In a subscriber-only Q and A, coach Jeff Blashill discusses the Wings’ weird off-season with Detroit News’s Kulfan

The Detroit News, to its credit, is rolling out a significant amount of subscriber-only content to push their (and the Detroit Free Press’s) attempts to promote a paywall. Mark Falkner’s talked with agent Dan Milstein at length, Wings beat writer Ted Kulfan’s spoke with Manny Legace about his second career as the Blue Jackets’ goaltending coach, and, this morning, Kulfan speaks with Wings coach Jeff Blashill about the pandemic-lengthened offseason, which will see Detroit’s players and coaches off the ice from March to mid-November (at the very earliest).

In that vein, Blashill discusses the weirdness that is attempting to prepare both coaches and players for playing after an eight-and-a-half-month break…

►Q: How difficult is the uncertainty right now – not knowing when camp will begin, when you’ll start playing games?

►A: “Uncertainty is tough in life, it’s just reality. Uncertainty causes angst among people and causes stress and there’s no doubt uncertainty in these times, probably at an unprecedented high for everybody. With that said, pertaining to our situation, I’ve heard the dates floated about, but certainly there’s nothing written in stone and one of the things the NHL has done in their original Return to Play is not committing to anything before knowing it was really possible. So, right now, from a planning perspective, we have to make sure we’re prepared for the earliest possible start and if that gets delayed, at least we’re prepared, and that’s how we’ll go about it.”

And Blashill addresses the New York Post’s Larry Brooks’ report that the NHL teams that weren’t invited to “The Bubble” (see finishers 25 through 31) want to hold early camps and a mini-tournament to address comparative rust that they’ll be feeling, as compared with the teams that have skated in July, August and September:

►Q: We asked you after the season was announced over, how important would it be for you guys to have a sort of a mini-camp, since you have been off the ice since March 12. I’d imagine that is still important for your team?

►A: “We’re at a disadvantage, without a doubt, in the sense that we haven’t skated since March 12 and the other teams, even the teams that were out of the picture quick in the return to play, spent a number of weeks prior to that as a hockey team. So certainly we’d love to be able to do some stuff ahead of camp. Potentially, camp will be shortened this year compared to other years, so it’s even more important for the individual players to be as ready as possible.

“You can skate on your own and skate in skill development that a lot of guys do during the summer, but it’s not the same as having multiple other people on the ice with you. We’ll see how that shakes out, but we’re hoping to get some time.”

The Q and A continues at length…

I’ve already been charged $3.99 plus tax ($4.30 total) from both the Free Press and News for my first month’s subscription, and it’s going to be hard when the three-months-at-$3.99 “deal” ends, and the Free Press and News start charging $9.99 per month, per paper, for access, but I hope that I can help those of you who can’t afford spending a couple hundred bucks (never mind the subscriptions to The Athletic or ESPN+) to access Wings coverage.

We live in a world of paywalls now, and the goal here at The Malik Report is to provide a more affordable source for your Wings-related reading. Yes, that means that I, too, will be continually raising funds through Paypal, Patreon, etc., but asking for $5 or $10 a month is how I’m gonna try to make a menial living out of this.

I can understand how and why the newspaper and sports websites are trying to do that, too. I’m not going to rail against them–we live in an era where advertising is hard to make a living off of, to the point that I am going to try for at least the next six months to one year to avoid any advertising…

But maybe I can provide a shortcut for you? That’s really the goal…To be of value, literally and figuratively. Thus the plans for podcasts of a sort and columns and other stuff (and, in all honesty, I could use your ideas for the kind of content you’d like to see). We’ll get into that more in the next couple of days.

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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.