Detroit Red Wings fans likely won’t be surprised at the latest prediction from the sports website Bovada.lv.
The site, described as “a trusted online gambling site offering sports betting, online casino games and betting on horse racing”, has listed Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill among the leading candidates for the next bench boss to be let go. At 7-1 odds, he’s fourth in line behind San Jose’s Peter DeBoer (7-2), Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice (4-1) and the Islanders’ (and Michigan native) Doug Weight (4-1) in terms of likelihood to be fired.
Since taking over as head coach from long-time bench boss Mike Babcock in 2015, Blashill’s Red Wings haven’t exactly fared well. A prompt first-round exit to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016 followed by the first non-playoff year in 26 years last season has left many wondering if he’s the right coach to lead the team.
However, many would also point to the lack of talent the Red Wings have compared to the glory years. Without the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom patrolling the blue line, Pavel Datsyuk dangling and dazzling, as well as the aging of veteran leaders like Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall, it wouldn’t exactly be fair to categorize the team’s shortcomings as a product of the head coach.
Regardless, a professional sports team is usually always reflected by those charged with leading the way, beginning with the coaching staff. Because the coaches are usually those who have to take the fall for underachieving players, Blashill finds himself in a precarious position.
The Red Wings have stated that they have confidence in Blashill, who led the Grand Rapids Griffins to the Calder Cup title before taking over as Red Wings coach and has enjoyed success at every other level of coaching he’s been involved in.
But if the Red Wings find themselves out of the playoff picture once again this season, it wouldn’t be inconceivable for them to assess other options behind the bench.