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Audio- Chris Chelios On Mike Babcock And Johan Franzen

added 3:34pm,

 

 

added 3:43pm, Here is a link to the article using Google translate.

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Comments

Mr. Fnytelhatt's avatar

Whoa.

Posted by Mr. Fnytelhatt on 12/02/19 at 10:54 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Mike Babcock, greatest coach ever.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 12/02/19 at 10:59 AM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

Nobody should be treated like this in hockey or any regular job. Babs should be banned from hockey for a couple years. No wonder guys retired early.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 12/02/19 at 11:05 AM ET

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Yikes. I am actually a bit surprised that guys like Chelli, Lidstrom and Z didn’t say something.

Posted by George0211 on 12/02/19 at 11:16 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Check the Twitter timeline of Prashanth Iyer on this topic.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 11:16 AM ET

Paul's avatar

The audio was from an interview Chelios did with Spittin’ Chiclits today.

Featuring 3x Stanley Cup Champion and member of the @HockeyHallFame Chris Chelios

- Winning the Cup
- Montreal
- Playing for Babcock
- Gambling Corner

++ a ton more

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 11:27 AM ET

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I am actually a bit surprised that guys like Chelli, Lidstrom and Z didn’t say something.

So they could be traded away? Sounds like Holland said it was Babcock’s way or the highway.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 12/02/19 at 11:56 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Meanwhile, the Detroit papers remain silent.

Columnists, beat writers, anyone?

Jimmy D. is the guy to talk with if healthy enough, otherwise do some digging.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 12:00 PM ET

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So they could be traded away? Sounds like Holland said it was Babcock’s way or the highway.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 12/02/19 at 11:56 AM ET

Do you think someone like Lidstrom really would have been traded away?

Posted by George0211 on 12/02/19 at 12:03 PM ET

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Do you think someone like Lidstrom really would have been traded away?

Hard to trade someone who doesn’t have a contract for the following season.

But you’re right. He could have and should have stepped up and if he didn’t then he doesn’t deserve to be defended.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 12/02/19 at 12:40 PM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

Det News half-hour ago.


Trade are hard - KH

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 12/02/19 at 02:13 PM ET

Paul's avatar

In the article by Kulfan posted by Tripwire32, he basically breaks down the conversation Chelios had today.

Now I am wondering if there are more instances like this from Babcock with the Wings.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 02:18 PM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

the article by Kulfan
Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 02:18 PM ET

yeah, no real digging, but he got around to breaking the silence.

I’m sure there are others. Could probably generally point to the players that didn’t respond well under his various tenures. Also, remember there were the rumors that the DRW couldn’t attract players due to Babs.

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 12/02/19 at 02:27 PM ET

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Now I am wondering if there are more instances like this from Babcock with the Wings.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 02:18 PM ET

Yeah, I wonder if Z and/or Lidstrom will be asked about this and be willing to say anything.

Posted by George0211 on 12/02/19 at 02:30 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

Anyone really surprised? I’m not. The Wings were a team that at one point had players taking “hometown discounts” to come and play, or, extend a contract. A culture of winning with an iron fisted Scotty Bowman, and still players wanted in. Then, Babcock arrives and no one wanted to make the Wings the premier destination as in previous years.

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 12/02/19 at 02:33 PM ET

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Then, Babcock arrives and no one wanted to make the Wings the premier destination as in previous years.

Sure. OK

Z, Franzen and Lidstrom took discounts to stay while Babcock was coaching. And famously Marian Hossa refused to take a discount to join Mike Babcock’s defending Stanley Cup championship team, right?

Detroit was a destination when they were winning, period. They’ve been no more of a destination in the years since Babcock left than they were in the last several years he was there.

Not to mention that Nielsen, Green and Helm are all overpayments that were made after Babcock left.

How about spinning us another fiction, Kate?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 12/02/19 at 03:09 PM ET

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2012 isn’t so long ago no one knew anything about Franzen’s growing list of concussions(?)

Of course not the extent that became clear as he suffered more and more major ones and missed significant time.

I think Holland mishandled this and risked Franzen’s health.

I know it’s not close to a perfect deterrent but Franzen was consistently expected to play a physical game with zero protection on his line and virtually none on the roster.
Well past when it was clear opponents were targeting him as a big goal scorer who wasn’t a tough guy. Then again, this was the same year Shea Webber stopped playing hockey and two-handed Z’s head into the glass so hard he cracked his helmet. An aging and injury plagued Todd Bertuzzi was all we had to answer (and good for him for doing so).

But the bigger issue isn’t a tough guy of course.

It’s the way the organization allowed Franzen to be berated for not being Gordie Howe or even Brendan Shanahan. And the organization surely knew far more than we did about Franzen’s health issues - all of them. And he was basically exposed expected to play the most reckless game every night risking his health. He was demeaned relentlessly for “floating” even when he drove the net went hard into the corners a good deal of the time. Of course he was endlessly blasted by fans. I know a lot of commenters various places piled on and called Franzen ugly names.

You can only assume that Babcock was considered the top of his profession and seemingly had built a near-cult around his hardass image and unapologetic grinding abrasive demands. We also saw clear hints of favoritism between players on the roster. Certain guys being praised and others picked on. But I assume Holland was under continuing pressure to make the playoffs and was maybe deluded the team could still contend with a little tweak or two. And probably saw Babcock as the best chance he and the organization had to win again.

Sure we know a lot more about both the prevalence and long-term severity of concussions than we did 7.5 years ago. There has also, positively, been more public conversation over how debilitating depression and anxiety are as chronic illnesses.
But we didn’t know nothing then. And the team surely knew a fair amount. They let down Franzen in how they did so little in response to opponents targeting his head. Chris Neil was still punching Franzen during games and trying to force him fight. Opponents both no name and famous were routinely cheapshotting Franzen and doing drive-by chin shots. Some fringe guy who barely played in Edmonton - Rob Klinkhammer? - managed to add one more gratuitous “accidental”  headshot check and that was that. I know it’s hard for the players to let go and move on. But who was encouraging Franzen to get clearance including from some U of M specialist shortly before he couldn’t even start the season in spite of yet again being cleared?
Who was looking out for a really good Red Wing who had helped the team win lots of big playoff games when he was semi-healthy?

I’m mingling two issues: lack of concern and protection for the player when he clearly had concussion issues that were impacting his health and style of play and for the person whose health and quality of life will likely be impacted permanently.
And the issue of the coach clearly crossing the line and abusing a player with major health issues to the point he could have been in a dangerous place health-wise.
Neither Ron Francis no Ken Holland come out of this looking very good. The player’s health and safety were ignored and the tyrant coach was given carte blanch to basically almost push him over the edge.

It’s amazing, some of these egos. Yeah it’s the top level of hockey and these guys have won the biggest trophies. But you talk about a family environment? Doesn’t sound like it unless it’s a family with a conspiracy of silence. One of the things I found most impressive about Babcock in more recent years was his willingness to speak out bluntly and positively in support of people bravely battling serious mental illness. I believe he’s sincere. But the out of control ego and lack of accountability and stubborn attachment to tearing people down as a way of trying to enforce his will. It’s an organizational failure as well as personal one(s) and who knows how many more ugly stories are about to come out.

Good for Chelios - a guy who truly seems not to be too concerned speaking out.
I bet he wished he had said and done more too.
But Holland and Babcock - those are and especially were two huge names, titles and egos. It would have been impossible to challenge both if they were in agreement.

Posted by lefty.30 on 12/02/19 at 03:10 PM ET

Paul's avatar

90% of your responses CharDeeMacDennis end with a snarky remark.

There are other ways to express your views without challenging someone here.

I hate to ban a KK member but even I am getting tired of your comments and that is not a good thing.

The decision is yours.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 03:13 PM ET

Paul's avatar

from Sportsnet,

At the time of Babcock’s arrival in Detroit, Chelios was already 21 years into his NHL career and was in his sixth season with the Red Wings. During his Spittin’ Chiclets appearance, he described a number of interactions with Babcock — including a particularly memorable early-season meeting.

“He goes, ‘You’re not here to score goals. You’re here to play defence and babysit Brett Lebda,’” Chelios said, describing the interaction. “And I said, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been plus all training camp’ and he interrupted me right away and says, ‘If you don’t like it, you can go see Kenny Holland — I’m sure he’ll trade you.’”

“So that’s when I became the mentor,” Chelios said. “You know, I didn’t want to leave the team. I loved playing in Detroit, I figured I’d last there as long as I could … by just shutting my mouth and doing what I’m told.”

Chelios said his relationship with Babcock, which spanned four seasons at the end of Chelios’ playing career and included a Stanley Cup victory in 2008, was “cordial” despite the challenging interactions.

more

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 03:21 PM ET

Paul's avatar

More from the Sportsnet article,

“What he did to [Mike] Modano was incredibly disrespectful. What he did to, just recently, [Jason] Spezza in Toronto — those were the things that are so unnecessary,” he explained.

Babcock made Modano a healthy scratch late in 2011 — the final season of his NHL career and his only campaign with the Red Wings, leaving the now-Hall of Famer stuck at 1,499 career games played. Earlier this season, Babcock’s decision to scratch Spezza in the Maple Leafs’ season-opener against his old club, the Ottawa Senators, was also widely criticized.

“He tried to healthy scratch me in the outdoor game in Wrigley Field against Chicago because he knew it was my hometown — just things that were so unnecessary, to show he’s the boss, to show his general manager he’s the boss,” Chelios said. “That’s he’s on a power thing, his ego — that’s a big part of his personality.”

While Chelios ultimately wasn’t scratched for that 2009 Winter Classic, he’d finish the game — a 6-4 Red Wings victory — with a total ice time just shy of two minutes.

“Kenny Holland and Jim Nill, for three days, argued with him. So what Babs ended up doing was, he suited up seven D for the first time ever …. He played me the opening shift, and then didn’t play me another shift the rest of the game. That was his way of showing Kenny and Jim Nill he’s not going to be told what to do,” Chelios explained, later stating that he felt Babcock “had it out for me from the beginning.”

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 03:28 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Added to the post, Franzen confirms what Chelios said through Swedish newspaper.

Rough translation…

SportExpressen has talked to Johan Franzén, who remembers the event well.

- I get shivers when I think about it. That was against Nashville in the playoffs. It was rough, nasty and shocking. But that was just one of a hundred things he did. The tip of an iceberg, he says.

How would you describe Babcock as a coach and person?

- As a coach he is extremely accurate and prepared. He is great at putting together a gaming system and getting everyone to buy into it. That’s his strong side.

- But then he’s a terrible man, the worst person I’ve ever met. A bully who cheated on people, it could be cleaners in the Detroit arena or anyone. He jumped on people just because.

Do you remember when it started?

- He was on a couple of other players before. The kind team players. Those who don’t say that much. When they disappeared the energy passed to me and then they had to take a decent turn. It was verbal attacks, terrible things he said.

Johan Franzén does not go into exactly what has been said. But that the Canadian’s words affected the small-lander, there is no doubt about that.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 03:38 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

How about spinning us another fiction, Kate?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 12/02/19 at 03:09 PM ET

Hossa went to Chicago. He was offered plenty.  Didn’t sign. Couldn’t land Suter and Parise with huge offers around 98 million. We’re still paying for Mule and Z.

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 12/02/19 at 03:46 PM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

Babcock
Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 03:21 PM ET
Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 03:28 PM ET


wow. What a sad human being. While I wasn’t a big fan of his coached style of play, I respected his performance. But just now reading this stuff / learning more about his methods, it takes a lot of that shine off the respect I once had for him. I harbor little respect for both the coach and the human any more.

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 12/02/19 at 03:55 PM ET

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I’ll admit that I was one of the people that thought all of the Babcock hate was hyperbole. “Yeah he’s a hard ass but i bet deep down his guys love him and he’s just trying to get them to perform at their very best.” Yeah Commie sure hates the guy, must have really rubbed him the wrong way!


Turns out the guy is just a huge piece of shit.

Posted by MZ2215 on 12/02/19 at 03:57 PM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

But then he’s a terrible man, the worst person I’ve ever met. - Johan Franzén

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 12/02/19 at 03:59 PM ET

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Holland sure took Babs side over the players with the report of him talking to the team and basically saying “deal with it or we’ll trade you” and them still wanting to re-sign after knowing all of this. Players dealt with it because they wanted to win and didn’t want to lose their spot. If Cheli thought the best course of action was to shut up and keep your head down, that’s what other players were doing too. I always assumed the hate was he was a hard ass to play for but this sure seems well past that. I do want to hear from more of the local reporters because no way that at least some of them didn’t know these things.

Posted by tmoore4075 on 12/02/19 at 04:16 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Agreed tmoore… on the local media.  I brought it up last week regarding Bill Peters and now this.

Maybe they are getting paid by the hour these days.

Even on Peters, just ask around, did you see anything, then report it.  But nada.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 04:18 PM ET

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It’s clear Babcock went after Chelios to send a message to the players that no one was untouchable and if Babcock can go after a HOFer like Chelios, other guys better get their shite together if they’re gone.

Posted by bababooey on 12/02/19 at 05:18 PM ET

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I’m glad Holland is gone, otherwise I would be part of the cadre calling for his departure after reading this

Posted by Ventr on 12/02/19 at 05:28 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Anyone really surprised? I’m not. The Wings were a team that at one point had players taking “hometown discounts” to come and play, or, extend a contract. A culture of winning with an iron fisted Scotty Bowman, and still players wanted in. Then, Babcock arrives and no one wanted to make the Wings the premier destination as in previous years.
Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 12/02/19 at 02:33 PM ET

Spot on Kate. No surprise here either. We heard countless times the big free agents did not want to come here because of Babcock demeanor and guess what? They didn’t. That is why we got the bottom feeders like Stephen Weiss and many others I do not feel like listing . Players talk and just not in their own locker room. Word gets around quick and that kills things quick.

Like I said, I did not like Babcock in Anaheim or here. I am grateful to him for a Cup Victory but he never rubbed me the right way. I guess he can go on his Big Game Hunt now and take his frustrations out the critters using a bazooka instead of his big mouth.

And I do not want to hear Scotty Bowman was the same way. I am sure he may have been. Babcock is no Bowman (which would not excuse Bowman), in fact Babcock won his only Cup with Scotty at his side and then he got schooled by Dan Blysma the second go around.

None of this is shocking. I played hockey (and other sports)  most of my life and had *#$%@& coaches like this. It’s nice to hear players coming out about it. There lines we cross or don’t cross everyday of our lives. Choices are powerful things!

 

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 12/02/19 at 06:30 PM ET

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I can only imagine the events that went on in Toronto, probably more to follow.

Posted by stateofmifan on 12/02/19 at 06:32 PM ET

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Thinking this might be Babcock’s road to retirement. Don’t see anyone hiring him at this point.

Posted by stateofmifan on 12/02/19 at 06:37 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Don’t mind CharDee, Kate, he’s in a state of panic and disbelief now. His hero’s true colors have finally come out, and he can’t handle it.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 12/02/19 at 06:59 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Meanwhile, the Detroit papers remain silent.

Columnists, beat writers, anyone?

Jimmy D. is the guy to talk with if healthy enough, otherwise do some digging.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/02/19 at 12:00 PM ET

Sorry Paul, but I don’t believe Jimmy D has any credibility when it comes to this type of subject matter. Remember the whole calling the players cattle (vs chattel in how he described them)—well that’s where he would come down on this issues. And beat writers/columnists would have had their access cut off if they even hinted at these stories.

Posted by d ca on 12/03/19 at 01:00 AM ET

d ca's avatar

I’ll admit that I was one of the people that thought all of the Babcock hate was hyperbole. “Yeah he’s a hard ass but i bet deep down his guys love him and he’s just trying to get them to perform at their very best.” Yeah Commie sure hates the guy, must have really rubbed him the wrong way!


Turns out the guy is just a huge piece of shit.

Posted by MZ2215 on 12/02/19 at 03:57 PM ET

I was like that years ago until I heard that one of the team leaders said F U to him in front of many witnesses and word got around. Then I saw how he treated Mike Modano and it clicked that it wasn’t an isolated incident.

For me it was because I’ve had coaches like this before: the yelling, the screaming, the threats (punishing practices or not using you) become a broken record and you just tune them out but when they get replaced or you move onto a different program you try twice as hard because you are essentially free from the frustration of having to deal with someone you lost respect for.

I’d like see some of Chelios’ teammates opinions on this matter and then I’d say it could be put to bed.

Posted by d ca on 12/03/19 at 01:20 AM ET

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Its kind of funny that Holland threatened to trade players away.

Everbody knows his contracts were so bad noone would trade with him!!

Posted by pnwwing on 12/03/19 at 09:34 AM ET

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Franzen was a damn warrior on the ice.  Now, knowing what he had to work through it becomes evident that he was not just a man who physically gave for his team but mentally as well.  I wish him all the best in his life.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 12/03/19 at 09:34 AM ET

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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: wphoulihan@gmail.com