Let’s get straight to the point: Last night was the final straw for me. Six games in, we have two points, a -16 goal differential, and have allowed 30 (yes, 30!!!) goals on the year. I get it, this is a rebuild, and I shouldn’t expect any playoff success from this team, but you also can’t expect things to be this bad, right? This is entering danger territory because the team doesn’t look even remotely good at the moment.
You really want to know how bad this could get? Remember the 2016-17 Avalanche, the team that generated a whopping 48 points? The most goals they allowed over a 6-game stretch? 30 goals, and that was in late-March when their year was already well over. Their worst losing streak that year? 9-games, in which they allowed 36 goals over that streak. The Wings are at 6 and that number is already at 30.
I get it, the season just started, but tank mode or not this is unacceptable. After all the roster moves these last four years, what’s the one common denominator of it all? Jeff Blashill.
Since making the playoffs his first year, Blashill is 63-79-28, that’s good for a .370% winning percentage. That would be good for the 2nd worst win percentage ALL-TIME in Red Wings history for coaches who coached at least 82 games (0.2% ahead of Wayne Maxner from 1980-82 of course). So to steal a quote we hear after pretty much every game from our fantastic coach... that is simply, “Not. Good. Enough.”
Look, I get it, it’s a rebuild, it’s a transition period, we’re coming off a quarter-century of dominance. I’m also not going to settle for one of the worst Red Wings teams ever, rebuild or not. The young players are learning, they’re growing and gaining much needed NHL experience, but when is enough, enough?
I’m tired of the cliches, I’m tired of Blashill continuing to remind us they have to be better or him benching/cutting ice time of young kids for these overpaid veterans. Clearly the message isn’t getting across the way it should be, and that falls directly on Blashill.
I want Jack Hughes as much as the next guy, and I am happy with this start for that reason. I am, however, a very competitive person, and when my teams are doing bad enough to the point they are the laughing stock of the league, I need to see something change. I’d never expect Ken Holland, and his loyalty, to fire a coach mid-season, but if they actually re-sign Blashill after the year, then there is something seriously wrong with this organization.
Now to the argument that “it’s only 6 games in.” I sure won’t blame the kids yet. Sulak, Hronek, Cholowski, Rasmussen, etc. have barely started their NHL careers. They don’t know any better and they’re still adjusting. Of all people, who is supposed to be the most important person helping them adjust? The head coach. Not only that, but scratching Ras when you’re the one who buries him in the lineup anyways? You know the old saying, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again when it continues to not work. So all of this scratching and cutting ice time of the kids over the past four years is getting to the point of insanity, because this team has gotten substantially worse over that time.
I’m going to keep watching and also going to continue to cheer on the kids. However, tank or not, I’m not going to sit here and let Jeff Blashill continue what he’s doing and make this team worse and worse. Just watch a full game, the team looks disinterested, almost to the point of not caring. With Zetterberg retired, there isn’t a true, veteran leader in the locker room right now (sorry, I don’t count Vanek) and, again, that falls directly on the head coach. This season looks all but over already, and I’m okay with that to a point. We need a player like Jack Hughes to put on the Winged Wheel to help fix things. What we don’t need is a coach like Jeff Blashill who just doesn’t seem to help fix anything.