Jeff Blashill won't talk about Red Wings job

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Jeff Blashill

Grand Rapids – If he has already met with Ken Holland, Jeff Blashill wasn't going to say.

But the Red Wings' general manager planned on meeting with Blashill this week, and will attend the Griffins' three home playoff games this week in the AHL Western Conference finals, beginning Thursday.

It is likely that Blashill, the Griffins' head coach, will be one step closer to being named Mike Babcock's successor in Detroit.

Blashill, as he's done since the AHL playoffs began and Babcock left the Red Wings to coach the Maple Leafs, wouldn't discuss his future Wednesday with reporters.

"I owe it to our players to make sure my sole focus is on trying to win this series," Blashill said.

Blashill, 41, has coached the Griffins to three consecutive playoff berths, including winning the Calder Cup in 2013.

Separating the speculation about the Wings -- and handling the playoffs with the Griffins -- hasn't been difficult.

"It's not difficult for me and that's why I choose not to comment right now because it's real easy for me to focus on the task at hand," Blashill said. "These are great, great opportunities (in the playoffs). You only get so many of them in life. So let's really cherish this and enjoy the journey."

Holland said Blashill is an obvious candidate for the Red Wings' coaching position, given Blashill's familiarity with the roster and coaching success in junior hockey, Western Michigan and Grand Rapids. Blashill also was an assistant under Babcock for one season.

No other candidate has emerged for the Red Wings since Babcock left last week for Toronto.