The Free Press’s Helene St. James spends a significant amount of time and space discussing the reasons why Steve Yzerman is unlikely to fire coach Jeff Blashill this season, and while I agree with St. James’ sentiment–I happen to believe that Blashill will ride out the rest of his contract this season before Yzerman reevaluates whether it’s time to make a change–this part of St. James’ argument is…off…
Another factor to consider is the fiscal side of things. The Wings are losing money because of the pandemic, playing before only a few hundred people (many of whom are family or friends of team personnel, and not ticket buyers) at Little Caesars Arena. Blashill makes $1.6 million, on the lower end for NHL coaches. If Yzerman were to release Blashill and, for example, turn the bench over to assistant coach Dan Bylsma for the rest of the season, Bylsma would require a raise. Even if it it’s $250,000, that’s not an insignificant sum when revenue has taken such a hit. If Yzerman chooses, for example, to bring in his longtime friend Gerard Gallant, he’s a former NHL head coach who would command considerably north of Blashill’s salary. And that’s presuming Gallant, or any higher-profile candidate, wants to coach the Wings. They are in a rebuild, and they’re not coming out of it in the near future.
Continued; I agree with St. James’ suggestions that Yzerman’s patience with the roster, probable contentment with the development of the team’s young players and understanding that the shortened season has been marred by COVID-related absences, yielding diminished team performance, are indeed all factors as to why Blashill is still coaching.
But the concept that the Detroit Red Wings are too financially strapped to invest in a new coach? I’m not feelin’ it, even during a pandemic-shortened, revenue-depleted season. The Ilitches are worth over $1-and-a-half billion dollars. If they want a new coach, they’re not going to sweat signing the checks.
Otherwise, yes, yes, yes, but this part confuses me a bit.