Detroit — The Red Wings have confidence in coach Jeff Blashill, and they will show how much in the coming days.
The Wings are expected to announce a two-year contract extension for Blashill by the end of the regular season next weekend.
The extension has long been rumored, as general manager Ken Holland all but confirmed the Red Wings planned on keeping Blashill while meeting with reporters after the trade deadline in late February.
“He’s done a great job,” Holland said at the time. “You look at the standings, and it’s hard to think anybody has done a great job when you see where we are in the standings.
"But he’s playing our young players, plus the young players have improved under his watch. I’m also big on experience. It’s his fourth year in the NHL and there’s no doubt he’s a better coach today than he was four years ago, just by his experience of getting to know the NHL and the types of players it takes to play in this league and how you want to build a team.”
Blashill, 45, guided the Wings into the playoffs his first season, but the Wings will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year this spring.
Still, the development of young players Dylan Larkin, Andras Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha, specifically, has given the organization hope for the future and confidence in Blashill.
The Wings have won four consecutive games and six of their last seven games, during a season in which they bottomed out early and fell out of playoff contention.
But the team has played hard — and well — since the Feb. 25 trade deadline, and despite the fact injuries have hit the roster hard.
Blashill is expected to be named head coach of Team USA at the world championships for the third consecutive year shortly after the NHL regular season ends.
Bruins at Red Wings
Faceoff: 7:30 Sunday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
TV/radio: NBC Sports Network/97.1
Outlook: The Bruins are battling for home ice in the playoffs. … The line of LW Brad Marchand (63 assists, 97 points), C Patrice Bergeron (32 goals) and RW David Pastrnak (36 goals) is as dominant a line as there is in the NHL.