Via Paul Kukla of Abel to Yzerman: Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill took part in a round of celebrity golf at the Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc, MI today, and Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff took note of some of Blashill’s remarks regarding his own team:
Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill likes what the team has done during the NHL offseason. He’s convinced that the club is trending positively.
As to how quickly the Wings will get to where fans want them to be – back in the Stanley Cup playoffs – Blashill is less certain.
“We think we’re headed in the right direction,” Blashill said. “Now what does that mean? I can’t tell how you quick can we get to where we want to be. I can’t tell you those things. But I definitely feel like we’re headed in the right direction.
The Detroit coach sees a better club set to take the ice for training camp in Traverse City. The offseason brought defensemen Nick Leddy and Jordan Oesterle, centers Pius Sutter and Mitchell Stephens and goaltender and Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic into the fold.
“We’ve gotten some players that are going to help us and now we’ve got to go to work,” Blashill said. “In terms of expectations, we’re going to start camp and we want to be better on Day 2 than we were on Day 1.”
Blashill, whose son, Teddy, was serving as dad’s caddy, said it was Nicklaus’ win in the 1986 Masters that got him hooked on golf. And to be playing alongside a boyhood idol was a thrill.
“With him and Mr. Trevino it was unbelievable,” Blashill said. “And Tom Izzo is one of the best coaches in any sport at any time, so to be able to walk nine holes and pick his brain on a lot of stuff was really cool.”
The entire experience was memorable for Blashill.
“I was awestruck walking in,” Blashill said. “I was super fortunate to have met Gordie Howe at the end of his life and I was around Ted Lindsay and had one-on-one conversations with him. It similar when I see these guys. They’re some of the best of all time. It’s really amazing. To say I was awestruck would be an understatement. And they’re super nice people. They treated us unbelievable, my son (Teddy) and I.”
Blashill said he gets to play a decent amount of golf in the summer – he and his wife hit the course for a date night once a week – but his time on the golf course will no doubt be limited soon as the Red Wings will be heading to Traverse City to kick off the season.
Their annual prospects tournament is Sept. 16-20 and training camp begins Sept. 23.
“In terms of expectations, we’re going to start camp and we want to be better on Day 2 than we were on Day 1,” he said. “We think we’re headed in the right direction. Now what does that mean? I can’t tell how you quick can we get to where we want to be. I can’t tell you those things.
“But I definitely feel like we’re headed in the right direction. We’ve gotten some players that are going to help us and now we’ve got to go to work.”