June 15, 2024

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman initially praised head coach Derek Lalonde and his staff. However, his tone shifted suddenly.

Is Yzerman satisfied with his coaching staff’s work?

Yes and no.

Yzerman’s overall message appears to be that while there are positive aspects and improvements, the bottom line is still not satisfactory.

“It was a roller coaster of a year in terms of wins and losses,” Yzerman said. “We had good stretches, then couldn’t win a game. We were trying to figure it out.”

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Although Yzerman didn’t find the team’s inconsistent performance enjoyable, he did commend his coaching staff for keeping the team motivated.

“I believe we competed hard,” Yzerman remarked. “There was a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and determination among the players.

“Certainly, we weren’t flawless. But what matters most to me is that our players are motivated, they’re determined. There’s a positive atmosphere within the locker room.

“The coaching staff plays a part in fostering that. Overall, I’m satisfied with the direction we’re heading in and with the coaching we have.”

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Yzerman Comes To Red Wings Defense With Growing Concern

When the conversation shifted to the club’s defensive abilities, Yzerman’s expression soured.

“Ultimately, we need to become a better defensive hockey team,” Yzerman stated. “We have to enhance our performance in that aspect.

“It’s about the fundamentals of defense. I rely on our coaching staff to work with our players, and for our players to be committed to improving. It’s not just about the system; it’s the basic fundamentals of defense that we struggled with at times this year, and we need to address that.”

Despite Detroit managing to reduce the club’s total goals against from 275 to 273, in the broader context, the Red Wings’ defensive performance slipped from 22nd to 24th in the league. They ranked 27th in the NHL in 5-on-5 goals against, allowing 189 goals, which was an increase from the 183 allowed in the previous season.

“It’s crucial for our coaching staff to instill improvement, whether it involves adjusting the system or enhancing how we play and developing our players within the system,” Yzerman assessed of the ongoing defensive issues. “It’s about relentless practice and getting it right.”

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