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 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 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.

Red Wings’ 2011-12 Schedule Released

The Red Wings (along with the rest of the NHL) released their regular season schedule for the 2011-12 season on Thursday.

The Wings open their season at home against the Ottawa Senators, led by former Detroit assistant coach Paul MacLean.

Detroit’s schedule includes a pair of six-game homestands (one in November, the other in February) balancing out four road trips of four games or more. Across late December and early January, they’ll be on the road for nine of eleven games.

There are two home-and-home series on the schedule, against the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Red Wings play on back to back nights 13 times this season. For the first time in recent history, one of those pairs of games is entirely in Detroit.

The annual New Years Eve game will see the Red Wings host the St. Louis Blues.

Other notable games include the only meeting between the Wings and the newly-relocated Winnipeg team in Detroit on December 10 and the season finale against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 7.

Red Wings Assistant MacLean Headed to Ottawa

Paul MacLean will reportedly become the second Red Wings assitant coach to leave Detroit this offseason, as he his expected to be announced as the new head coach of the Ottawa Senators.

MacLean had been with the Wings since the 2005-06 season, joining the team whem Mike Babcock became head coach. The two had previously worked together for two seasons with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Brad McCrimmon – Detroit’s other assistant coach from the 2010-11 season – left the team to take a head coaching position in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League last month.

Babcock and general manager Ken Holland will work to replace the two departed assistants before the NHL Draft at the end of the month. Early candidates include former Plymouth Whalers coach Pete DeBoer, former Windsor Spitfires coach Bob Boughner, and former Minnesota Wild coach Todd Richards. Rumors also persist about former NHL head coaches Ken Hitchcock and Dave King as possible options.

Changes: A New NHL, but Wings Remain Similar

With all the opinions on how this NHL season will go, someone has to be right.

You know the words “a new NHL” actually mean something when people are talking about how far the Pittsburgh Penguins will advance in the playoffs, or how the Nashville Predators are the real threat to take the Central Division.

Things are bound to change, but every season brings a few surprises. While the same teams were looked at as Cup contenders each year, there were others that shocked the world once, but not again. No one gave Carolina a shot before 2002, and they don’t get much respect now, despite making the Cup Final that year. Each team is going to see some changes in this new NHL. So, what stays the same in Detroit and what changes?

The roster looks a lot like it has in the past. Detroit may be the measuring stick for any team in the future trying to keep a core together. At the center is Steve Yzerman, as he has been for two decades. Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom and Brendan Shanahan remain from the 1997 championship team at forward, with six-time Norris nominated (and three-time winner) Nicklas Lidstrom on defense.

Chris Osgood remembers that 1997 team, and he’s back in Detroit after spending a few years in New York and St. Louis. Including Ozzie, Detroit has ten players that have been with the team since before 2000. Manny Legace saw Osgood leave and return, and the two will have a healthy fight to become the number one guy. Relative newcomers Robert Lang, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are the guys who will be looked at to score goals this season. Gone from the long-time roster are Darren McCarty and Mathieu Dandenault, along with a few salary eaters (Dominik Hasek, Curtis Joseph, Brett Hull).

Players that will have to produce when they get their chances include Jason Williams, Johan Franzen, Mark Mowers and Dan Cleary.

If the officials call the game by the book, the defense needs to be ready. While Lidstrom is nearly perfect at his position, Jiri Fischer is still learning and may rack up the penalty minutes. This means the Red Wings are relying on a few older veterans to hold down the fort.

The play of Mathieu Schneider, Chris Chelios and possibly Jamie Rivers and Andreas Lilja will be the true test of this Wings squad. Niklas Kronwall again will miss most of the season, meaning the Wings may even look at some inexperienced defenders, as tight cap space may limit them from testing the free agent market or making a big trade.

A new trio now leads the Wings behind the bench: Coach Mike Babcock and his assistants Paul MacLean and Todd McLellan are all fairly familiar faces. Babcock coached the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim that knocked out the Wings in 2003, and MacLean played for the Red Wings. Interestingly enough, McLellan coached the Houston Aeros past the Grand Rapids Griffins in the 2003 Calder Cup playoffs. These three should lay down the law, making sure the Wings never get too comfortable trying to play their old style.

This Week’s Matchups

October 5 vs St. Louis – Chris Osgood won’t get a chance to open the season against his former team, so it looks like Manny Legace will get the start. The Blues now have Patrick Lalime in front of the net, but not Al MacInnis or Chris Pronger. If the Wings can come out hard and fast, they might be able to exploit the Blues’ young defense which is now led by Eric Brewer.

October 6 at St. Louis – The Blues and Wings get two of their eight meetings over with in a hurry. The Blues home opener may see Reinhard Divis and Jim Howard in the nets. St. Louis is the younger team, and they’ll be excited to open the Savvis Center. A split series with both teams winning their home opener is not out of the question.

Games this week: 2
vs. Western Conference: 2
vs. Central Division: 2
Home: 1
Road: 1

Wings Announce More Coaching Changes

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday that associate coach Barry Smith and assistant coach Joe Kocur will not return to the team for the 2005-06 season.

One of their replacements will be Paul MacLean, who was an assistant to new Wings head coach Mike Babcock in Anaheim. The other new assistant will be announced on Friday.

MacLean spent 11 years as a player in the NHL, splitting time between Winnipeg, Detroit and St. Louis. He has been a coach in various levels of hockey since 1993.

“Paul brings a great deal of experience as player and coach,” said Babcock. “The success we’ve had in the past and the relationship we have will help us do great things in Detroit. He’s a former Red Wing and will be a great addition to our staff.”