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09.08.2018 08:53
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The Detroit Red Wings are bringing coach Jeff Blashill for a fourth season , sticking with him while they rebuild after missing the postseason for the second year in a row.

”I’m big on experience,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said after announcing the decision on Tuesday.

Detroit extended its postseason streak to 25 years in 2016 during Blashill’s debut season as an NHL coach. The Red Wings have fallen short since then and are 104-105-37 in three seasons under Blashill, who won one playoff game two years ago. Holland, who has been Detroit’s GM since 1997 and recently agreed to a two-year contract extension, decided to stay with Blashill as the Red Wings look for the right mix of youth and experience to get back in the mix in the Eastern Conference.

”I’m certainly glad to still be the coach of the Detroit Red Wings. It’s a job I love ,” Blashill said. ”I’m excited about moving this franchise … where everybody wants it.”

The Detroit native will coach the U.S. team at the IIHF World Hockey Championship – for the second straight year – next month in Denmark.

The Red Wings hired Blashill in 2015 after Mike Babcock’s contract expired and the Toronto Maple Leafs gave him a $50 million, eight-year contract. Blashill was on Babcock’s bench in Detroit as an assistant during the 2011-12 season. He went on to coach the Grand Rapids Griffins, leading the Red Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate for three successful seasons. Blashill also led Western Michigan University for one season, helping the Broncos reach the CCHA championship game for the first time since 1986.

”He’s gotten better,” Detroit center Dylan Larkin said. ”That sounds different to say about a coach. He has become more mature. … He has a good grasp of the room.”

More NHL hockey:

CHICAGO — The Winnipeg Jets will go for their seventh win in a row when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night at the United Center.

Winnipeg (47-19-10) has piled up 104 points in 76 games Kyle Lauletta Color Rush Jersey , which already marks the most successful season since the franchise moved north from Atlanta before the start of the 2011-12 campaign. The Jets have clinched a playoff spot and secured home-ice advantage in the first round as they pursue the first Stanley Cup title in the city’s history.

“We’re trying to get ready for the playoffs, trying to get our game so we’re playing our best hockey at the end of the year,” Jets right winger Blake Wheeler said to the team’s official website.

The team’s six-game winning streak has included plenty of drama. Winnipeg has won each of its past four games either in overtime or in the shootout round. The latest was a 5-4 shootout win over the Boston Bruins.

Meanwhile, Chicago (31-36-10) has known for more than a week that it will not reach the playoffs. The Blackhawks shifted much of their focus toward younger players with an eye toward potential contributors next season.

The latest arrivals include forward Dylan Sikura, who is expected to make his NHL debut Thursday. The 22-year-old recently wrapped up a stellar career at Northeastern University and signed a contract through the end of next season.

“There’s no bad players at this level ,” Sikura said to the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’ll be a little adjustment with the time and space with the puck out there, but I’m excited to get going.”

Defenseman Blake Hillman, also 22, is expected to make his NHL debut either Thursday against the Jets or Friday against the Colorado Avalanche. Hillman signed with the Blackhawks after playing at the University of Denver.

Goaltender Colin Delea also is awaiting his debut, which likely will arrive Friday against the Avalanche.

As Delea watches behind the bench Dontae Johnson Color Rush Jersey , Blackhawks goaltender Anton Forsberg will make his third straight start. Forsberg is 10-16-4 with a 2.97 goals-against average and .908 save percentage this season. He allowed three goals on six shots in his only career appearance against the Jets.

Winnipeg will counter with either Connor Hellebuyck or Eric Comrie in net.

Hellebuyck boasts a remarkable record of 40-11-9 to go with a 2.38 GAA and a .923 save percentage. He is 5-4-0 with a 2.14 GAA and .932 save percentage in nine career games against Chicago.

If Hellebuyck rests, look for Comrie to make his third start of the season and fourth of his career. The 22-year-old is 1-1-0 with a 3.00 GAA and .885 save percentage this season. He never has faced the Blackhawks.

Both teams have five skaters with at least 20 goals.

Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat lead Chicago with 26 goals apiece. Meanwhile, Nick Schmaltz (49 points) and DeBrincat (48 points) are looking to reach the 50-point milestone for the first time in their careers.

For the Jets, Patrik Laine leads the way with 43 goals. He is second only to Washington’s Alex Ovechkin for most in the NHL.

Wheeler ranks in the NHL’s top 10 with 86 points (20 goals, 66 assists) in 76 games. He has at least one point in each of his past seven games and eight of his past nine.

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