Steve Yzerman discusses decision to let go of Jeff Blashill: it came down to defense

Steve Yzerman end of season press conference on May 2, 2022
Posted at 7:21 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 19:22:15-04

DETROIT — Steve Yzerman said Jeff Blashill had a tough job, coaching the Red Wings during a rebuild.

"This wasn't a complete sh*t show," Yzerman said on Monday.

But after three years together, a lack of progress on defense sealed Blashill's fate.

"Ultimately to make that decision, I felt our team fundamentally, that we kind of... I don't even know if plateaued is the right word. But we had gotten to a point where fundamentally, with and without the puck, we had regressed," Yzerman added.

On Saturday, the Red Wings made public the news Blashill would not return after seven years as Detroit's head coach.

"We're at a point now where I felt like I've got to see if bringing in a new coach and coaching staff can make a difference to get us back and get us going in the right direction," Yzerman said.

Yzerman said he does not regret extending Jeff Blashill before the season. He said he actually reflected recently on the decision, and he's comfortable looking back on his reasons to do it.

"Jeff Blashill is a good hockey coach. He ran a really good program," he said, complimenting the longtime coach. "Under the circumstance where I'm trying to rebuild this team, I say this sincerely: Jeff did an outstanding job leading this team, this organization, in a very, very difficult circumstance."