Detroit Red Wings fire coach Jeff Blashill after 7 seasons

April 30, 2022 GMT
Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, center, looks over the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J., Friday, April 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, center, looks over the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J., Friday, April 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, center, looks over the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J., Friday, April 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, center, looks over the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J., Friday, April 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, center, looks over the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J., Friday, April 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Red Wings fired Jeff Blashill on Saturday, moving on from the coach tabbed to guide the storied NHL franchise through a long rebuilding process.

General manager Steve Yzerman said the team was not renewing the contracts of Blashill, assistant Doug Houda and goaltending coach Jeff Salajko.

Blashill spent the past seven seasons behind the bench for the Red Wings, who have missed the playoffs the past six seasons while transitioning into a youth movement. They last qualified for the postseason in 2015-16 when they lost in the first round.

The previous regime led by Stanley Cup-winning GM Ken Holland hired Blashill as Mike Babcock’s replacement, a natural selection given his reputation of developing young talent. Blashill has been with the organization for 11 years, including one season as an assistant on Babcock’s staff and three as coach of the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

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The Red Wings went 204-261-72 with Blashill at the helm. That .447 points percentage is second-worst in the league since then, not counting the expansion Seattle Kraken that debuted this season.

Detroit improved drastically in 2021-22 behind rookies Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond, finishing 12th in the 16-team Eastern Conference. The Red Wings could now be ready to take the next step back toward playoff contention with a new coach in charge.

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