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Q&A with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, who's itching to get going again

By Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News on

Published in Hockey

DETROIT — Jeff Blashill, like any hockey fan at this point of November, is ready for the sport to begin.

It's definitely feeling like hockey weather again, and the Red Wings' head coach has been excited in recent days with news nuggets flowing that the NHL could be ready to announce a plan for next season.

"We are absolutely itching to get back at it," said Blashill, noting the Wings haven't played or practiced since March 12, when the NHL paused its regular season because of the coronavirus.

The NHL successfully returned to play in the summer, bringing back the top 24 teams. But the Wings — who had the NHL's worst record — were one of seven teams not brought back, so it's been a long, long time without hockey.

 

"We certainly want to get back," said Blashill, in a lengthy, wide-ranging interview with The Detroit News. "The NHL did an excellent job in their Return To Play and were in patient in making decisions when they had to the right information and I'm sure they will again this time."

Blashill touched on a number of subjects with The News, including the Wings' productive offseason, adding numerous unrestricted free agents who appear to have improved the depth and quality of the roster. Blashill talked about the futures of young prospects Filip Zadina, Mortiz Seider and Lucas Raymond — all recent first-round draft picks — as well as the expectations of this season.

Here's an edited (for clarity) version of the conversation: