Blashill Named Red Wings’ Head Coach

The Detroit Red Wings made it official on Tuesday, naming Jeff Blashill as the 27th head coach in team history.

Blashill’s hiring had been expected since former head coach Mike Babcock left to take over the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 20. The Red Wings didn’t want to announce anything with Blashill still coaching the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Griffins were eliminated by the Utica Comets in the Western Conference Finals a week ago, paving the way for Tuesday’s press conference.

Blashill coached Grand Rapids for three seasons, leading them to a Calder Cup Championship in his first year with the team in 2013. In that time, the Griffins compiled a 134-71-23 record and never finished lower than second in the Midwest Division.

Prior to taking over the Griffins, Blashill spent one year as an assistant to Babcock with the Red Wings. A former collegiate goalie for Ferris State, Blashill got his coaching start as an assistant with the Bulldogs before moving on to the Miami Redhawks for six seasons. Blashill got his first head coaching job with the USHL’s Indiana Ice in 2008-09 and led them to a Clark Cup Championship in his first year. For the 2010-11 season he jumped to the Western Michigan Broncos, taking them to the CCHA Championship game.

In replacing Babcock, Blashill becomes Detroit’s first new head coach in ten years.

With assistant coaches Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer following Babcock to Toronto and Tony Granato turning down the optional year on his contract, Blashill has a blank slate to work with behind the bench in Detroit, though Granato may yet return.

Reports: Red Wings Coaching Staff Loses Renney, Adds Granato

TSN of Canada reported on Monday that the Detroit Red Wings made two coaching changes.

Associate Coach Tom Renney will be leaving the team, taking over as president of Hockey Canada while Tony Granato has been hired as an assistant coach to replace Bill Peters, who took over head coaching duties for the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this summer.

Granato comes to the Red Wings from the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he spent the last five seasons as an assistant under recently-fired head coach Dan Bylsma. Prior to that he was an assistant coach for the Colorado Avalanche, then that team’s head coach, then assistant coach again before a second promotion to head coach.

The Red Wings cannot formally announce Granato’s hiring as he is currently still under contract with the Penguins. The team is working with Pittsburgh to secure his release.

Granato’s 13-year NHL career was split between the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.

Renney leaves the Detroit organization after two years, having been brought in to replace Jeff Blashill as he moved on to the head coaching role for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He will replace Bob Nicholson at Hockey Canada in a role that Nicholson had held since 1998.

Red Wings Assistant Peters Named Head Coach of Hurricanes

The Detroit Red Wings lost assistant coach Bill Peters on Thursday, as he was named the new head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Peters had been with the Red Wings for three seasons, having joined the club alongside Jeff Blashill when the pair were hired to replace the departing Paul MacLean and Brad McCrimmon.

Prior to coming to Detroit, Peters was the head coach of the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs. Before that he was the head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, a team for which he’d previously been an assistant coach under current Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.

Thus far the Red Wings have retained the services of Tom Renney, their other assistant coach. Peters’ replacement will be named later in the summer.

Red Wings Sign Blashill to New Contract

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Wednesday the signing of Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill to new contract.

Blashill previously had one year remaining on his deal as the coach of Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate. With the new contract, he’ll remain with the Detroit organization through the 2016-17 season.

One season removed from guiding the Griffins to a Calder Cup Championship, Blashill has spent three years with the Detroit organization. After one season as an assistant coach to Mike Babcock with the Red Wings in 2011-12, he jumped to the Griffins to be their head coach. Blashill began his coaching career with the Ferris State Bulldogs and then Miami University as an assistant coach. His first head coaching job was for the USHL’s Indiana Ice in 2008-09, then he moved on to the Western Michigan Broncos for a season in 2010-11.

Blashill is a Michigan native and was a goalie for the Bulldogs before starting his coaching career.

With Babcock’s contract with Detroit up next summer, Blashill gives the Red Wings an insurance policy should the current head coach decide to head elsewhere.

Red Wings Free Agency Recap: Day 2

It was a quiet day for the Red Wings in Day 2 of NHL free agency but that doesn’t mean it was uneventful. Here are a few things of note that happened today:

Cleary
A mid-afternoon report stated that Daniel Cleary and the Red Wings had agreed to a three-year deal that would carry a $2.6 million cap hit, to be signed as soon as some of Detroit’s excess forwards are dumped (as mentioned yesterday, including RFAs the Wings are at the 50-contract limit). Quickly, that report was contradicted by one stating that the Wings would like to have him back if they can fit him under the salary cap.

I’m in the group that thinks the original report is closer to the truth and that there probably is a gentleman’s agreement in place to bring Cleary back but that the Wings organization is worried admitting as much would be considered circumventing the cap. And, for the record, I hope neither the term nor the value of the reported deal end up being true. Especially the term. As Helene St. James tells us, though, Mike Babcock loves Cleary so the Wings will do what they can to keep him.

Brunner
Still no word on what will happen with Damien Brunner but there is a report that he’s looking for $3 – $3.5 million per year on a three-year deal. That was the high end of where I was willing to go for him. It’s apparent that Babcock does not love Brunner, despite being the one to seemingly promise him a top-six role last summer. As mentioned yesterday, he played well in the third-line role down the stretch and into the playoffs so I don’t blame the Wings for not giving him the promotion he’s looking for.

Scouts
In a major blow to the Red Wings organization, head of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell and amateur scout Mark Leach have left Detroit to join former Wings’ assistant general manager Jim Nill, now the GM of the Dallas Stars. McDonnell ran the 2013 NHL Draft for Detroit after Nill’s departure, as Nill had been the Wings’ “draft guy” for years.

Detroit’s management and coaching staff has been raided repeatedly since their 2008 Stanley Cup win. After that season they lost assistant coach Todd McLellan to the San Jose Sharks and he took video coach Jay Woodcroft with him. In 2010, Vice President of Hockey Steve Yzerman left to take on the GM role with the Tampa Bay Lightning, taking scout Pat Verbeek with him. In 2011, assistant coaches Paul MacLean and Brad McCrimmon moved on to head coaching roles elsewhere and in 2012 the Wings lost another assistant head coach as Jeff Blashill shifted over to the head coaching job with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Alfredsson Reaction
Finally, today saw some interesting reaction to yesterday’s signing of Daniel Alfredsson, with “Puck Daddy” Greg Wyshynski taking offense to Alfredsson’s decision to “get selfish.” I’m not going to link to it because I think the guys at Yahoo see Wings fans as easy targets for extra clicks.

I think the accusation of selfishness is interesting given the timeline of his contract negotiations and the actual timing of the signing.

Supposedly Alfredsson made his contract demands to Ottawa and was told that they were “unfair.” The Sens let him reach July 1 unsigned, at which point he was free to talk to other teams. When he started talking to other teams he decided he wanted to leave; only then did Ottawa offer him a “blank check” to return. He said no and moved on.

A star player who’d spent his entire career offended by the route that negotiations took and making a selfish decision to bolt for personal reasons? Alfredsson’s choice came exactly two weeks before the tenth anniversary of when Sergei Fedorov did it to the Red Wings.

I wish more of today’s MSM had been around then so we could compare their thoughts on Alfredsson to what they said about Fedorov. For the record, I only wrote up a news piece rather than an opinion one at the time.

Red Wings Land Free Agent DeKeyser

The Detroit Red Wings are the winners of the Danny DeKeyser sweepstakes.

The team announced on Friday the signing of the Western Michigan defenseman to a standard two-year entry-level contract. The 23-year-old was considered the top NCAA player available in the 2013 free agent class and was sought after by many teams.

DeKeyser has a long history of connections with the Red Wings. He grew up a fan of the team in Macomb and played with Detroit assistant general manager Jim Nill’s son, Trevor. With the Broncos, he was coached by Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill during his rookie year. He was also invited to the Red Wings’ summer development camp during his offseasons.

In three seasons at Western, DeKeyser accumulated 12 goals and 37 assists for 49 total points.

Financial terms of the deal were not announced but are expected to carry a rookie-max cap hit of $3,775,00. Most of that will be in bonuses that cannot be reached but are factored into the cap calculation nonetheless.

Red Wings Hire Renney as Associate Coach

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday the hiring of Tom Renney as associate coach.  Renney replaces Jeff Blashill, who took over as head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins last week.

Most recently the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, Renney has also served as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, assistant and head coach of the New York Rangers, and associate coach in Edmonton.

The Oilers did not make the playoffs in two seasons under Renney, leading to his replacement this summer.

Red Wings Name Blashill Griffins’ Head Coach

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Monday that assistant coach Jeff Blashill has been named head coach of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Blashill replaces Curt Fraser, who left the Griffins after four seasons to take an assistant coaching spot with the Dallas Stars.

The Griffins will be Blashill’s fourth team in as many seasons.  He was the head coach of the USHL’s Indiana Ice from 2008-10 before jumping to Western Michigan University to become their head coach for the 2010-11 season.  The Red Wings brought him on as an assistant last season.

“We’re very excited to name Jeff the next head coach of the Griffins,” said Detroit general manager Ken Holland in a statement.  “He’s a talented coach that has a proven track record of working well with young players.  He did a tremendous job for us in Detroit last season and we look forward to having him groom and mentor our prospects in Grand Rapids.  We would also like to thank Curt Fraser for his four years of service behind the Griffins’ bench.  He did an outstanding job for us.  We wish Curt and his family nothing but the best in Dallas.”

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to be the head coach of the Griffins,” Blashill added.  “I had a tremendous experience in Detroit last season and will lean on that experience as I make the transition behind the bench in Grand Rapids.  I worked with most of our young players at training camp and in the preseason last year. We have some great talent in the organization.  I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Red Wings Name Blashill, Peters as Assistant Coaches

The Detroit Red Wings named their two new assistant coaches on Friday: Jeff Blashill and Bill Peters.

The pair replace Paul MacLean and Brad McCrimmon, who both moved on to head coaching jobs this summer.

The 37-year-old Blashill comes to Detroit from Western Michigan University. In his lone season with the Broncos, he led the team to the CCHA championship game and an NCAA tournament berth.

Before coming to WMU, Blashill coached the USHL Indiana Ice to a Kelly Cup championship in 2009. He was also an assistant at Miami of Ohio for six years and an assistant at Ferris State for three years. He played his collegiate hockey at FSU as a goalie.

Peters, 46, has been the head coach of the Rockford Ice Hogs – AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks – for the past three seasons. He was with the WHL Spokane Chiefs when Detroit head coach Mike Babcock coached the team, serving as one of Babcock’s assistants for one season. Peters later coached the Chiefs himself, leading them to the 2008 Memorial Cup.