Looking at the schedule for the weekend, who had the Detroit Red Wings posting back to back shutouts that would end with a split decision in two shootouts? Beating Columbus is one thing–but shutting out the defending champs is another. Yes, both Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos were out of the lineup, but they still beat a highly competitive playoff bound team jockeying for the top spot in the division.
With a shutout.
Red Wings Fan base is Divided on the Issue
It’s essentially two camps: One that believes Blashill should go while another believes he needs to have a real roster to make a judgement. I already wrote about the positives and negatives of Blashill’s tenure in Detroit. But a sweep of Tampa Bay, following back to back shutouts, with a team that is limping to the finish line, gives a high chance that Blash returns for at least a season.
Past History Reveals We Really Don’t Know What Could Happen
Ken Holland was coming off arguably his best draft in a decades when he declined to answer whether or not he would still be the manager of Detroit following a tough 2018-19 campaign. There were bright spots with Andreas Athanasiou and Dylan Larkin netting 30 or more goals while Anthony Mantha was taking strides, too. Though a restless fan base was favoring change for Steve Yzerman, Holland was looking slightly better with younger players rising and the prospect pool popping with more talent.
Then April 19th happened and Holland would be in Edmonton soon after. All indications at the end
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of the season, though it felt inevitable that Yzerman would return, were that Holland wasn’t about to leave.
There could be a similar situation here. Blashill, in my opinion, has earned another shot at coaching this team. I know this drives a lot of people nuts, but he’s done more with less this season and though his decision making has been puzzling at times, the man deserves his due.
But what Yzerman does next is anyone’s guess. If he in fact offers Elias Pettersson an offer sheet, and it’s accepted, it changes the timeline significantly. More likely, he goes according to his word and rides out what will be a long rebuild–using those picks in 2022 to fuse the final pieces necessary to begin the climb to contention.
Is Blashill the man for the job? Only Yzerman can answer that. We don’t know what happens behind closed doors, and fans only see the media sessions and performance on the ice. But if there’s anything to glean from Yzerman’s few comments about Blashill’s job security, it’s that everything will indeed be based on development and less on wins and losses.
Just a year ago, Yzerman indicated that Blashill had “done a good job,” following a historically terrible season. He also added this:
"“Jeff’s going to be the head coach of the team and we’ll do what is necessary to make sure he’s the head coach of the team.”"
Barring three consecutive blowouts, it won’t be shocking if Blashill is behind the bench again next season.