Blashill will be confirmed as coach . . . twice
Late last week, Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was reluctant to discuss the possibility that he might coach Team USA in the upcoming world championship.
“We’ll see after the year on that,” was all Blashill would say.
Monday, the same thing happened to Blashill that figures to happen to him on Tuesday - he was confirmed as coach of a team. USA Hockey announced that Blashill would be head coach and Red Wings video coordinator Adam Nightingale would also be on the team’s staff at the worlds.
Team USA finished fifth under Blashill’s direction at the 2017 worlds.
“We're excited to have Jeff back leading our team,” said Bill Zito, general manager of the 2018 U.S. Men's National Team and member of USA Hockey's International Council. “He did an excellent job last year and I know he's looking forward to building on that.”
Tuesday, when the Wings gather for the team photo and locker clean out day, expect that the club will announce that Blashill is returning to finish out the fourth season of the contract he signed to coach Detroit in 2015.
Blashill won’t be the only Wing in Denmark for the worlds from May 4-20. Right-winger Martin Frk confirmed that he would play for the Czech Republic.
“Fish (Detroit development coach Jiri Fischer) talked to me and I said I would love to play more hockey, so I told him I want to go,” Frk said. “I definitely want to play for Czechs. It’s always a pleasure.
“I just want to play more hockey. Being on the fourth line, I didn’t get as much minutes, so I just want to go there and play more. It’s always good. My family can come watch me because they were not here the whole year, so hopefully they can come there and watch me play, because for them that’s a long time they didn’t see me play. Also, I want to play against the best and try to win it.”
Dylan Larkin has played for Team USA in the past two world championships and would love to complete a natural hat-trick. There’s only one obstacle to his plan.
“I don’t have a contract (for next season), so I’d have to have a pretty good insurance setup and it could be expensive,” Larkin explained. “I have to work out a deal with USA Hockey. Hopefully we can make it happen. I’m expecting we will.”
Larkin is a big fan of international hockey.
“I think it started from the NTDP, proud to be American and a chance to get to wear the crest and represent your country means a lot,” Larkin said. “Any chance I can get, I always want to.”
“I do enjoy that tournament,” Larkin said of the worlds. “It’s a fun tournament. It’s a time where it is about winning, but it’s also about enjoying the game, meeting the guys, bonding in a short period of time. I enjoy that part of it and traveling to different countries and playing hockey.
“I love playing on the big ice. You have the puck a ton, make a lot of plays. Hopefully we have a good team and can get a chance to win it.”
Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser also played in the 2017 worlds and would consider a return trip if invited.
“I enjoy playing in it,” DeKeyser said. “If they call me, I’d have to think about it and see where I’m at.”
The Wings sit with the fifth-best chance to landing the No. 1 overall pick when the NHL entry draft lottery positions are chosen on April 28.
Detroit has an 8.5 percent chance of being the last team left in the selection process, and therefore the owner of the top pick. The most anticipated landing spot for the Wings based on the math is sixth overall (34.5 percent).
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