Confidence in your team is never a bad thing to have. Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill certainly displayed that during an interview on Friday.
“I believe we will make the playoffs because of Henrik Zetterberg,” he declared.
To put it lightly, that’s a pretty lofty goal to pursue. The Red Wings are 10 points out of the final Wild-Card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and they’ve given no indication that they’re ready to go on a miraculous run.
Of course, that would be even more difficult, as they traded their top goal scorer in Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday, as well as defenseman Brendan Smith to New York and agitator Steve Ott to Montreal.
However, Blashill believes the leadership and drive of Zetterberg, who is having a rejuvenated season for the Red Wings, will lead the team to a 26th consecutive postseason berth.
“He is probably one of the best competitors I’ve ever been around in my life,” Blashill explained. “His competitive desire is unreal. It’s not an outwardly competitiveness where he is real emotional — it’s just his ability to grind.”
Through 62 games played this season, Zetterberg has scored 14 goals to go with 35 assists and is a plus 10.
Zetterberg himself didn’t offer any bold predictions or build on his coach’s outlook, but rather simply stated that he’s just going about his business, and the chips will fall where they may.
“You just go out and work as hard as you can,” he said. “I am just enjoying every day of being in this league. I’m having a lot of good fun with all the guys.”
It would take a miracle for Detroit to continue playing hockey past April 9, but Blashill thinks it can happen.