It has been 30 years since the head coach of the Red Wings faced challenges like those confronting Jeff Blashill.

The roster is still thin, recovering from the retirements of most of the players who won Stanley Cups while Henrik Zetterberg, 37, leads them, including in time on ice among the forwards in many games.

In 1985-86, when Harry Neale and then Brad Park succeeded Nick Polano as head coach before handing the bench boss job off to Jacques Demers the following season, the franchise hit its nadir. The Wings had their all-time worst season, 31 years after their previous cup in 1955.

A great hope, Steve Yzerman, played in his third season. Only he and Joe Kocur, of all the players on the roster, would go on to win Stanley Cups for the Red Wings.

The last player who had won a cup for them, Alex Delvecchio, had been retired for 13 years.

Polano, Neale, Park and Demers all faced a bigger rebuilding job than Blashill. But not by a much.