Should The Red Wings Fire Jeff Blashill?
That question is being asked more and more as the Detroit Red Wings begins to close out another season without a playoff berth (As of this writing, the Wings are still mathematically alive for a berth in the Eastern Conference. But it is unlikely that they make it).
Jeff Blashill (pictured above. behind the bench) replaced Mike Babcock as head coach in 2015, and promptly got them in the playoffs in 2016, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the first round (and kept their streak of 25 straight years of playoff appearances alive).
But the last six years have seen the Wings fall into the abyss. Bad contracts (thank you, former GM Ken Holland), age and injuries (Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen) forced the team into a long-needed rebuild. And the hiring of Steve Yzerman to fix this mess.
And although there are promising young players on the team now (Mo Seider, Lucas Raymond, and Alex Nedeljkovic), and the Wings have fixed their salary cap issues, the Wings have performed poorly in the last two months to fall out of playoff contention once again. Bad defense and goaltending, as well as a lack of depth of front have contributed to the problems.
The Wings have kept Blashill to help guide them through the rebuild. The organization seems to like him (otherwise they would've fired him already). And he's been given ample time (six years after the last playoff berth is ample time).
But the poor play since the Olympic break in early February has raised alarm bells at Little Caesars Arena. Not many people expected the Wings to make the playoffs this season, but they expected the team to contend for at least one of the two Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference. That is not going to happen at this point.
For those reasons, I believe that the team should relieve Blashill of his duties. Reassign him in the organization and find the coach who will lead this team back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs (where they belong!).
Who is that coach? I don't know, but I trust Stevie Y to find that person. A big off-season awaits for Yzerman and the Wings, they can't screw it up this time.