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Lalonde: Success at NHL Level About the Process

Derek Lalonde was introduced today as the 28th head coach in the history of the Detroit Red Wings. Lalonde said he was excited about the opportunity to get his first chance as a head coach of an NHL team. This coaching search came together about a week after the Tampa Bay Lightning lost in 6 games to the Colorado Avalanche.

General Manager and Vice President Steve Yzerman said that he expects the Red Wings to improve in every area of the game under Lalonde. Yzerman hired Lalonde in Tampa Bay as part of Jon Cooper’s coaching staff. The Lightning were in "win now" mode as they had expectations to win a Stanley Cup. The expectations for the Red Wings are not in the same mode, but Moritz Seider said that the team is hungry to get back to the playoffs.

Governor, President, and CEO of the Red Wings Chris Illitch said that he was not part of the search to find the next head coach of the Red Wings. He felt comfortable with the job that Yzerman is doing in rebuilding the roster. Yzerman has now been the general manager of the Red Wings for three seasons. Illitch was reticent to make moves that may excel the rebuild of the Red Wings.

Winning is about the process and doing things the right way

Lalonde talked about the process of winning games as a team. If the team does the things it takes to win at the NHL level, then winning will follow. In order to do this Lalonde wants to make sure that he has a good relationship with his players. It is about the process. When asked what his why was, Lalonde said that he was passionate about winning. This is something that Yzerman echoed. "There is value in that experience," he said when discussing Lalonde’s past success as head coach.

The 49-year-old has had success at every level that he has coached. He commented that there was a "challenge roster-wise" when he was the coach of the Iowa Wild. The same can be said for the Red Wings. However, the young corps of Seider, Lucas Raymond, and captain Dylan Larkin are in place. There is talent in the Red Wings minor league system that could join the Red Wings in the near future. It will be interesting to see how Seider follows up his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season under Lalonde.

One interesting thing about the Lalonde hiring is that he has experience coaching against the Red Wings. The Lightning are in the same division as the Red Wings. Lalonde said that he noticed the young talent on the Red Wings’ roster. On some nights he said that he thought that coaching against the Red Wings was difficult. The key is becoming more consistent under Lalonde. This is where the process of doing things right day in and day out comes into play.

This was something that Yzerman thought was not the case during the second half of the 2021-22 season under then-head coach Jeff Blashill. The Red Wings held a playoff position before their slide during a difficult stretch during the past season. This was in part due to the emergence of the young corps of the Red Wings.

The head coach of the Lightning, Cooper said that Lalonde was over-ripe when it comes to whether or not he was ready to coach at the NHL level. This echoes the feelings of former general manager of the Red Wings Ken Holland when it came to bringing prospects up to the NHL level. He also said that he expects his players to compete night in and night out. Lalonde said that he was focused on helping the Lightning win their third straight Stanley Cup when asked if he was focused on what his future held during the Stanley Cup Finals.

The next piece of business for the Yzerman and the Red Wings is the draft. The team will have the 8th pick in the first round of the 2022 NHL draft on July 7th.

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