Head coach Jeff Blashill explains why he juggled line combinations

The Detroit Red Wings were already without forwards Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne on Tuesday night thanks to COVID-19 protocols, so the lines that head coach Jeff Blashill rolled out onto the ice were going to look a bit different.

And they continued to change throughout the contest.

“I like their work ethic and compete (level),” Blashill said after tonight’s game. “I think overall that’s been really good, or good. I think that’s where It needs to be for us, it starts with our work ethic and compete (level).”

The lines were mixed around in order to get more offense from the Red Wings, who would emerge as 3-2 winners over the Blue Jackets in overtime. Anthony Mantha, Bobby Ryan and Tyler Bertuzzi all tallied for Detroit.

When asked if there was a message to be sent to his players, Blashill declined that thought, instead saying it was a matter of spreading things out a bit more.

“No message – just we wanted to spread the lines around a little bit, and see what kind of chemistry we could have with different lines, and potentially spread the minutes out a little bit,” he said. “I thought our guys came out hard so I think they do a good job without worrying about my decisions; I make my decisions and they have to go out and play, and I think they did a good job of going out and playing.”

Of course, with several new faces in the lineup, things are different than last year’s squad who earned the unfortunate distinction of being the first NHL team eliminated from playoff contention prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.

So how are the new players in the lineup helping to ensure things are different?

“I think the fresh faces have helped calm our bench down,” Blashill said.
We don’t seem to be as excitable as we’ve been as that growth in some of our guys that have returned…not wearing the previous year’s losses and struggles, we just keep playing. That’s the approach I like to take.”

Nothing has bothered us so far, we just keep playing.”