May 19, 2024

Part 1 of why I believe head coach Derek Lalonde could be fired this season.

Typically, if a head coach is not returning for the next season, they are not invited to a media availability.

This news did not surprise me; yet, it was a small disappointment for a variety of reasons, which I shall discuss shortly. Before we get into my constructive criticism of Lalonde, I wanted to discuss Steve Yzerman’s media availability.

Yzerman can be caustic in his media appearances, which is a refreshing change from the dull, typical press conferences. He has personality, and he lets it shine at times. Whether he’s talking about performing yoga before draft prospect interviews with his camera turned off or teasing Art Regner (all in good fun), Yzerman never fails to excite his followers.

This media availability was rather different from past ones with the Detroit Red Wings. His feistiness was heightened, particularly when disparaging the coaching staff.

While Lalonde is not stripped of his duties, Yzerman did not appear pleased with his team’s performance in a specific capacity.

Here’s one of the things Lalonde needs to improve, otherwise he might feel his seat’s temperature rise.

Red Wings' Derek Lalonde gives sobering admission after Canucks win

 

Yzerman addressed the basic foundations of defending. I’m not sure if there’s a larger affront to a coach than criticizing their team’s foundation. However, I completely agree with Yzerman’s judgment.

More importantly, it would be one thing if the Detroit Red Wings iced a few youngsters this season for extended periods of time.

Rookies and younger athletes may struggle with technicalities. Sometimes it’s the initial adjustment, how the young player reacts to teams adapting to them, or they’ve moved to a higher level of competition (such as shifting from the third to the second line). It could even be a new role given to a specialty unit (power play or penalty kill), which they are unfamiliar with and will undoubtedly make blunders.

However, the Detroit Red Wings defeated an older club. At 28.4, they were roughly in the middle of the average age of NHL teams’ opening night lineups in 2023-24. With veterans who have not only competed in the NHL playoffs but have won Stanley Cups, I’m not sure how the lack of fundamentals happened so frequently.

The average age did not change significantly throughout the season. Aside from Simon Edvinsson, who played frequently to finish the season, there were no regular rookies or even sophomores in the lineup for an extended period of time.

Veteran players struggled with simple tasks such as corralling bouncing pucks and understanding their systems well enough to keep the puck out of their own net. Countless times, players were out of position, following the wrong body, or simply standing there doing nothing.

It could be a testimonial to the system itself or the coaching staff’s ability to successfully communicate the system. Regardless of the explanation, athletes must enhance their complete game, especially fundamentals in the defensive zone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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