OctoPulse podcast: The last coach fired by Yzerman, Abby Roque interview

The Detroit News


Ted Kulfan takes a look at Steve Yzerman's moves on NHL trade deadline day and Olympic silver medalist Abby Roque is the guest on this week's podcast. 

Kulfan also comments on Yzerman's vague response about the future of coach Jeff Blashill. The Red Wings have slumped in recent weeks, are 23 points out of the final playoff position and are 25-30-7 heading into tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Little Caesars Arena.

"I think Yzerman did drop a couple of hints there," Kulfan said on the podcast. "I don't think he's been too pleased with the defense, particularly lately. Everybody knew it was going to be difficult with the schedule in the second half of the season but just the way that they've played, that's been somewhat alarming.

Jeff Blashill

"They've lost a couple of key veteran pieces in (Nick) Leddy and Vlady Namestnikov and they're going to be playing younger lineups. That's not going to make it easy because you're still playing a lot of quality teams in these last 20 games.

"It's starting to look a little daunting for Mr. Blashill. It's unfortunate but the signs aren't too good right now unless they can turn it around in these last 20 games and go into the offseason with a bit more momentum."

At the end of the podcast, Kulfan takes a look at the last time Yzerman fired a coach. When Yzerman was with the Tampa Bay Lightning in March of 2013, he fired coach Guy Boucher who was five games under .500 at 13-18-1. The team had just allowed four goals in the first period and lost 5-3 in Ottawa. Yzerman fired Boucher after the game.

"Guy has poured his heart and soul into the Lightning organization for the past three years and we appreciate all the work he's done," Yzerman said in a statement in 2013. "But ultimately, I am not satisfied with the direction we are heading and I believe making a change today is in the best interest of our franchise."

"They're not going to fire Jeff Blashill tomorrow or next week," Kulfan said. "They're going to close out the season and make a determination at that point. There just has to be something more positive coming out of this. They need to button-down defensively these next six, seven weeks and then he has a good chance of returning."

Here are other highlights from episode 68 of OctoPulse, Taking the Pulse of the Red Wings' rebuild now in Year 3 of Yzerman's regime.

:50 Steve Yzerman answers Ted's questions about deadline day

3:30: Yzerman on Oskar Sundqvist and Jake Walman

Sault Ste. Marie's Abby Roque, left, celebrates with Alex Carpenter after Carpenter's goal in the United States' game against Canada on Tuesday during the preliminary round at the 2022  Winter Olympics in Beijing.

8:15: Abby Roque interview

30:45: Yzerman on Jeff Blashill's future

34:00: When Yzerman fired coach Guy Boucher

Steve Yzerman fired Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher after a 5-3 loss in Ottawa in March of 2013.