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Holland and Blashill will remain in their roles

Captain Henrik Zetterberg said it is up to the players to improve

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - There will be changes for the Red Wings this offseason but that won't be with the general manager or head coach.

Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill will both return in their same roles next season.

"We have 100 percent confidence in Ken Holland," said Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings. "He's an excellent general manager and executive vice president and we've got a lot of confidence in him in the future."

Holland has one more season remaining on his current contract while Blashill has two more seasons left on his.

"Obviously it was a tough year," Holland said. "I think in watching the team the last four, five or six weeks, when we were way behind, I thought the team played hard right to the finish line. The power play improved dramatically since the middle of February so my thoughts are right now that Jeff should come back."

Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg believes that the onus is on the players to improve.

"He's doing well," Zetterberg said. "If you ask him, he'd probably say it's been a challenge to come in and take over. It's been a lot of young players that he's been coaching. I think he's been doing a good job. Obviously the result is not what he wanted but as I said, we have it in here, we just got to get better together and it will be a better outcome."

Veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard said he had a good relationship with Blashill.

"There's a good line of communication," Howard said. "They have been tough years for all of us actually. It's one of those things where we've got to figure it out from within. It's gotta come within this dressing room. We've all got to push ourselves that much harder during the offseason."

Watching the 25-year playoff streak end has been difficult for everyone.

"That burning, competitive desire runs deep in the Ilitch organization and amongst us and the Detroit Red Wings," Ilitch said. "I know Ken Holland has that same passion to win, build a championship team again here in Detroit. I know our players have that passion. We certainly have it as an ownership group. Frankly, I think we're all disappointed in this season. From an ownership perspective, I know Ken Holland is disappointed, I know our coaching staff is disappointed and I know our players are disappointed."

Holland knows that there is an entire generation of people who have never seen the Wings miss the playoffs.

"We have the best fans in the world," Holland said. "They're passionate. They're incredible. They're not only in Detroit they're all over the United States. They want to see us in the playoffs. Starting tomorrow night is the most fun and exciting time of the year and we're not involved and it's incredibly disappointing.

"We're looking to improve the team. Part of the improvement of the team has to be done internally. I think that we have a number of players in that room that have more to give. And over the next week or two as I'm meeting the players, as I'm meeting with Jeff Blashill and having organizational meetings, we have to figure out which of the players are part of the solution and where we need to upgrade."

As for Blashill's assistants, John Torchetti, Doug Houda, Pat Ferschweiler, Dave Noel-Bernier and Jeff Salajko, nothing has been decided yet.

"Certainly my staff worked extraordinarily hard from the time we were together in summer into camp and into the season to do the very best coaching job we all could as a group," Blashill said. "None of us like the result, but it certainly isn't from a lack of work or a lack of competence on the point of my staff at all. As I stand here today, I haven't even had discussions with any of my assistants. My plan is certainly for the group to be back and as we move forward, I don't know any other opportunities when you're an assistant, sometimes opportunities come up, like Tony Granato last year and people move on. We'll look at all that as we move through the next month."

Ilitch said he believes the future looks good for the Wings because of the talented young players they have.

"I think when you look at players like (Dylan) Larkin and (Anthony) Mantha and (Andreas) Athanasiou, and (Evgeny) Svechnikov and (Tyler) Bertuzzi and (Tomas) Nosek and (Matt) Lorito, some of these guys that got a little bit of a debut this year, I think the future is bright," Ilitch said. "We have a team in Grand Rapids playing very well, is accomplishing good things, I think that bodes well for our future, the Red Wings future.

"But make no mistake, our goal is very clear. It is to build another Stanley Cup champion. That's the process that we're going through right now."

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