Derek Lalonde sounds off prior to 1st Red Wings camp

The new Red Wings coach begins his 1st Detroit training camp

Red Wings Feed

The Derek Lalonde era in Hockeytown is officially upon us, as the former Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach was named the 28th bench boss in Red Wings history earlier this summer. He arrives in the Motor City as part of several key offseason acquisitions of the Red Wings, including the likes of Andrew Copp, David Perron, Ville Husso, Dominik Kubalik, Ben Chiarot, and others. 

Having replaced former head coach Jeff Blashill as head coach, this year's edition of Training Camp will be Lalonde's 1st as an NHL head coach. And while he's looking forward to it, he's also understandably feeling some butterflies. 

"Anxious is probably the better word for it," he said. "I probably went over our first couple days too many times. Now it’s just going out there and translating it and working on it."

Lalonde, along with new assistant coach Bob Bougher, will be taken with helping Detroit improve their defensive numbers that saw them finish dead last in goals against of all 32 NHL teams. And needless to say, their play away from the puck will be at the forefront of camp. 

"In today’s day and age, with being able to do so much virtually, I think we got well out in front of this," Lalonde said. "Even probably a month ago, talking with Steve, I thought we were a little further ahead of where I expected. We did a once-a-week Zoom with staff, and then we got together 10 days prior to camp. We’re in a good spot. Hopefully it translates to a good start of camp. We’ll have emphasis of team defense. a lot of the first couple days you’ll see will be play without the puck and improving in some of those areas that we struggled last year. We were one of the worst teams in any defensive category last year, so that’s a good starting point. A lot of that is team effort, everybody on the ice pulling the same way. Keep the puck out of your net. A lot of camp early on will be our play away from the puck. 

"Special teams will be a big part of it. We’ll introduce that Day 3 or 4, leading into our Red and White Game and having those types of repetitions before exhibition."