It’s official: Jeff Blashill will return as Detroit Red Wings coach, Steve Yzerman says

Detroit Free Press

Jeff Blashill’s tenure as coach of the Detroit Red Wings is headed for a seventh season.

In a much anticipated — and, frankly, expected — announcement Tuesday afternoon, the organization tweeted that “executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman today announced that Jeff Blashill has agreed to a contract extension to remain head coach.”

Assistant coach Dan Bylsma, who was in charge of forwards and the power play, was let go. Though it’s not official yet, it’s expected that assistant coach Doug Houda (defensemen and penalty kill) is staying.

FAN REACTION: They don’t seem happy about Jeff Blashill’s extension — but they get it

Blashill has coached the Wings to a 172-221-62 record over six seasons.

“I’ve been a Red Wing for a long time now,” Blashill said after May 8’s season finale. “I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve been a part of this organization.”

Blashill, 47, has been in organization for a decade. He was head coach at Western Michigan when then-Wings coach Mike Babcock called in the summer of 2011 and left a message for Blashill. That led to being hired as an assistant, though that lasted only one season. In June 2012, Blashill was named head coach of the Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. Blashill coached the Griffins to the 2013 Calder Cup and gained coaching at the professional level in GR until 2015, when he was promoted to the Wings job upon Babcock’s departure.

The Wings advanced to the playoffs in Blashill’s first year, but it was a short run, ending after five games in a first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2017, the Wings missed the playoffs, ending a 25-season streak.

Yzerman is 2 years into Red Wings rebuild and his eye for talent is showing ]

Blashill was awarded a two-year extension a few weeks before Yzerman was named GM on April 19, 2019. Yzerman endorsed Blashill at his introductory press conference, and consistently defended the job Blashill was doing even as the team sank in the standings. Rather than blame Blashill, Yzerman pointed to a roster that lacked star power and, that, especially in 2019-20, was devastated by injuries.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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