Red Wings Weekly Review: Resilience and Blashill’s 500th Game

Jan 29, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 29, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Red Wings defied expectations last week while appearing underwhelming at times. One look at the game against the Blackhawks, it was a four goal deficit, followed by a rally, ending in an 8-5 loss. Two days later, there’s this:

So far, so good. The Red Wings played Pittsburgh hard and took them down in a shootout. Against Toronto, Detroit boasted a 4-2 lead before yielding three in the third and Toronto nailing it shut with two empty net goals. But we asked for a split–at least–and got it so far. Anaheim awaits tomorrow and post-Los Angeles kicks off a weeklong break.

Rebuilding Red Wings Show Resilience

In the sample of those three games, Detroit dug a deep hole against the Blackhawks who were down on their own luck, mired in a four-game losing streak. Chicago jumped to a four goal lead, squandered it to within a goal, before scoring four more to put it away. It was a baffling loss–one where everyone thought they would take advantage of a team on a losing streak and in the midst of their own version of rebuild-on-the-fly. But until they ripped three goals to get back into it, the Red Wings looked lost and lethargic.

48 hours later, they not only hang with Sidney Crosby and the Cup contending Penguins, but beat them in a shootout after yielding two leads. Just 24 hours beyond that, they held a two-goal lead against Toronto before getting beaten by a talent rich Maple Leafs squad.

In all three, the common three was resilience, albeit the last game unraveling by the end. But the Red Wings showed fight they wouldn’t have previous iterations. But that fight needs to translate into wins–and it’s already started but needs to be far more consistent.

So Seriously–what about Blashill?

Goal scoring and power play consistency are still a problem for the team. It’s something that has been a problem–more the latter–regardless of the talent. The former an issue because of the lack of talent–the latter being again, personnel and schematic issues when Dan Bylsma seemingly just couldn’t get the ball rolling.

Whether it’s victory or defeat, people are torn on Jeff Blashill. Is he a good coach? A bad one? Is he in over his head at the NHL level?

To even get an idea of the diversity of opinion, look no further than the Red Wings Twitter handle. There’s congratulating the guy on 500 games coached in the NHL and well, it’s interesting:

Just a scroll through the first dozen or so comments and it’s beyond obvious what the majority of the fan base feels.

Some of that I think is his association with what’s been mediocrity and poor play. Ultimately, I point the finger at Holland for that because if you remember, they blocked requests by teams to interview him for open positions.

I’ve had philosophical disagreements with Blashill–as I will with any of my favorite teams and their coaches. Deployment has been my biggest critique with Blash as has been the usage of some of the players in the past. But if there’s anything that seems more obvious after seeing Yzerman’s comments on TNT Wednesday night, he and he alone will be deciding on what to do. I also wrote this yesterday:

". I still have a lot of questions of where they’re going from here–especially with a power play that has not been what it should be along with some questionable deployment. Fan how you want, but it’s tired energy focusing on him. He’s not going anywhere unless this team goes to hell in the next three months. Expect Yzerman’s decision in the offseason again."

It’s not a defense or critique. If anything, it’s just the reality until there’s actually a decision made.

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