Kukla's Korner

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Babcock On the Off Day

Q. When you make a decision about which line to match up against which, last night most of the time you had Draper’s line against the kids, is that kind of normal that you play No. 1 against No. 1?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: That’s what we’ve done all year long. Most teams play the guys they think are going to generate the most offense the most minutes. So we always play our guys against them. We think it’s been obviously positive for us.
Seeing that Anaheim’s really set on playing Pahlsson against Zetterberg, that’s fine for us. They’re going to have to do calisthenics like they did last night. When you win faceoffs like they did last night, you can get your match-up any time you want because you just get people on and off the ice.
You know, I thought they did a real good job of that. They’ll continue to if we don’t do a better job in the faceoff circle. If you win faceoffs and get on top of them, obviously you can’t be playing out there with two defensemen and six guys changing, three coming on and three coming off.

Q. Mike, obviously it’s a team game. How much credit did Holmer deserve for helping you guys win the last four games?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I guess he gets his part. Is that 1/20th?
No, everybody’s got to do their thing. I really believe at this time of year it’s just all about the team. So whether you play three minutes or you play 20 minutes or you get a goal or you get an assist or you just guarantee the puck out or you block a shot, it’s all part of winning.
Holmer is a big part of our team with his passion and his work ethic. But he makes our power-play better. Last night we should have scored three power-play goals. Zetterberg has an empty, empty net. That’s important for us because obviously the way Anaheim plays, they’re going to take some penalties. We have to capitalize on those penalties so that they can’t take as many liberties.

Q. In sticking with the team concept, what does Chris Osgood good mean to this team? He said you chat with him at times. He was expressing to me he sees a lot, he’s able to talk with the guys, particularly the relationship he has with Dom.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: He’s a phenomenal guy. I’ve grown to have a great respect for him. The relationship he has with Dom is fantastic. I guess before you even get there, I mean, he’s not on the team unless he’s a real good goalie. He’s a real good goalie. He was a starter in the league for a long time. He’s embraced this year being a support of Dom.
He’s a card. He’s hilarious. Sometimes I abuse him during the year, when we get too many men on the ice penalty from the back ends because he’s goofing off with the D too much.
He’s just a good person. He can see what’s going on. He’s calm about it. He’s been around winning. He has a great relationship with these guys. So when he says something, there’s nothing like a goalie sitting in the room talking to you about what’s actually going on. He’s been around long enough, he’s got good experience, he does that.
But what makes him so special is that the guys like him so much and they trust him that when he says something, it’s important. I think he’s done a fantastic job for us.

Q. Mike, can you talk about it looked like last night the team threw their bodies around at Anaheim. What are the keys for tomorrow night? Be physical? Go after Anaheim in the boards?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I thought they were—I thought we battled hard without the puck, and I thought our goalie was good. But I didn’t think we did much with the puck, and I didn’t think we attacked or put any pressure on them like we should have.
I thought it looked a lot like the San Jose—the first game against San Jose, when the other team is better than you are. Last night, like I said, our power-play, our special teams were good, we got good goaltending, otherwise we don’t win the game because five-on-five, they controlled—they’re better in the faceoff circle, so they had the puck. They got through on the forecheck way better than we did. They did a better job holding up at their blueline than we did, not letting us get through. They got on top of us. They spent more time in our zone. Territorially, five-on-five they were better than us.
The other thing that happened, right away in the game we took penalties for whatever reason. We were shorthanded seven times last night and two times, one five-on-three, one four-on-three. Any way you look at it, that puts you on your heels and gives them momentum. As much as you killed them, it’s wearing people out and other people aren’t getting on the ice.
We got to do a way better job of staying out of the box, getting on top of their D, spending time in their zone, and spending more time at their net.

Q. Last night after the game Getzlaf criticized himself for taking that penalty. Is that the toughest thing for young players in the playoffs to keep emotions under control?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Yeah, I mean, Getzlaf, he’s a great player. Not kid ourselves. He played a really good game last night. You know, it’s always a fine line. As a player, you’re always pushing it. If he takes that penalty and we don’t score, it’s nothing. If it scores, it becomes a focal point. There’s no way to me—I mean, every team in the league would love to have that guy, wouldn’t they?

Q. Last night there seemed to be a lot of traffic in front of Dom, some altercations after the whistle. Is there anything you can do to prevent that or is that just something that’s part of playoff hockey?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I think you’re allowed to go to the net hard. I think there’s an area there you’re not allowed to touch the goalie. That’s up to the officials, not us. They got to make those decisions. I think it’s well-documented their goalie is good, our goalie is good. You can’t be running into the goalie or hacking him after the whistle. It’s my understanding scrums aren’t allowed either.
I just assume that stuff will get looked after.

Q. Nicklas Lidstrom was talking about how tough it is these days to get shots through from the point. He said sometimes you practice shooting against the boards on either side. Are the boards here livelier than other places? How often do you work on that?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: The boards here are lively. When we go to Anaheim, I’ll find out how lively theirs are. During the regular season, as much as you may find this hard to believe, half the time you get there, you play the game, you’re out of there. You get to know the team, but they know the teams in their division better than we know the teams in our division. You know the rinks and stuff like that.
The bottom line is, anything that can help you win at playoff time, obviously you pull out all stops to try to have everything looked after. We’ll check it out.

Filed in: NHL Playoff Talk, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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