Better Head Coaching candidates the Detroit Red Wings should Consider

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 10: Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Jeff Blashill listen to Assistant Coach Dan Bylsma during a break in the action against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on March 10, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 10: Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Jeff Blashill listen to Assistant Coach Dan Bylsma during a break in the action against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on March 10, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Earlier in the season I actually thought Dan Bylsma would be the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings by now. The veteran coach beat the Wings in 2009 in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals behind a pair of Maxime Talbot goals beating the Wings 2-1.

Bylsma who took over for Michel Therrien in 2009 had a pair of premier established center’s at the time with Crosby and Malkin, he was able to coach them up and help direct the Penguins to their second straight finals appearance, and unlike the previous season, he finished the job. Detroit Red Wings fans won’t want to remember that they were up in the series 3-2 and up in game six on the road in Pittsburgh only to lose in game seven on home ice.

The 48-year-old was born in Grand Haven, Michigan. He played for the Anaheim Ducks along with the LA Kings. He won the Jack Adams award as the leagues’ top coach for the 2010-11 season. The Penguins played most of the season without Malkin and Crosby yet continued to be a Cup contending team.

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Dan Bylsma was the fastest coach to achieve 250 career wins and later became the head coach for Team USA’s Olympic men’s’ hockey club for the Sochi games. The Pittsburgh Penguins eventually made a management change hiring Jim Rutherford as their new GM and Dan Bylsma was relieved of his duties.

The Buffalo Sabres scooped up Bylsma signing him to a five-year deal in the summer of 2015. It was rumored that the Sabres were in on Mike Babcock but he eventually of course signed with the Leafs. Bylsma only fulfilled two years of his five-year deal before being fired. A lot have speculated that star forward Jack Eichel didn’t see eye to eye with his head coach and in today’s sports the star will always win a feud over a coach and that is not just in the NHL it’s true in all sports.

In my opinion, this was the time for the Detroit Red Wings to bring in Bylsma. He would have still had Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg rostered, and the Wings were still a playoff team. Bylsma was a proven coach who had been able to bring out the best in his top players, yet the Detroit Red Wings decided to elevate Jeff Blashill from the Griffins although he had no coaching experience.

It reminds me a lot of the Detroit Tigers hiring Brad Ausmus who hadn’t had any managerial experience to take over a playoff Tigers’ team. Although some young, first time NHL coaches can have immediate success sometimes, a veteran coach helps a young team grow or a fringe team becomes a playoff team, or a playoff team becomes a champion.

I haven’t been impressed with Bylsma this season, but he could be behind the success of Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. The pair have excelled this season and before being shipped to San Jose Gus Nyquist was enjoying a career year. Even Anthony Mantha has looked much more dangerous this season, who deserves the credit Blashill or Bylsma?

Jeff Blashill mentioned he was bringing in Bylsma to primarily run the power-play, well the PP has stunk operating at a 16.4% success rate which is good for 25th in the NHL. But as previously mentioned I am really wondering if the development of Dylan Larkin, in particular, is coming from Bylsma’s guidance. Although he’s primarily running the power-play, he’s heavily involved with the forwards.

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I would much rather see Bylsma working as the Detroit Red Wings head coach moving forward over Jeff Blashill. It seems that Ken Holland and company have made up their minds and are expected to re-sign Jeff Blashill to a contract extension, but they should consider better options before rushing to get a new deal completed.