Granato, Ferschweiler, Chelios are Wings' assistant coaches

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Tony Granato

Detroit -- Tony Granato, Pat Ferschweiler, Chris Chelios and Dave Noel-Bernier will be assistant coaches under new Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill.

Granato and Ferschweiler will be with Blashill behind the Red Wings' bench – Granato running the defense during the games, while also overseeing the penalty kill, while Ferschwiler oversees the power play and aids Blashill in running the forwards.

Ferschweiler and Noel-Bernier were assistants under Blashill with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins last season. Noel-Bernier is the team's new video coordinator.

Chelios will have a similar role to the one he's had under Blashill the last three seasons in Grand Rapids -- part-time assistant, coaching the defense in practice while serving as an eye-in-the-sky during games, communicating with the bench.

Jim Bedard also will return for his 19th season as the Wings' goalie consultant.

The entire staff is familiar with players on the current roster.

"It helps in the transition," Blashill said Tuesday. "By no means does it mean success, but it helps in the transition and it helps in the respect level earned from both the player to coach and coach to the player.

"It's going to allow us to hit the ground the running and help ease some of the bumps in the road we could face."

Granato, 50, was on the Red Wings' staff last season under Mike Babcock. Granato has head coaching experience with the Colorado Avalanche (2002-04, 2008-09) before spending five seasons as an assistant in Pittsburgh under Dan Bylsma.

Granato interviewed for an assistant's job in Buffalo, where Bylsma was named head coach earlier this month, as well as in Toronto under Babcock, who left the Red Wings to take over the Maple Leafs.

"Tony was my first call when I received notice I was going to become head coach of the Red Wings," Blashill said. "He was my number one priority. I wanted a guy with lots of NHL playing and coaching experience and Tony fits that model.

"He's a home run because of the person he is, and he's earned the respect of so many of the players he's coached."

Ferschweiler, 45, was also an assistant under Blashill at Western Michigan in 2010-11. Ferschweiler is recognized for his skill development of players, something Blashill is stressing with the Red Wings.

"He has a great hockey mind," Blashill said. "He's one of the best guys I've been around helping individual players get better."

Chelios, 53, has been an adviser to hockey operations for the Red Wings since 2010-11 while also coaching the defensemen in Grand Rapids.

Chelios previously accepted an assistant's position with USA Hockey for the World Junior Championship in Finland this winter. He will continue in that role, as well.

"He's done a great job for me of giving me a player's perspective," Blashill said. "He looks at the game as a player. When you've coached a long time, you think as a coach, and lots of times Cheli thinks as a player.

"He has a micro-view of things while I have a more macro-view, and that's been invaluable the last three years."

Blashill added the hiring Friday of Todd Nelson as head coach in Grand Rapids was also an important addition to the staff.

"Todd is an extension of our staff," Blashill said. "The minor-league coach has become an extremely valuable part of the coaching staff of every NHL organization."