When Jeff Blashill manned the Detroit Red Wings bench, he was given a pretty long leash by general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman. Taking charge of personnel decisions was what Red Wings fans were most excited about with the hiring of Steve Yzerman, and by that time, their patience had been running thin for the most part with head coach Blashill.
After earning a contract extension, Blashill eventually ran his course in Detroit, swapped cities with Derek Lalonde, and took a job in Tampa Bay. All this to say, Lalonde came from a winning organization where he earned two Stanley Cup rings as an assistant coach with the Lightning. He joined the Detroit Red Wings knowing that they were a bottom feeder of the league but took the job anyway and joined the architect of the Lightning dynasty, Yzerman himself.
Evaluating a coach’s performance is slightly more complicated than just looking at the team’s record and doing simple math with win increases or goal differential movements. It is far more nuanced than that. Yes, the Red Wings played meaningful competitive games further into this season as compared to the last couple under coach Blashill, but they also played in an abundance of tight games with fewer four- and five-goal blowouts.
Albeit, a couple did come towards the last month with key players missing from the trade deadline and a mountain of injuries to Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina, and Michael Rasmussen. The message from Lalonde to his team stayed strong, and the ” compete ” level did not diminish. Lalonde guided the Detroit Red Wings to an overall record of 35-37-10.