The Red Wings are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990. Team is severely underperforming and find themselves struggling to generate consistent zone pressure or goals to help turn things around. You can say there’s a dark cloud hanging over the Red Wings organization at this moment. In conversations with other fellow Red Wings fans, the majority seem to believe that there’s one person responsible for the Wings being in this situation.
The head coach.
Jeff Blashill has been a scapegoat by some in the Red Wings fan base and believe it’s time to let him go. Game by game there’s been few that think Detroit should fire him and at this point they have the ammunition to believe that. His decision making with the line-ups and Ice time management has been very questionable among other things. While it’s fair to criticize Jeff Blashill, and it’s very deserving at this point, calling for him to be fired is premature right now. Yes the Red Wings will miss the playoffs and the performance has been really horrid if anything, However there are a few things to consider here. One is being that Blashill is in his second year of being a head coach in the NHL. Most of us believed that he will help younger players like Tatar, Nyquist, Jurco, and those coming from Grand Rapids. Thinking that the Wings won’t miss a step, however might have lost sight that the guy was never a head coach in the NHL, that there were glaring flaws in the roster and organization among other things.
Maybe the expectations for Blashill were set too high by the fan base, but then again, what can you say when you’re taking over a team that’s made the playoffs since 1991? Many want Blashill to be fired due to the team’s performance and his handling/coaching of the team. While yes Blashill has made some questionable decisions and the team’s play isn’t going well, is that enough to warrant a firing for a guy who’s in year two of his NHL head coaching career? No it isn’t. Coaches can only do so much to put a team in position to win games. It’s
on the players to carry out and execute the game plan given to win. Blashill can conduct a favorable line-up, but if the team don’t execute then it won’t mean much. Lack of shots on goal, lack of scoring goals, missed assignments defensively, letting in bad goals, that’s not on coaching.
Another case to make for Jeff Blashill is the lack of elite talent on the roster and misjudgements by the front office. Gregg Kruppa of the Detroit News noted this in an article making a case for Jeff Blashill. Wings missed on prized free agents, the “re-build on the fly” just to squeak into the playoffs has hampered a proper rebuild for this team. All of those factors don’t rest of Blashill at all. This makes firing Blashill difficult at this moment. The front office if anything holds a huge responsibility on the team’s success than Blashill at this given moment and that showed the last two seasons.
Jeff Blashill has made some boneheaded decisions, no different than any other coach in the NHL. He’s a second year coach, still trying to figure out the league to an extent. No way shape or form, should he be fired or held completely responsible for the Red Wings struggling. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be held responsible for development of the younger players or some part of the reason why Nyquist and Tatar have really regressed this season. Let’s jump off the “Fire Blashill” train this season and stop pinning all of Detroit’s problems on him. Blashill will have a harsh record on him after this season, unless there’s a major turn around. If the young players aren’t improving and developing properly and Tatar, Nyquist, Sheahan, and DeKesyer continue to regress, then the discussion can properly be addressed. As of right now, let’s park the Fire Blashill topic.