Jeff Blashill's dismissal draws few surprises from national media, social media

Detroit News

Social media reaction was swift with few surprises to news of Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman not renewing the contracts of coach Jeff Blashill and two of his coaches, just one day after the Wings ended the regular season with a 5-3 victory against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, New Jersey.

ESPN's Greg Wyshynski praised Blashill, who had been with the organization for 11 seasons in total, having previously served as head coach of the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins, but Wyshynski also noted Blashill's poor coaching record (204-261-72) with a team "dedicated to rebuilding through the draft under GM Steve Yzerman."

Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill stands behind his bench during the first period.

"There were signs of progress for the Red Wings, despite their record this season," Wyshnynski wrote on "Defenseman Moritz Seider and forward Lucas Raymond are both expected to challenge for the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year. Defenseman Simon Edvinsson, a highly touted prospect drafted sixth overall in 2021, signed with the team last week."

Former Red Wings forward and four-time Stanley Cup champion Darren McCarty said Blashill should get "his credit for the positives he's put into the Winged Wheel culture."

Steven Ellis of The Hockey News said "Blashill wasn't getting it done anymore with a young core and the team needed a fresh voice."

James O'Brien of NBC Sports' Pro Hockey Talk took a look at what went wrong and what went right under Blashill in 2021-22.

"When one looks back at his work, it’s a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg debate," O'Brien wrote. "On one hand, seven seasons represents a long time to prove yourself. He didn’t receive a short leash.

"On the other hand, the Red Wings rarely (if ever) really furnished Blashill with the type of talent that would inspire lofty aspirations. He took over a team in its last gasps of former glory, and then sorted through the rubble of a lengthy rebuild.

"So, where do the Red Wings go from here? It’s crucial for Steve Yzerman & Co. to make the right calls this offseason. That starts with finding the right head coach, but also charting a wise path in free agency (and possibly through trades).

"Along with another high first-rounder, the Red Wings hold an extra second-round pick, two extra fourth-round picks, and an additional seventh. They also possess an extra second-round pick for 2023.

"Should they use some of those futures to try to add more NHL-ready talent? With almost $35 million in cap space, the Red Wings could accelerate their move upward if they want to.

"That said, there’s a risk in trying to reach too far. For all we know, it might be wiser for the Red Wings to continue their incremental approach, and maybe use their cap space to absorb short, problem contracts.

Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) makes a save as Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk (25) waits to pounce on the rebound during the third period of Tuesday's game in Toronto.

"(Maybe extract some real value to take on the last year of James van Riemsdyk‘s contract, or that of Evgenii Dadonov, for example?)

"Of course, a more incremental approach might make the Red Wings a less desirable destination for a more established head coach.

"It’s a lot to think about, yet it makes perfect sense for the Red Wings to move on from Jeff Blashill as head coach."

Popular Red Wings YouTube commentator Tony Dombrowksi wished Blashill well in his future endeavors, but wasn't surprised Yzerman made a swift decision on Saturday. Assistant coaches Doug Houda and goaltending coach Jeff Salajko also didn't have their contracts renewed by Yzerman.

"There was no way Jeff Blashill was going to come back after the end of this season," Dombrowski said in a video on his Twitter feed. "I needed to see it to believe it and Steve is going to get his own guy in here."

Ryan Hana, host of the Winged Wheel podcast, said it's going to be fun to speculate about the next coach of the Red Wings.

"The likes of Larionov, Gronborg, Fedorov, etc. will be popular but the real 'list' is much, much longer," Hana tweeted.

"I definitely been guilty of being too hard on Jeff Blashill throughout his tenure. Still, I think Yzerman's decision is the right one for the team."

"Whether or not he had a fair shot with a good roster, seven years is a long time. The team needed a new voice."

More: Who could replace Blashill as Red Wings head coach? Here are 10 possibilities

Finally, here's Blashill's final interview on Friday night with Trevor Thompson of Bally Sports Detroit after the victory against the Devils.