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Northern Michigan’s Coreau heads to Detroit to join Red Wings
April 8, 2013 - Matt Wellens
MARQUETTE — The now former Northern Michigan University goaltender Jared Coreau will join the Detroit Red Wings today, flying out of Marquette to Detroit.
Coreau will be with the Wings for the franchise’s final nine games of the regular season, but it’s questionable at best that he sees anytime in net over Jimmy Howard or Jonas Gustavsson.
After Sunday’s 1-0 loss at home to the St. Louis Blues, the Red Wings now hold down the eighth and final playoff spot — one point back of the No. 7 Blues and three points up on the No. 9 Phoenix Coyotes.
Coreau’s best chance at making his first professional start will come in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins — Detroit’s AHL affiliate. Coreau will be sent down either after the regular season or after the Red Wings are eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
I had a chance to catch up with Coreau last week before he left Marquette for an article on MiningJournal.net, but here’s some extra notes on Coreau concerning his future and how he wound up in Detroit.
Based on my conversation with Coreau, the final four franchises it came down to were Detroit, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary, in that order.
Coreau attended camps last summer in both Calgary and Edmonton. His knock against Calgary was the amount of solid young goaltenders already in their system. As for Edmonton, he had this to say:
“A great organization, we just really couldn’t come to terms on some things,” Coreau said.
Coreau said Winnipeg and Detroit were both very similar, but the proximity of the Red Wings AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids to the Jets’ AHL team in St. John’s, Newfoundland, tipped the scales.
“The big thing for me is the opportunity,” Coreau said. “Winnipeg and Detroit, the situations were identical. They both have an NHL starter — Jimmy Howard and Ondrej Pavelec — and they both have a backup goalie in the NHL that will be there for a year and then want to go and start somewhere. In the A, there is both a starter and a backup.
“Winnipeg for example, they’re two plane rides. It’s still a great organization. That was a big thing. Staying in Michigan is pretty nice too.”
NMU head coach Walt Kyle pushed Coreau toward the Wings organization, according to Coreau, and the Griffins’ head coach Jeff Blashill may have been a reason why.
“I’m really excited about (Blashill) being my new coach and Walt said a lot of great things about him,” Coreau said. “They are really high on him in Detroit.”
Blashill, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., played four years in goal for Ferris State, then became an assistant under Bob Daniels for three seasons. He was an assistant at Miami from 2002-2008, as well.
Blashill’s first head coaching job was with the Indiana Ice of the USHL, where he won the Clark Cup (playoff title) in his first season. He left after his second season to become the head coach at Western Michigan, where he led the Broncos to their best season in 15 years — a top four CCHA finish, a berth in the CCHA title game and an NCAA tournament bid.
Blashill joined the Red Wings organization in July of 2011 — after just one season at WMU — as an assistant under head coach Mike Babcock and was named the head coach of the Griffins nearly a year later.
“Blashill used to be a goalie, which really caught my eye,” Coreau said. “I guess when someone lets in a bad goal, he understands. He’s been there. Every goalie has. I’m not asking for sympathy, but he gives his goalies a chance. He’s a winning coach. He’s proven that. He did it when I was in the USHL in Indiana. He went to Western, they were a losing team before and now they’re a top 10 team in the country every year and he only spent one year there.”
Coreau had to withdraw from his classes at NMU because of the potential for a deep playoff run either with the Red Wings or Griffins.
Coreau, an accounting major, said it wasn’t his professors that got in the way, but government rules surrounding certain accounting classes that cannot be taken online.
He still plans to get a college degree, but will be switching his major to marketing and transferring to Grand Valley State, which is just outside Grand Rapids.
“I know there are a few sour people about that,” Coreau said about going to GLIAC-rival GVSU.
Coreau said he hopes to graduate in a year and a half.
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Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. (Journal photo by Matt Wellens)