This is a shocking story, and frankly if true one has to seriously consider whether or not head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings is fit for his position if this happened on his watch.
Roughly two weeks ago Sportsnet's Greg Brady asked a strange question on social media, one that wondered out loud if rookie head coach Blaashill was "going to far to placate two team leaders who want their countrymen to play over more talented guys?"
Red Wings fans won't have to look far for an example either, many have been extremely vocal when it comes to the play of Jonathan Ericsson, and that was one of the names dropped by Brady when speculating about the problems in the wings locker room.
"Zetterberg and Kronwall run that Detroit Red Wings room," said Brady. "Most vocal guys there by a mile. So Ericsson over Smith and now Joakim Andersson over Anthony Mantha... guess why."
There are two absolutely insane accusations here, the first being that Zetterberg and Kronwall were overruling Blashill when it comes to who he put out on the ice, and the second that they were doing so because of some form of nationalism in the Wings locker room.
On Friday, Jeff Moss of Detroit Sports Rag, revealed his belief that Brady's comments were spot on on, and he went a step further and flat out accused the Red Wings captain of interfering with his head coach.
Over the last couple weeks it became abundantly obvious through our reporting that the “Swedish Mafia” led by Zetterberg has not only played a part in lineup decisions but the team’s captain made it clear to his teammates that it was HIS voice that should be listened to and NOT Blashill’s.
Henrik Zetterberg would completely contradict direct instructions given to his teammates by Blashill. To the point that the coach would have a meeting with the players, give them specific directions on how things would go down for the next game or period and the door would close behind Blashill and Zetterberg would say something to the effect of ….
‘OK, now that he is gone … this is what we are really going to do.”
These are serious accusations, but given that they come from two completely distinct sources, and given that the reports are so far apart, it certainly seems there is a great deal of smoke here, and where there is smoke you will often find fire. According to Moss, the decisions from the Red Wings surrounding the play of Ericsson in the playoffs is the most damning evidence in this story.
There is no logical reason on God’s green earth that Ericsson would have been in the lineup instead of Smith this season. Not metrics. Not the eye-test. NOTHING.
Something tells me we have not heard the last of this.