Detroit — Another day, another coaching change in the NHL.
The firing of Peter Laviolette in Nashville was the NHL’s sixth head coaching change during this regular season, as organizations look to fix, or spark, or jolt their rosters into playoff contention.
Laviolette joined former Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock (Toronto), Pete DeBoer (San Jose), Jim Montgomery (Dallas), Bill Peters (Calgary) and John Hynes (New Jersey) as unemployed head coaches.
Interestingly, Hynes on Tuesday replaced Laviolette in Nashville.
Also, Montgomery and Peters were the direct result of off-ice issues that didn’t necessarily correspond to wins or losses at the time.
Regardless, coaches are under pressure to win more than ever in the NHL.
Jeff Blashill, who has been seemingly under siege to an extent this entire season with the rebuilding Wings, understands the nature of the job.
The spate of firings, the latest being Laviolette’s, doesn’t change anything.
“When you’re in this position, you know the tenuous nature of it,” Blashill said. “So, I don’t think you need the firings to remind you of that. That’s reality.”
But Blashill added coaches don’t necessarily look over their shoulders, either, and worry about what could be next, or worry about being let go if wins aren’t piled up.
“I don’t think any of us work worrying about that,” Blashill said of the concern of being fired. “You just work and do the very best you can. When you’re in this job, you realize that every situation is a bit different. I know we have world-class coaches in these spots and every general manager makes their decisions for their own reasons.
“I know the guys that have been let go, and obviously have been for different reasons, the guys let go are world-class coaches.”
Dylan Larkin’s comments late last week about not minding to miss the NHL All-Star Game — basically asking fans not to write-in votes for him, as Larkin would prefer the rest — and Brian Burke’s comments criticizing Larkin, made for great social media.
Burke, the Hockey Night in Canada analyst, said Larkin is too young of a player and hasn’t accomplished enough in his career, to skip an All-Star weekend.
Blashill was asked about Burke’s comments, and strongly backed Larkin.
“All I can say is I don’t think there is a guy who loves hockey more than Dylan,” Blashill said “Or works harder on a nightly basis, or works harder in practice, more than Dylan.
“I’ll let Dylan speak for himself about his comments, but I would never, ever question the passion, or love, for the game, or work ethic (of Larkin). To me, I didn’t hear Brian Burke, I didn’t read Dylan’s comments, I don’t play attention to any of that stuff, all I know is nobody has more passion for hockey, passion for the Red Wings or Detroit, nobody has more work ethic than him.”
Trevor Daley (lower body) was hit by a shot in Sunday's game, and was not yet ready to play against Montreal. Daley did take part in the morning skate.
... Montreal forward Tomas Tatar has had plenty of success against his former Red Wings teammates. Tatar had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in seven career games against the Wings, since being traded to Vegas in 2018 (and to Montreal the following season).
... Filip Zadina said he has gone through a similarly tough season as the Red Wings are currently going through. Zadina said early in his junior career in the Czech Republic, the team he was on struggled through a difficult season, losing much more than it won.
"We were in the same spot," Zadina said. "It's tough for everyone. You're doing your best, trying to work your butt off, and you just can't win. It's hard. But you believe, and we're practicing real hard every single practice, and I still believe we'll do better.
"The puck luck will be here."