DETROIT — After missing the playoffs for the first time in 26 seasons, the Detroit Red Wings aren’t embarking on a total shakeup.
General manager Ken Holland says Jeff Blashill will remain Detroit’s coach. Blashill, who was hired in 2015 after Mike Babcock’s departure, made the playoffs in his first season, but Detroit went 33-36-13 in 2016-17.
“I believe in Jeff Blashill,” Holland said Tuesday. “I believe in him because of his resume before he got here. I worked with him every day. I know he works at it. He’s talking to people. He’s gathering information. He’s trying to get better.”
Holland received his own vote of confidence from Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings and son of team owner Marian Ilitch. The Red Wings move into a new arena next season and will try to rebound from this year’s failure.
“This year was very disappointing, unacceptable,” Holland said. “We have to be better. (Blashill) knows it. I know it and I think the players know it.”
Blashill, who will coach the U.S. national team at next month’s world championship, said there’s “something to be said for a fresh start” after the streak of post-season appearances ended in the team’s final season at Joe Louis Arena.
“I don’t know that the streak added pressure per se. I can’t say that it did or didn’t,” Blashill said. “What I know is every single year we put lots of pressure on ourselves to make sure that we’re one of those 16 teams competing for the Stanley Cup. We’re bitterly disappointed that we’re not.”
Holland said he doesn’t think Red Wings fans want to see an extended rebuilding process.
Instead, the hope is for the team to make the playoffs again sooner rather than later.
“We have to find a way to get 10 more wins, 20 more points. That’s a lot of wins. That’s a lot of points,” he said.
“I’ve got to be better. Jeff Blashill and the coaches know they have to be better. Each one of those players know that they have to be better.”