Questioning if the Detroit Red Wings should fire Derek Lalonde is lunacy

Firing Derek Lalonde is not good for the Detroit Red Wings.
Derek Lalonde walks down the tunnel as the Detroit Red Wings take on the Philadelphia Flyers.
Derek Lalonde walks down the tunnel as the Detroit Red Wings take on the Philadelphia Flyers. / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Detroit Red Wings were beaten by the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday. It was their fourth straight loss, and they have just three wins in their last ten games. Things are different from what they were in the early goings, as the Red Wings looked like a Stanley Cup contender with how well things were going at the start of 2022-23, but the same cannot be said now.

However, this Detroit Red Wings roster plays at a different level than they did early on. This team looks much different, and not in a good way. But it's how the regular season works. Teams go through rough stretches, and they have ups and downs. The last stretch of games has been problematic, and that is a certainty.

The one thing that needs to be put to bed is the talk about firing head coach Derek Lalonde. I'm not getting on the soap box that Derek Lalonde is Scotty Bowman, and he's our fearless leader into the promised land that is the payoffs. However, there are better ways to go about it than sitting here pinning everything on Lalonde.

There's a lot that the Red Wings can clean up, and Lalonde can manage things better behind the bench. However, throwing him entirely under the bus is uncalled for when the team is down two goaltenders and was missing both Dylan Larkin & J.T. Compher for a stretch. This comes on top of absences from Klim Kostin and David Perron.

It's too soon for the Detroit Red Wings to pull the plug on Derek Lalonde.

The Red Wings look lost in the defensive zone, but let's point the fingers at Bob Boughner there. The team has been flat-footed to start games, and the opposition almost always finds a way to score first. That's on a number of different things, but expecting Lalonde to be able to motivate this team for a fast start is something to improve upon, for sure.

The goaltending should not be on Lalonde, either. It's a bigger conversation. Husso is not Andrei Vasilevskiy or Igor Shesterkin, but a tandem with Husso and Lyon seemed like it might play well. The Red Wings have struggled to find that balance between the crease. The critique on Lalonde there is that he should trust Lyon more, but given injuries to both Husso and Lyon, it leaves no time to address that right now.

It's clear that this skid is a problem. But let's rewind to before the season started when Red Wings General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman made it clear that this year was not about the playoffs. While all of us fans want to see the Red Wings compete in the Atlantic Division and push into the postseason, it's not a certainty. A skid like this certainly does not help that.

The way I see it, there are two boats to be in right now...

Boat A: If you're in Boat A, you're good with Lalonde remaining at the helm of the Red Wings. It's a skid, a losing streak, and a tough break for Detroit. Lalonde needs to fix some things and get this team back on track, but in the grand scheme of things, the Red Wings should be trusting in Lalonde to get it done. These are the folks who believe in Lalonde, whether it's 10% belief, 50% belief, or 100% belief. What this means is that there's the belief that this is just a skid. No matter how many problems the Red Wings have, something will give at one point or another.

Boat B: If you're in boat B, you have issues with Lalonde. The issues of poor defensive play, struggling goaltending, or whatever the gripe is. It's time for a change. Teams will fire a coach mid-season and try to move on; it indeed happens. While I may be in Boat A, it may be time to jump ship and shake things up. I'm just not there yet. The Red Wings were off to a great start, but things have since plummeted, and the rut may prevent a playoff chance if it continues. If Yzerman is that serious about the Red Wings being a contender, then maybe a firing is in the cards. But it's hard to see Yzerman feeling this way as of now.

It's not that I want to sit around and be complacent with losing, but Detroit's starting to put the pieces together, and it's clear there are still some things that need to be addressed. I'm not saying that after this year, the Red Wings opt to go in a new direction with their head coach, or even maybe after the all-star break.

But jumping on a bad loss in the middle of a tough stretch and calling for Lalonde's head is an overreaction to me. As I have mentioned, some things need to be in better shape, but at the beginning of the season, the Red Wings were winning with Lalonde and this same coaching staff. They had a healthy squad up front, and things were firing on all cylinders.

At the beginning of the year, we discussed concerns about Husso's inability to keep the puck out of the net and the Red Wings' defense liable to give up bad goals with missed assignments. Maybe it foreshadowed how bad things could get when the offense slowed up or could not match the pace of the defense.

But, if that's the case, it's not Derek Lalonde; it's Bob Boughner who's on the hot seat. Detroit needs to do what is best for them, and while they appear to be in a rut right now, it's not out of the cards for them to get back on track and start competing once again.

At one point or another, the fingers can start being pointed, but I'm just not sure the Red Wings are there yet. The losses are piling up, Detroit is in a rut, and I believe they will bounce back. I'm not trying to be a "Derek Lalonde-truther," but I am not abandoning the ship led by him quite yet.

Cold take or not, while some of you may feel it is time for a new coach, the Red Wings need to trust in Lalonde and hope to ride out this rut, getting back into competition.

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