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“I See Great Things Coming”- Mike Babcock

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

“One of the best things that might have happened to this organization is us being so injured,” Babcock said. “What I mean is, we get to see these kids on the ice, so you know what’s in the cupboard. They’ve been way better than I thought. I’m optimistic now that we don’t have to fall off the map and go through misery for 10 years like others do. I see great things coming.”

With all he’s accomplished, Babcock reasonably could be hitting the age of entrenchment and entitlement. He’s the best coach in Detroit sports since Bowman, and he’ll guide Team Canada in the upcoming Sochi Olympics, hunting for a second gold medal.

But the transition here just might invigorate him. He’s trying to change as his team changes, a delicate process. He’s demanding in a high-pressure environment and some players don’t like it, but no coach survives on fear without being fair.

“If you walk in our dressing room today, a lot of guys are (ticked) off at me, and they’re probably different than the ones (ticked) off last week,” Babcock said. “Normally, they’re the ones that aren’t playing. One thing I can’t do is confuse the player with the person. I love the people, but they don’t pay me to evaluate that. They pay me to evaluate the player. I have to base my decisions on what I see, shift to shift, game to game.”

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Nathan's avatar

They pay me to evaluate the player. I have to base my decisions on what I see, shift to shift, game to game.

Unless it’s Dan Cleary. Then it doesn’t matter.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/30/14 at 10:46 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Unless it’s Dan Cleary. Then it doesn’t matter.

Hey, he finally scratched Dano.  He will again.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/30/14 at 10:49 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I really enjoyed this article. Thanks, Paul. I especially liked what Babcock said about our young players - basically that they are good enough that the Wings don’t have to look at 10 years of sucking before they are great again.  I think this is something some frustrated fans tend to forget.  The Hawks may be good now, but look what they had to go through to get there.

If the Wings don’t make the playoffs this season (I still believe they can and will) there will be a legitimate reason - injuries.  But they won’t be out for long.  With Z and Pav (if they can get healthy), Kronwall and Ericsson as the veteran core, plus the GR graduates, present and future, we are in pretty darned good shape.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/30/14 at 10:59 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

basically that they are good enough that the Wings don’t have to look at 10 years of sucking before they are great again.

Well, they are not good enough on their own.  Wings still need to add a little and manage the store properly.  Kenny has been on cruise control for too long.  He needs to get more into it or go.  My fear is that it was Illich all along who was pushing, and now that his heart is all in for baseball that KH isn’t prompted anymore to be more active.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/30/14 at 11:37 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Decent read, but this definitely jumped off the page at me…
“The team plays hard and seems to respond to him…..
Effort and competitiveness generally aren’t issues with the Wings”

How many times in the last 3 years have we “not been prepared, didn’t start on time, didn’t play heavy enough, didn’t compete” etc etc etc?

 

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 01/30/14 at 11:51 AM ET

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It must be a coaches dream to be in a town where the media wont ask any tough questions.

Posted by brians neck on 01/30/14 at 11:52 AM ET

igrover's avatar

“How many times in the last 3 years have we “not been prepared, didn’t start on time, didn’t play heavy enough, didn’t compete” etc etc etc?”.


EXACTLY!

Posted by igrover on 01/30/14 at 12:03 PM ET

SK77's avatar

How many times in the last 3 years have we “not been prepared, didn’t start on time, didn’t play heavy enough, didn’t compete” etc etc etc?

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 01/30/14 at 11:51 AM ET

Babcock has used those cliches the same amount of times as every other coach in the league has used those same exact cliches after their team loses a game and a reporter asks the same question every time.

Posted by SK77 on 01/30/14 at 12:22 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

How many times in the last 3 years have we “not been prepared, didn’t start on time, didn’t play heavy enough, didn’t compete” etc etc etc?

The answer is apparently 88.

 

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/30/14 at 12:36 PM ET

SYF's avatar

But the transition here just might invigorate him. He’s trying to change as his team changes, a delicate process. He’s demanding in a high-pressure environment and some players don’t like it, but no coach survives on fear without being fair.

Didn’t he say that last year?

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 01/30/14 at 01:19 PM ET

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Didn’t he say that last year?

I’m sure if he did, but the media definitely pretended that the organization as a whole was embracing a youth movement.

Posted by Garth on 01/30/14 at 01:39 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

How many times in the last 3 years have we “not been prepared, didn’t start on time, didn’t play heavy enough, didn’t compete” etc etc etc?

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 01/30/14 at 11:51 AM ET

You can say the same thing about any sports team. When your team isn’t as good, it’s more obvious and you care more when the effort level isn’t there. When your team is really good, your team sometimes wins even when the effort level isn’t there. I don’t think the effort level has changed so much during Babcock’s tenure as the skill level has.

It’s a long season and there are going to be off nights. But the Red Wings play hard more consistently than say the Islanders or Maple Leafs have in recent years, and probably a lot of other teams as well.

Posted by EDJ on 01/30/14 at 02:06 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

“One of the best things that might have happened to this organization is us being so injured,” Babcock said. “What I mean is, there’s absolutely no way I’d be playing guys like Sheahan or Jurco if there weren’t injuries. Those spots would go to real men like Sammy and Cleary, guys who know how to win.

Just thought I’d modify that to reflect what most of us think Babcock really believes. smile

But if we can believe his actual words, maybe he’s finally ready to embrace a team built around the young talent in GR before they “over-ripen.” I sure hope so because there will be no room for the next wave (Jarnkrok, Pulkkinnen, Callahan, Ouelette, Sproul, Marchenko, etc.) if Holland keeps signing aging vets.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/30/14 at 02:30 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Just thought I’d modify that to reflect what most of us think Babcock really believes. smile

But if we can believe his actual words

Mikael Samuelsson was a healthy scratch on an injury-depleted lineup for a month and Dan Cleary was all set to join Todd Bertuzzi in a sit to favor guys like Jurco and Sheahan until Zetterberg went down and Cleary had to stay in the lineup.

I tend to believe Babcock’s words because his actions back this up. He was told by Holland to put his best 12 forwards in the lineup and if those 12 didn’t include guys who were waiver exempt that any of them would be returned to Grand Rapids.

Instead he chose to allow Mikael Samuelsson to pass through waivers.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/30/14 at 02:37 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Just thought I’d modify that to reflect what most of us think Babcock really believes.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/30/14 at 02:30 PM ET

It would appear your thoughts don’t match up with Babcock’s actual beliefs and actions.

Along with the players J.J. outlined above, Tootoo and Eaves being sent down to Grand Rapids also shows that Babcock is doing more than just paying lip service to a “youth movement” as vets are being benched and jettisoned left and right for younger, better players as they develop into consistent members of the Red Wings.

Posted by SK77 on 01/30/14 at 02:47 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Agree with JJ here.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/30/14 at 02:49 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I guess I didn’t make myself clear enough. If there hadn’t been injuries to major players, Jurco and Sheahan and Glendenning wouldn’t have gotten a chance. Those would be in GR and Sammy and Bert and Cleary would be playing in Detroit because they’re the ones Babcock and Holland signed. They wanted them in Detroit, not the kids.

As I said, maybe Babcock has had his eyes opened. His words indicate that’s the case. I guess we’ll see this spring and summer whether he actually believes what he says. But if they bring Cleary and Quincey back and sign other “veteran” guys for the sake of “leadership” while keeping Sheahan, Jurco, Jarnkrok and/or Ouelette in GR, then we’ll know it was just a lot of BS.

The bottom line is I’m not believing Babcock until we get to next October and see who’s in Detroit and who’s in GR.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/30/14 at 03:39 PM ET

Avatar

So, just to clarify, some people think that waiving Emmerton and Tootoo and Sammy and benching Osgood and Cleary and Bertuzzi and minimizing the roles of Quincey and Eaves so that the team can play Shehean, Jurco, Tatar, Nyquist, Glendening, Howard and Dekeyser means that Babcock doesn’t want to play kids?

That’s… interesting logic, I’ll give them that.  And that’s all stuff from just the past two years.  Babcock was playing Ericsson 18 and a half in the playoffs as a rookie, he was playing Kronwall 20 and a half in Babcock’s first season before Kronwall had his 50th career regular season game, he was playing Fil nearly 17 a night by his second pro season, he played Darren Helm the full 23 games in his rookie year with all of bleeping 7 NHL games under his belt.

On second thought, I rescind my designation of that logic being interesting.  It’s just dumb.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/30/14 at 03:40 PM ET

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If there hadn’t been injuries to major players, Jurco and Sheahan and Glendenning wouldn’t have gotten a chance

That’s untrue, of course.  All three of those guys would have gotten a chance, just not, you know TODAY.  Getting a big shot in 2015 or 2016 instead of 2014 isn’t some kind of death blow to a career, you know.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/30/14 at 03:43 PM ET

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while keeping Sheahan, Jurco, Jarnkrok and/or Ouelette in GR, then we’ll know it was just a lot of BS.

By the way, Jurco, Jarnkrok and Ouelette may need another year or two before they’re ready, OTC.  Just because Babcock doesn’t bring up every prospect with a pulse and half a point per in the AHL doesn’t mean he’s somehow against the entire notion of youth on a team… which you’d know had you paid attention to what’s happened the past 5 years.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/30/14 at 03:45 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Let me guess. Those three “You have chosen to ignore comments from this member” listings are posts from HD. And his general thrust was something like: “You don’t know what you’re talking about. And you’re thoughts are dumb/ridiculous/worthless because they don’t match mine.”

So, how’d I do? smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/30/14 at 03:59 PM ET

SK77's avatar

So, how’d I do?

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/30/14 at 03:59 PM ET

They were a lot more thoughtful than your comments, if that’s what you’re asking.

Posted by SK77 on 01/30/14 at 04:25 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Those would be in GR and Sammy and Bert and Cleary would be playing in Detroit because they’re the ones Babcock and Holland signed. They wanted them in Detroit, not the kids.

It’s possible, but without the glut of injuries, it’s exceptionally difficult to tell.

If the Wings had remained healthy all season, we probably wouldn’t be pulling our hair out over the chances of the team missing the playoffs and the guys we’re complaining about maybe aren’t as dog-turd awful when being used simply as complimentary pieces.

As far as where the organization stands with the kids, I don’t know that it makes too much of a difference. Either way we knew that Sheahan and Jurco should be battling for regular spots next season on a team that doesn’t have Samuelsson, Bertuzzi, or Cleary on it (and probably not Tootoo or Eaves either).  Jurco probably gets no games this season, but I still think Nyquist is a regular about the same time he became one regardless and Sheahan probably gets into somewhere around 8-9 games.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/30/14 at 04:30 PM ET

Avatar

means that Babcock doesn’t want to play kids?

Some people don’t understand what the word “want” means.

Benching someone because you need wins doesn’t mean you want to bench them.

When Detroit didn’t need wins Mike Babcock chose to play Samuelsson over Tatar.  He chose to play Cleary when Cleary was one of the worst performers on the team.

All three of those guys would have gotten a chance, just not, you know TODAY.

Which is literally, exactly the point being made.

If it hasn’t been for the injuries that happened this season then they wouldn’t have gotten a chance this season.  Nobody, but nobody is saying that they would never, ever, ever, never, ever eventually get a chance.

Stop being dishonest in your interpretation of what people are saying.

Posted by Garth on 01/30/14 at 04:39 PM ET

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Posted by some kid on 01/30/14 at 04:25 PM ET

If that’s what you think then…well…that makes me sad.

Posted by Garth on 01/30/14 at 04:40 PM ET

SK77's avatar

If that’s what you think then…well…that makes me sad.

Posted by Garth on 01/30/14 at 04:40 PM ET

In this specific instance? HiHD outlined Babcock’s history of playing younger players in Ericsson, Kronwall, and Helmer. OTC is acting like he can read minds and floating it out there as fact. I’ve got no favorites, just sayin’ ...  wink

Posted by SK77 on 01/30/14 at 04:45 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

OTC is acting like he can read minds and floating it out there as fact.

Posted by some kid

Wow, you really don’t get the concept of sarcasm, do you? I would think the “wink” I put at the end of my “revision” of Babcock’s statement would have given you a hint that I recognize that what I wrote is not fact.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/30/14 at 06:16 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

How many times in the last 3 years have we “not been prepared, didn’t start on time, didn’t play heavy enough, didn’t compete” etc etc etc?

Also how many times over the last plus 3 years has the power play been almost non existent?
The current Red Wing team has multiple short comings, but hopefully will improve with the infusion of the young players along with the return of Zetterberg, Datsyuk etc. They may or may not make the playoffs this season, but with expiring contracts, the increasing salary cap, along with acquiring some critical FA’s they should be a dangerous team next fall.  Many variables to the puzzle.

Posted by bigfrog on 01/30/14 at 07:12 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Wow, you really don’t get the concept of sarcasm, do you? I would think the “wink” I put at the end of my “revision” of Babcock’s statement would have given you a hint that I recognize that what I wrote is not fact.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/30/14 at 06:16 PM ET

I totally understand sarcasm, but unfortunately didn’t pick up on yours above – apologies.

In the future it might be easier to pick up on your sarcasm if you actually used the “wink” face at the end of your posts wink  .... you’ve actually been using a smily face throughout trying to convey your sarcasm smile

Posted by SK77 on 01/30/14 at 07:39 PM ET

Avatar

I’ve got no favorites, just sayin’ ...

Don’t get me wrong, OTC was displaying some world class douche, but I don’t think what HD said was particularly well thought out.  In the first of his three responses, he used the fact that something happened as evidence that Babcock wanted it to happen despite the fact that there’s nothing to back his claim up, and in his second response he willfully and dishonestly pretended that the commenter said something that clearly wasn’t said, just so that HD could make condescending corrections.

Posted by Garth on 01/30/14 at 08:36 PM ET

Primis's avatar

At some point the lines, excuses, etc, just stop mattering.

MO’s right, we keep hearing the same reasons given, with growing frequency now even.

Why is that?

Posted by Primis on 01/30/14 at 09:23 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Because they’re losing more often right now?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/30/14 at 09:47 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

In the future it might be easier to pick up on your sarcasm if you actually used the “wink” face at the end of your posts wink .... you’ve actually been using a smily face throughout trying to convey your sarcasm smile

Posted by some kid

I don’t think this emoticon smile is a smily face, sk. I’ve always taken it to be a “wry” smile, something I associate with sarcasm. But who the hell knows. Maybe I’d be better off just not using sarcasm.  grin

Don’t get me wrong, OTC was displaying some world class douche…

Posted by Garth

Man, for someone who likes to call out HD for his name calling, you seem to be pretty comfortable with it yourself, Garth. Why not just state your objection and skip the “colorful” language? It serves no useful purpose.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/30/14 at 11:42 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Well this is fun reading.  /SARCASM/

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/31/14 at 07:27 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I like the kids, too, but tell me—who’s the next linchpin of the team?

Jarnkrok is the one guy that has gotten the highest praise from the earliest point in his post-draft career, but we haven’t seen him do a thing in the NHL yet.

There’s definitely always a chance guys develop into it. There’s a lot of talent between Tatar, Nyquist, Sheahan, Jurco, Jarnkrok, Pulkkinen, Mantha… but let’s not forget that Zetterberg and Datsyuk were at least special and considered good enough to crack HOF-laden Wings lineups without playing a second in the AHL first. None of these guys have that distinction (yet), on a team that isn’t nearly as good.

I’m not trying to be doom and gloom, but you need a guy or two like this to really be a top tier team. So you have to hope that in the next couple of seasons, the youth continues to progress, Pav, Z, and Kronwall stay healthy, and then maybe they can retool around the youth with the star veterans still leading the way. And then hope one of the young guys can develop to a level like Pav or Z, otherwise, you better hope you draft that guy or get a great UFA signing opportunity.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/31/14 at 08:59 AM ET

Avatar

It serves no useful purpose.

I suppose its purpose wasn’t as useful as you going out of your way to insult someone whose comments you went out of your way to “ignore”, right?  What, exactly, was the useful purpose of that?

Posted by Garth on 01/31/14 at 09:31 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I suppose its purpose wasn’t as useful as you going out of your way to insult someone whose comments you went out of your way to “ignore”, right?

I didn’t “insult” HD. I certainly didn’t refer to him as a douche. I simply took a guess at what the general nature of his comments were. The only one who used “insulting” language here was you, Garth.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/31/14 at 10:57 AM ET

SK77's avatar

I like the kids, too, but tell me—who’s the next linchpin of the team?

Jarnkrok is the one guy that has gotten the highest praise from the earliest point in his post-draft career, but we haven’t seen him do a thing in the NHL yet.

There’s definitely always a chance guys develop into it. There’s a lot of talent between Tatar, Nyquist, Sheahan, Jurco, Jarnkrok, Pulkkinen, Mantha… but let’s not forget that Zetterberg and Datsyuk were at least special and considered good enough to crack HOF-laden Wings lineups without playing a second in the AHL first. None of these guys have that distinction (yet), on a team that isn’t nearly as good.

I’m not trying to be doom and gloom, but you need a guy or two like this to really be a top tier team. So you have to hope that in the next couple of seasons, the youth continues to progress, Pav, Z, and Kronwall stay healthy, and then maybe they can retool around the youth with the star veterans still leading the way. And then hope one of the young guys can develop to a level like Pav or Z, otherwise, you better hope you draft that guy or get a great UFA signing opportunity.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/31/14 at 08:59 AM ET

I’ve thought about this exact same issue. If Detroit fails to develop that topflight talent like they lucked into with Pavel, Hank, and Nick (Lidstrom), then unfortunately they have to try to make great UFA signings which is about 100x more difficult now thanks to the salary cap.

As for current, potential, topflight talent you’ve got: Mrazek, Mantha, Jarnkrok, and potentially Pulkkinen. If Mrazek pans out as a supernatural goaltender that stays in Detroit then that alone is huge. If two of those three forwards turn out to be first-line legit then maybe, just maybe, there’s not a difficult future ahead with regards to reloading this team when Z & Pav are gone.

Posted by SK77 on 01/31/14 at 11:02 AM ET

pgoody's avatar

Posted by pgoody on 01/31/14 at 11:22 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

As for current, potential, topflight talent you’ve got: Mrazek, Mantha, Jarnkrok, and potentially Pulkkinen.

Posted by some kid

Jason over at GriffinsCentral.com has a rather detailed first half report card for the current Griffins players. While Jarnkrok didn’t fare all that well in his rankings (getting a C+), guys like Callahan, Jurco, Mrazek, Evans and Marchenko all got A’s.

For comparison, take a look at Matthew Weust’s mid-season prospect rankings over at RedWingsCentral.com. He looks at the overall potential of all Wings prospects and ranks Mantha #1. Jarnkrok has dropped three slots to #4.

Both of these guys are very familiar with the Griffins and the rest of the Wings’ prospects. Whether you agree with them or not, they’re both a very good read.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/31/14 at 12:15 PM 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