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Coreau's ascension to Wings wasn't without few bumps

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Jared Coreau has yet to be stopped at the grocery store or restaurant and asked for an autograph.

And never mind a Tim Hortons coffee shop.

“I don’t normally go to Tim Hortons in the States; they’re not comparable to Canadian (Tim Hortons),” said Coreau with a smile.

But Coreau, who has been one of the central figures in the Red Wings’ mild resurgence lately has noticed his life changing.

“It’s been a little different,” said Coreau, who began the season in Grand Rapids but was called up twice when Jimmy Howard was injured — the last time Dec. 21. “I did the Twitter thing (chat) with the Red Wings (website) and I have a lot of family (back in Perth, Ontario, outside of Ottawa), they’re pretty excited too.

“Sometimes, I just like to turn my phone over and put it on silent. But everyone is excited, I’m excited, it’s an exciting time.”

Coreau entered Wednesday’s game against Boston with a 5-1-1 record, 2.70 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

Back-to-back victories over Pittsburgh and Montreal, two of the best teams in the NHL, earned Coreau yet another start Wednesday against the Bruins.

Coach Jeff Blashill is certainly showing confidence in Coreau, who has put Petr Mrazek to the bench, and Coreau values the opportunity to play.

“It’s always nice to play more, you do get into a rhythm,” Coreau said. “Last year in Grand Rapids there was a time when (goaltender) Tom McCollum was hurt (and) I played 21 of 22 games.

“There’s a little bit of fatigue, or mental fatigue, but you’re just playing. You get to the rink and don’t want to get warmed up,  you just want to get right into the game. You get into a groove and you’re feeling it.

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“I try to enjoy it a little bit but stay humble, and not be too high or low. You can set yourself up for not being ready for the next competition. We talk in here about going day to day, game by game.”

That Coreau, 25, who played in college at Northern Michigan, is in this spot these days would have been considered a long shot three years ago.

Coreau’s first pro season saw him go 0-4-0 in Grand Rapids, and a miserable 1-12-6 in Toledo, with an .876 save percentage between the two stops.

But Coreau learned a lesson from the pro baptism — with some help from his mother.

“There were some doubts, but it’s like my mother always told me, and it’s very true,” Coreau said. “It’s not how many times you succeed, it’s how many times you fail and get up and keep moving forward.

“That was a year of some mistakes and failures and I did my best to learn from them and move forward.”

Blashill and Coreau had a lengthy discussion after that 2013-14 season, Coreau taking to heart Blashill’s advice on how to be a better pro on and off the ice.

Blashill has liked how Coreau has responded to playing at the NHL level, but wants Coreau to understand there’s plenty of work ahead.

“This league is relentless and it’s every single day, so you better show up every day to be great,” Blashill said. “But good job so far for him.”

Teammates like Coreau’s calmness, yet competitiveness, in net.

“He plays with confidence,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “He battles through traffic, there are players in front of him, but he finds a way to see the puck.”

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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