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.”