The Vegas Golden Knights shocked fans and pundits on Wednesday when they fired Gerard Gallant and replaced him with Peter DeBoer after four straight losses.
You can imagine the reaction in Detroit, where head coach Jeff Blashill has been piling up the losses. Fans have been asking for a coaching change for many seasons now, but Blashill maintains his position.
He sent out a note to Gallant, GM Steve Yzerman’s best man at his wedding as he knows the business side of hockey can be cruel.
“Most of the guys that have been fired are people that I know well and some are more friendly than others,” Blashill said Thursday to the Detroit Free Press. “They’re good coaches. Gerard is a good coach. Pete DeBoer is a good coach. They’re guys that I respect a lot and I just send out a note.
“I think it’s a bit crazy in the league right now, but that’s the way it is right now.”
While fans would love to see Blashill get the boot, star player Dylan Larkin made a point to defend his head coach on Thursday, questioning the idea of firing a bench boss when the responsibility falls on players. He went all out to back up his head coach, the only one he’s had since he entered the league.
“Most nights we show up and we work really hard,” Larkin said. “Work ethic has never been the problem. He’s done a good job preparing us for that.
“I think anyone in this locker room would be crazy not to tell you that we have to do a better job and that’s the players. Unfortunately in this league, the coaches seem to be replaced first before the players, when mostly it’s on the play of the players. We need to be better as everyone in this locker room and the players know that. The coaches are trying to help us be better players and evolve our game.”
“We’ve grown together in this league and I have a lot of respect for him,” Larkin added. “He’s a great guy, a great dad, great coach. Well respected in the room.”
We don’t know if that will influence Yzerman’s decision moving forward or if fans will drop the pressure on Blashill…
Or maybe they will expect more from Larkin...