This was Steve Yzerman’s response when asked about Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman had an interesting response when asked about coach Jeff Blashill.

Blashill is in the last year of his contract. He had just received a two-year extension when Yzerman was named GM in April 2019, and was re-upped by Yzerman at the end of last season. The Wings (25-30-7) had a good first half and were a .500 team into the second half, but since being within six points of a wild card spot, they’ve dropped to a 23-point gap.

“We’re here to talk about the trade deadline and the moves we made,” Yzerman said when asked his opinion of Blashill.

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“This has been an up and down year for us,” Yzerman said. “We’ve had a lot of progress. The last six weeks of the season have been disappointing for all of us.”

The Wings have lost seven of eight games heading into Tuesday’s match against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Wings went 1-4 on last week’s trip, which ended with a 4-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken, a team near the bottom of the standings.

“Jeff and I will sit down at some point and talk about our team and where we’re going with our team and what we need to do,” Yzerman said.

At previous deadlines, Yzerman has given Blashill a thumbs up. While Yzerman clearly isn’t going to make a change in-season, what it comes down to when the Wings are done playing at the end of April is this: Yzerman has to consider if Blashill, who has been coach since 2015-16, is the right guy to have behind the bench as the Wings take the next step in the rebuild. They are more competitive and as at least the first half of this season showed, are edging closer towards making the playoffs.

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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