It sounds like the two sides won’t need to play coy much longer: MLive.com’s Ansar Khan reports that the Detroit Red Wings will announce Jeff Blashill as their new head coach sometime next week.
Khan believes that Blashill is set to receive a three-year contract, since that’s also the length of Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s current deal.
Blashill’s currently the head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate. They were just eliminated from their postseason run, so this opens the door for a pending announcement. Khan explains the timing of the pending (but not yet confirmed) roll-out to the press and fans:
An announcement ordinarily might have come later this week but Holland has been in Buffalo for the NHL’s Scouting Combine and will attend the league’s general managers meetings in Chicago early next week during the Stanley Cup finals.
Blashill has scheduled exit interviews for players in Grand Rapids on Monday. So the earliest an announcement on his hiring can come is on Tuesday.
At 41, Blashill would be the second-youngest coach in the NHL, right behind 40-year-old newly minted New Jersey Devils bench boss John Hynes. In a way, Blashill’s ascent follows the way the Red Wings often nurse prospects, as he’s had a great run in the AHL while patiently awaiting the big call-up.
There’s always the chance that this will be refuted, yet all signs point to this being the likely decision. We’ll find out for sure next week, though.
With the Grand Rapids Griffins eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs following a 2-0 loss to the Utica Comets in Game 6 on Tuesday night attention has moved to the future of head coach Jeff Blashill.
Blashill is a strong candidate to fill the spot left by Mike Babcock in Detroit; however, don’t expect an announcement this week.
“There are still conversations to be had between Ken (Holland) and I,” said Blashill told MLive.com. “There is the NHL combine and (Holland) has some other business to tend to. So I don’t expect anything here in the near future.”
Holland is tied up with the competition committee meeting Thursday in New York and then the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo over the weekend.
“Nothing has been done,” Blashill said. “Right now, I don’t have any info at all. I can’t say any more than that.”
The 41-year-old has been the coach of the Griffins for three seasons leading the AHL club to a 134-71-23 record. Grand Rapids won the Calder Cup in 2013 – Blashill’s first season behind the bench
The topic of 3-on-3 overtime is one of a few topics on the agenda for Thursday’s competition committee meeting.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes we could see a 3-on-3 overtime format tested during the preseason, but not implemented for the 2015-16 regular season.
Also on the agenda for this week’s meeting is the coach’s challenge, the idea of the center in the defensive zone putting his stick down first during face-offs and the salary cap escalator.
Recommendations made at the competition committee meeting would have to be voted on by the NHL’s Board of Governors in late June prior to being implemented for the 2015-16 season.
The aforementioned topics were all initially discussed at the March general managers’ meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.
General managers Ken Holland, Don Maloney, David Poile along with Ed Snider will represent league (with Colin Campbell in a non-voting role) at the meeting in New York.
Mike Cammalleri, Cory Schneider, Kevin Shattenkirk and Daniel Winnik represent the NHLPA (with Mathieu Schneider in a non-voting role).
The latest in the Mike Babcock coaching sweepstakes has the 52-year-old meeting with Red Wings GM Ken Holland on Monday. (Note: see the end of this post for a growing list of Babcock suitors …)
According to hockey insider Darren Dreger, Babcock and Holland flew home from the Czech Republic, where they were watching the World Hockey Championship, on Sunday.
Babcock and Holland were to discuss the coach’s future during the flight before meeting again tomorrow.
Dreger reports a decision on Babcock’s coaching future is expected midweek.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres are reportedly the only two teams, which filed paper work for permission to speak with Babcock.
Update: Apparently the San Jose Sharks will be in the running, too. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the Sharks are scheduled to speak with Babcock sometime this week. The clock appears to be ticking, too:
The Sharks aren’t shy about hiring from Detroit, as Todd McLellan was once a Babcock assistant.
Interesting side note: Babcock may have initiated this meeting.
Second update: Maybe throw the St. Louis Blues’ name in the hat, too?
What about Ken Hitchcock? It sounds like the Blues are evaluating whether to stick with him or not.
(Related) Report: Sharks want a second interview with DeBoer
After an injury plagued season Jonas Gustavsson’s time in Detroit appears over.
Last week GM Ken Holland hinted at Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek competing for the starter’s role next season.
“We need great goaltending,” Holland said per the Detroit Free Press. “We need the two of them to compete to be ready to come to training camp to battle for ice time. Pro sports is a competition.”
A shoulder injury followed by a concussion limited Gustavsson to just seven appearances in the Wings’ net this season where he was 3-3-1 with a 2.56 G.A.A. and a .911 save percentage.
“My shoulder injury kept me out of long time,” Gustavsson said. “I didn’t know if I was going to come back or if I needed surgery. I did pretty much everything I could rehab-wise to try and come back. I managed to get back and play a few games, then I got the concussion. Obviously, I never got in a rhythm. Then at the end of the season, we had two other goalies. Mrazek came up and played great. It wasn’t much room for me, and I understood that.
“Tried to work on my game in the shadows, tried to keep pushing myself. Tried to be a good teammate. Hopefully that’s going to help me in the future.”
Gustavsson’s one-year, $1.85 million contract is set to expire making him an unrestricted free agent in July.
In three seasons with the Wings he put together a 21-10-6 record to go along with a 2.67 G.A.A. and a .904 save percentage.
The 30-year-old believes he has lots of good hockey left him.
“Hopefully I can stay in this league,” Gustavsson. “I feel I have lots left in the tank. I’m only 30 years old. So, hopefully have another 10 years of good hockey in me.”