(Reuters) - The Detroit Red Wings appointed Jeff Blashill as the club’s head coach on Tuesday to replace Mike Babcock, as had been widely expected.
Babcock departed last month after 10 seasons in Detroit to become the head coach of the Maple Leafs, lured to Toronto on an eight-year contract worth $50 million that made him the National Hockey League’s highest-paid coach.
Blashill, 41, agreed to a four-year contract with Detroit where he becomes the second youngest coach in the NHL behind John Hynes, 40, who was hired by the New Jersey Devils last week.
The Red Wings have made the playoffs for 24 seasons in a row, the longest current streak among professional teams in North American sport. They were eliminated in seven games by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round this season.
”The pressure for me, it’s a year-to-year thing,“ Blashill told reporters when asked about the streak. ”The pressure that you put on yourself as an organization is bigger than you can face on the outside.
“We don’t worry on what will happen if you don’t do it. We focus on what it will take to do it.”
Blashill was an assistant under Babcock in Detroit in 2011-12 before he agreed to coach the Red Wings AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.
In three seasons with Grand Rapids, Blashill guided the team into the playoffs and won the 2012-13 Calder Cup championship.
Several players on Detroit’s current roster, including Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, played under Blashill in Grand Rapids.
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes