Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Detroit Red Wings assistant Tony Granato eager to get started with 'great lineup'

Tony Granato
The Detroit Red Wings, prone to injury last season, and first-round playoff losers to Boston, are still capable of being a force in the NHL post-season.
That’s the take from Tony Granato, the latest addition to coach Mike Babcock’s staff.
“Absolutely,” Granato said Tuesday when asked if the Red Wings can make a deep playoff run.
“I think it’s a great lineup, and I think it’s a lineup that can win,” Granato added. “The Detroit Red Wings play a system and brand of hockey … that’s tough to play against every night.
“They know how to develop players. They know how to win.”
Granato, who was drafted by the New York Rangers, and also played for the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, has seen the Red Wings from the outside looking in during an NHL career that included stints as an assistant coach and head coach.
Most recently an assistant at Pittsburgh, the 49-year-old Granato signed a one-year contract with an option year in Detroit. He’s tentatively slated to work with the Wings’ defense and penalty-killing team.
And he’s eager to get started.
“I’m really looking forward to being a part of it and seeing what makes the Red Wings tick,” Granato said.
“It’s great to finally be part of (the franchise) and I’m looking forward to helping, and being part of something special.”
Granato, who interviewed with other teams, said he couldn’t ignore the lure of working for an organization run by owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Ken Holland.
“I looked at the team, I looked at the staff, I looked at the management team led by Kenny and ownership,” he said. “This is a premier organization, and I wanted to be part of it.
“I’m lucky it became available when it did and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
Granato filled the vacancy created when Bill Peters left the Wings last month to become head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Babcock has another opening to fill following the departure Monday of Tom Renney, who was named president of Hockey Canada.
Granato’s role on the staff might change depending on Babcock’s next hire, Granato said.
“I think I can relate to the players well,” said Granato, who added that he wants to “be a complement and do whatever Mike needs of me.”
Last season, Red Wings veterans Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk missed 37 games apiece due to injuries. Darren Helm missed 40, and Johan Franzen 28.
Those absences from the lineup paved the way for playing time for younger players who contributed as Detroit went 39-28-15 and extended its streak of consecutive seasons in the playoffs to 22.
“There’s no franchise that can match the consistent success that the Wings have had,” Granato said. “They always find a way.”
“I just started watching video on (the younger players). I’ll continue to do my homework over the summer to get to know them a little bit better.
“But I do know there are some exciting prospects that have some great potential to play more significant roles as we move forward.”
Granato scored 248 goals in a 773-game NHL career that ended in 2001.
He had two stints as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche.
While coaching the Avalanche in 2008, Granato went face-to-face with Babcock as they argued following a Colorado player’s hit on Wings defenseman Nick Lidstrom.
Several friends sent Granato a photo of the confrontation after he was hired by Babcock.

“I think it shows the competitiveness that we have,” Granato said. “I think we were both defending our players and, yes, it’s a funny thing right now. It’s one of my favorite pictures of me on the bench.”



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home