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The Blashill Rumors Begin, but Now Isn’t the Time for the Red Wings to Fire Their Coach

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

After the first tough stretch of the season which saw the Detroit Red Wings go winless in six games before the victory at Florida, the Jeff Blashill coaching change rumors have started.

From the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch:

“It may be early, but the heat has been turned up in the Motor City. As the Detroit Red Wings tried to halt their six-game losing streak Saturday against the Florida Panthers, the whispers had already started about the future of coach Jeff Blashill. Yes, the 43-year-old Blashill was the hand-picked successor of GM Ken Holland when Mike Babcock left for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015, but the clock is ticking and the Red Wings aren’t showing any signs of improvement. Before the game against Florida, Blashill had a 78-72-25 record behind Detroit’s bench, but the Red Wings also missed the playoffs last season. You’d have to think that, if the Red Wings decide to make a coaching switch, they may turn to Tippett …”

First, the season is still very early and firing a coach at this point would just have a bad look and make a situation even worse for Red Wings general manager Ken Holland from an optics point of view. If you wanted to give Blashill one more chance to turn it around, that fine but this early is not a legitimate chance, after all the situation here is not 100% Blashill’s fault.

Second, what didn’t Holland know about Blashill at the end of last season that leads him to now believe he is not the right man for the job? This is essentially the exact same roster as last season, give or take a player here and there. To expect better results would be puzzling.

Third, I like Dave Tippett and would be in favor of him as the next head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. I’m sure we will hear more names thrown around as time continues, after all Tippett is the first name in the rumor mill linked here. I think the best thing this franchise can do is wait and sort out the general manager position first, before bringing in an outside person as the permanent head coach.

Yes, I fully expect if the Wings’ struggles continue, that Jeff Blashill will be fired. The biggest reason being is that when the general manager’s contract is up at the end of the year, such as Holland’s is, the easiest way to save yourself is to use the head coach as a scapegoat. I don’t expect this to happen until January or February at the earliest and then at the end of the season at the latest.

The real issue here is that despite the mistakes Blashill may have made or decisions he made that we disagree with, the roster is just not any good. Making a coaching change now versus later in the season doesn’t really make a difference to me.

Now it’s possible that a coaching change will spark this hockey club and they could go on a tear and even push for the playoffs. That would be great for some but its not in the best long term interest of the team. It will just one again put a cover over the real issues.

Things in Detroit won’t change for the better until the organization gets out of these bad contracts and changes the way it operates from a trades and free agency standpoint. The issues of this team start as a result of Holland and anything that leads to his return next season as general manager will just kick the can down the road. Unfortunately, another bad season is the only way to start the process of getting out of this mess.

The more the team struggles the louder the coaching change rumors will get. We have to hope for no knee jerk reactions that will set things back further as the season continues. This is about setting a foundation that can make this team compete in the long term and regardless of what happens, I believe that Blashill won’t be the man to see it through.