New Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde knows job is 'a huge responsibility'

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Derek Lalonde has had a whirlwind week: From the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Sunday to a phone call from his new boss Monday, flying to Detroit Tuesday, flying back to Tampa Bay, then back to Detroit to be introduced Friday as the new coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

It's not letting up any time soon. Lalonde's immediate task in his new role is to get his living arrangements sorted and then head to Montreal to be a part of the Wings' table at the July 7-8 draft.

WHAT IT BACK: Derek Lalonde's Red Wings news conference: Watch replay

Lalonde, 49, comes to the Wings after four years as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"It's a huge responsibility and I'm very excited for the challenge going forward," Lalonde said.

Left to right: Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch, new Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde and general manager Steve Yzerman at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Friday, July 1, 2022.
Left to right: Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch, new Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde and general manager Steve Yzerman at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Friday, July 1, 2022.

Lalonde plans to meet, either in person or virtually, with Wings player as soon as possible. He inherits assistant coach Alex Tanguay from Jeff Blashill's regime, but will need a new assistant for the defense and penalty kill, and a new goaltending coach.

Yzerman said ultimately Lalonde made the most sense to take the Wings into the next step in the rebuild.

"At the end of April, when we made our coaching change, some of the things I talked about what I was looking for in a coach, Derek obviously fits perfectly in line," Yzerman said. "His experience, his background as a coach, his style of coaching, his personality, his way with people. Over time, you are going to really appreciate the way Derek runs his staff, his people, and runs his program.

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"We spent a lot of time looking at coaches of all leagues, all different backgrounds, all levels of experience, and ultimately it came down to the decision that Derek fit really all the areas I felt were important for this organization and this team, where we are today and where we are going in the near and far future. We look forward to getting to work here immediately."

Yzerman and Chris Ilitch talked for hours over the past nine weeks about the situation. It's the first time Yzerman has hired a head coach since he was named GM in April 2019.

"Steve Yzerman and his staff have done a tremendous job over the last several month," Ilitch said. "It was a very, very thorough search process. In the end, Derek really stood out as the right coach to have behind the bench for the Detroit Red Wings. He’s got a wealth of hockey knowledge. He’s been extremely successful  at all levels, including in the NHL with the two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning."

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Derek Lalonde: 'A huge responsibility' to coach Detroit Red Wings