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.
With Jeff Blashill officially named the club’s 27th head coach in franchise history on Tuesday, the Detroit Red Wings are now working on filling out his staff.
According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, Blashill and GM Ken Holland will meet with Chris Chelios next week. Chelios, who has served as an advisor to hockey operations since retiring in 2010, has worked with Blashill in Grand Rapids.
The 53-year-old occasionally went on the ice during practice to work with the Griffins’ defensemen.
TSN’s Aaron Ward reported earlier in the week that Chelios was a likely candidate to join Blashill’s coaching staff.
Chelios spent parts of 10 seasons in Detroit as a player winning Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008.
The Red Wings are also in talks with Tony Granato about a possible extension after he declined the option on his contract for next season.
“We’re still in the process of getting the right guys and putting the staff together,” Blashill said on Tuesday. “Within a week we’d like to have it settled. Put the best staff together and get to work.”
Related: Holland, Cleary will meet next week to decide future in Detroit
The Pittsburgh Penguins made the hiring of Mike Johnston as the new head coach official this afternoon and with it there are more changes behind the bench.
The Penguins have hired Rick Tocchet to assist Johnston behind the bench and Tony Granato and Todd Reirden have been let go. Those two assisted Dan Bylsma and now with Johnston in charge, he’s bringing in a new group of assistants with one more coach to be hired. Assistant coach Jacques Martin’s role with the team is yet to be determined and goaltending coach Mike Bales will return.
Tocchet was last seen behind the bench with the Tampa Bay Lightning as the team’s head coach from 2008-2010. Now he’ll make his return to action coaching Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang among others alongside Johnston.
“Rick is going to be a very valuable member of the staff here ,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said. “He was an outstanding NHL player, a guy who brought toughness and intensity every night along with a high level of skill. The fans in Pittsburgh know that first-hand. He also gained great experience as a coach with three different NHL organizations. We all know he’s got a lot to offer in his new role with the Penguins.”
Tocchet was also an assistant with the Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, and Phoenix Coyotes.
The NHL has fined Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette $10,000 and Pittsburgh assistant Tony Granato $2,500 for their actions late in Sunday’s Flyers-Penguins game.
What actions, you ask? Let’s watch the video again!
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The war of words didn’t end there.
Laviolette called Pittsburgh’s actions “gutless” while Bylsma said Brayden Schenn’s cross-check on Sidney Crosby was a cheap shot — “clearly a guy targeting a player,” the Penguins head coach contended.
Granato didn’t address reporters following the game.
The $12,500 in accrued fines will go towards the NHL Foundation.
Bylsma hasn’t heard from NHL, and doesn’t expect to
Vitale on controversial hit: “I didn’t know [it was Briere], and I really didn’t care”
Sweet Flyers day goes sour: Briere, Grossmann lost to injury
When people talk about former NHL player and current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato, it’s common for the discussion to shift to one of his siblings as well. In most cases, they end up talking about his well-known hockey playing sister Cammi, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
This time around, Tony’s brother Don is the focus. Don Granato was named the head coach of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (or USNTDP) today. Granato will become one of the two head coaches employed by the program, serving as the head coach of the Under-17 Team. The Penguins Web site points out that this was the same job that John Hynes – head coach of their AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – once held for six years.
Don Granato has enjoyed plenty of success in his 15 years of coaching at various levels of hockey, as you can see from this mini-resume from the Penguins site.
Granato, 44, began coaching in 1993. The Downers Grove, Ill., native was the first-ever coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL), where he twice led the team to two Anderson Cup titles as regular season champions and also coached them to a Clark Cup as playoff champion.
After spending three seasons in the ECHL – winning a Kelly Cup with the Peoria Rivermen in 2000 – Granato moved to the American Hockey League (AHL), where he won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the most outstanding coach in 2001 with the Worcester IceCats.
He spent four seasons with the IceCats, the minor-league affiliate of the St. Louis Blues, from 2000-05, becoming the winningest coach in franchise history with a 191-130-45-14 record.
After serving as an assistant coach for St. Louis in 2005-06, Granato was head coach of the Chicago Wolves, then the minor-league affilate of the Atlanta Thrashers, from 2008-10. He spent last season as a scout with the Vancouver Canucks.
(Photo credit: Ross Dettman of the Chicago Wolves via USA Hockey.com.)