Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 05/27/13 at 12:05 PM ET
Naturally, because he's the coach of the Detroit Red Wings, Mike Babcock wasn't nominated for the Jack Adams award. Joel Quenneville, with the most talented team in hockey, was. Babcock, even before the Anaheim series, has been brilliant all along. He raised the little puppies when all (ok...many) of us thought he was literally trying to get fired. He recovered from the most potentially damaging personnel loss in recent hockey history. Without Nick Lidstrom he created a young defense that will be the best in the East for a decade.
And I can't say this enough, obviously: he's sitting veterans in favor of youngsters and it's paid off again and again. It's a kind of insane genius I'll never comprehend and really can't get over.
Scott Bowman he's not, because playing kids this late goes against everything Bowman believed in. And, honestly, Bowman never coached a Red Wing team that required this kind of creative leadership.
Despite that, Babcock is as close to a Bowman clone as this league has ever seen. Maybe not on a white board, but in the uncomfortable spots players don't like to talk about at parties. Babcock is deep, deep, deep in their heads and he knows precisely what buttons to push at just the right time.
And that's why this thing ends tonite. It ends tonite because Uncle Mike has used this line, or something close, for two days.
"I told the team that they would rue the day if they didn't show up and play the game of their lives," coach Scotty Bowman said after the victory.
That was in 1997. The Wings had just lost to Denver, in Denver, 6-0. Roy was blabbing to anyone who would listen that we'd all just have to see if the Wings were willing to "pay the price". Well, they did. Bowman was in their heads. Every player knew this opporunity, if wasted, would haunt them forever.
The circumstances were not identical. The Wings were supremely talented, but underachieving. The Dive were young while Detroit was aging (allegedly).
But now, nearly 2 decades later, with not a single '97 champ remaining, the similiarities lie with the coaches. There is no way Joel Quenneville can keep up with what Mike Babcock has in store. Even with the old master somewhere in that organization, tinkering and suggesting. He's not there to make the immediate move, the required quick decision. Joel Quenneville is not a quick-decision kind of guy.
So it ends tonite.
Just like that series did in '97. On Memorial Day.
Enjoy your day. Remember those who gave everything so all of us can stress about hockey.
And do this, Wings.
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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org