Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff discusses Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon’s work over the past weekend, when he helmed the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils:
“It’s different because you’re not expecting it,” explained Simon, coach of Detroit’s top farm club the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. “That’s not your goal here. Your goal is to always make it to the highest level, but as a coach you’re really worried about your group and improving your group on a daily basis.”
The group Simon was worrying about suddenly became the Red Wings on Saturday after he received word that the NHL was placing Detroit coach Jeff Blashill in COVID-19 protocol.
While this call up was feeling much different than his November 10, 2001 NHL debut as a player with the Atlanta Thrashers, that didn’t mean Simon wasn’t feeling the thrill of the opportunity.
“There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of moving pieces, a little bit of everything – a little anxiety, a little panic, a little excitement,” Simon admitted. “It’s kind of cool. At the end of the day, not a lot of guys can say they stepped behind an NHL bench.
“For me, whether that was one game or turns into a thousand games over the course of my life, it was a great experience and to do it for Detroit was pretty cool.”