his skill set, he’s going to be a special player.”