Mantha, Blashill’s relationship changed this season

CBS Detroit’s Will Burtchfield took note of Anthony Mantha’s locker room clean-out day comments as pertaining to Mantha’s communication with coach Jeff Blashill:

Blashill’s dissatisfaction nagged at [Mantha]. It wasn’t so much dispiriting as it was perplexing. Oftentimes, Mantha didn’t understand the root of his coach’s frustration. He didn’t understand where he had gone wrong. Finally, midway through this season, Mantha sought answers.

“The one thing he said to me was, ‘Can you show me? Can you show me what you’re talking about?'” Blashill recalled. “And I said, ‘Absolutely.'”

Prior to a late-January game in New Jersey, Blashill pulled Mantha aside and showed him two sets of clips. The first consisted of Mantha’s 10 best shifts of the season, the second consisted of his 10 worst. Mantha immediately saw the difference.

“We compared those, and I mean, there’s a big difference when I’m actually competing and when I’m not,” Mantha said. “That’s a learning thing that I did this year.”

During that same conversation, one that Blashill deemed a “heart-to-heart,” the coach and the player discussed motivational tactics.

“We were talking about how to get me going in a game when it’s not going (well),” Mantha said. “Obviously I’m not the kind of player you just start yelling at, so he changed his approach there. Calling me out in the media, that’s another technique he tried. We could say it worked, could say it didn’t work.”

Burtchfield continues

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

5 thoughts on “Mantha, Blashill’s relationship changed this season”

  1. This is a really nice article showing that a coach should not use a blanket method for motivating players. It sure is nice to see Blashill and Mantha found common ground together and they were talking all along when we thought Jeff was only speaking to Mantha via the media.

    1. Actually it suggests that it wasn’t until halfway through the season when Mantha took the initiative to basically ask “what are you talking about coach?”. I’m glad the communication channels are functioning well now, but it sounds like a pretty dysfunctional situation up until that point. Much like Datsyuk and Tatar having no idea why they were seperated after such a successful season prior. Finally it was Datsyuk that reportedly approached Blashill to understand what was going on.

      So for every example of Blashill being a good communicator, we can find examples where he was awful. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

      OK. Now start attacking me again…

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