No Jeff Blashill tonight. No Alex Tanguay tonight. But Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman still believes that the Wings’ interim coaching staff of Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon, Wings assistant coach Doug Houda and Griffins assistant coach Todd Krygier should get the job done, as he told MLive’s Brendan Savage:
“I think we’ll get through it fine,” Yzerman said. “Ben and Todd know our players really well. Five or six have played for them this year, actually. So, it shouldn’t be too bad of a transition. I’m curious to see how it goes.
“Myself, I’ve never really been behind the bench and been in that position with a lot of video reviews and things like that. Things are a little bit different from the NHL to the American Hockey League but I think for the most part it will be relatively seamless transition.
“Ben, Todd and the rest of them along with Jeff and our staff, I’m sure they’ve been on the phone constantly since yesterday afternoon going through all the different scenarios, talking about our players and what adjustments Jeff Blashill would make and what recommendations Ben would have.”
Blashill and Tanguay went into COVID protocol along with players Givani Smith, Carter Rowney and Alex Nedeljkovic. They joined forwards Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen in COVID protocol.
With so many players sidelined, the Red Wings recalled goaltender Calvin Pickard and forward Riley Barber from Grand Rapids.
“As long as we’re playing, we’ve got to figure out a way to win games,” Yzerman said. “Just looking at it from a hockey perspective, some guys are getting a great opportunity to play whether it’s Thomas Griess in net tonight or Riley Barber or Taro Hirose. Go out and have a positive impact. It’s a great opportunity for them to take advantage of a chance to play in the NHL.”