Report: Wings extend Blashill’s contract for two years
The Red Wings and coach Jeff Blashill have agreed to terms on an extension that could be announced as soon as Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The report says the deal is for two years, which comes from “a person with knowledge of the situation.”
Despite the fact that Detroit will miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season, the organization likes the way the team has continued to play hard for Blashill, despite a lack of overall talent and injuries.
Friday night’s 4-0 win over New Jersey at Little Caesars Arena was the Wings’ fourth straight win and sixth in their past seven games.
“You don’t want to give up,” Dylan Larkin said after Friday night’s game. “It’d be a drag for the last 3-4 weeks of the season if you’re just throwing your sticks out there and you don’t care.”
The organization also likes the way the talented young players are developing under Blashill.
Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou have both reached 30 goals this season, and Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi have also improved their games and each has 19 goals. Rookie defenseman Filip Hronek has also been impressive in his third stint in Detroit this season.
Blashill is also expected to be the U.S. coach for the World Championship team for the third straight year. He led Team USA to a bronze medal last season. This year’s tournament is in May.
Kronwall is Wings’ Masterton candidate
Veteran defenseman Niklas Kronwall is Detroit’s candidate for the Masterton Trophy, which goes to the player who best demonstrates perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication each season.
Despite being 38 and having creaky knees, Kronwall has played in all but three games this season and is playing his best hockey in five seasons. He has three goals and 23 points in 73 games.
Four other Masterton candidates around the NHL have either Red Wing or area ties.
Former Red Wing Patrick Eaves is the Anaheim Ducks’ candidate and Brendan Smith, another former Wing, is the New York Rangers’ candidate.
Port Huron native goaltender Jack Campbell is the Los Angeles Kings’ candidate and former Little Caesars AAA player Rocco Grimaldi was nominated by the Nashville Predators.
Quinn Hughes makes NHL debut
Defenseman Quinn Hughes was impressive in his NHL debut with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
He got his first point, an assist, and was even with two shots in 15:36 in Vancouver’s 3-2 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings.
"He's got special talent, that's for sure," Canucks coach Travis Green said of Hughes on NHL.com. "It doesn't look like he lacks confidence, which you want in your guys that are skilled. You want them to make plays, and he made a few tonight that obviously are very exciting."
The way Hughes got his first point was an example.
He banked the puck to himself off the back of the net to get past a Kings defender, skated out to the right circle and took a shot that hit the goal post. The rebound was put in by Brock Boeser.
"I want to play my best hockey here and produce and do what I can to pitch in, so it's nice to do that," said Hughes, who signed a three-year entry-level contract on March 10 after his sophomore season at Michigan.
Hughes was taken seventh overall by Vancouver in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Farmington Hills’ DeBrincat sets Blackhawks mark
Farmington Hills native Eric DeBrincat’s 68 goals are the most ever by a Chicago Blackhawks player in his first two seasons.
When he scored his 40th goal of the season on Thursday night in Chicago’s 5-4 road win over the San Jose Sharks, he became the second-youngest Blackhawk to reach 40 goals. He was 21 years and 100 days old. Jeremy Roenick was 35 days younger when he reached 40 goals in 1991.
“When you get to see him every night, you realize the skill set he has is pretty special,” Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton told the Chicago Tribune. “That release (is) unbelievable, and when he does release it, he puts it in a good spot. But to have 40 goals in his second season is tremendous.”