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Friday with Red Wings Coach Babcock

Q. Will you give us your understanding of Holmstrom’s injury and his chances of playing tomorrow?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: What are the rules? Do we have to talk about the injury or just what part of the body or what do we have to do?

FRANK BROWN: The type.

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I do a lot of stuff with kids cancer, and there’s a thing called HIPAA-compliance where you can never reveal anything about the person, how come we have to do it in the League? (Laughter.)

Oh, anyway, Holmer’s just got - Holmer’s got the back of his leg, the hamstring. He’s got a little problem there. We think he’ll be fine. He’s a tough guy.

Q. If for some reason he can’t go, does the sense of urgency increase for the rest of the guys as far as just going to the net?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I mean, guys gotta do what they do.

So if he doesn’t go, Dan Cleary would go there. He goes to the net all the way. He spent the whole year when Holmstrom wasn’t there or Franzen wasn’t there, doing that.

We just move people around. That’s what being on a team’s all about. You have to pick one another up when someone goes down. When the Mule went down we found a way.

I mean, these things just happen in the playoffs. And there’s a whole bunch of guys that people in this room don’t know about on both teams that are hurt, too. And that’s just the way it is. You just find a way to keep playing and the mind drives the body.

Q. Therrien, this morning, made a real lengthy speech about obstruction and how much your team is getting away with, talked about it at length a couple of different times, bit of familiar theme with him?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t know. I didn’t listen to him. I didn’t read the comments.

Q. Back to Holmstrom, without divulging the injury, do you expect him to play tomorrow, and when will you make a decision?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I did divulge the injury. I told you it was the hamstring. I didn’t tell you what leg. I don’t know what you want me to do. I can’t tell you which part. I don’t know myself. I just know he’s not feeling like a million bucks. What’s the second part of the question?

Q. Do you expect him to play, and when will you decide?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I’m not going to decide, he’s going to decide. And he’s a tough guy. I expect him to play.

Q. Do you ever talk to him about what he does in front of the net? Are you ever amazed what you see that he puts up with, the way he plays the game?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I think he’s got great passion and great courage. And I think he’s an unbelievable teammate. I like him a lot. I like having him in practice. He’s good to yell at practice. The guys like when he messes up the odd drills so everyone can have some fun with that. We missed him out there today.

He’s a great person. I think he’s taught Cleary and he’s taught the Mule a lot just by watching. And he’s made us a better hockey club. And the other thing that Tommy doesn’t get the kind of credit he deserves for the plays he makes on the half wall coming out of his own on the breakout and his puck retrieval skills, and that little six-foot pass to get the puck back for good players.

And he does an excellent job of that. And the other thing is most guys wouldn’t go there and draw the number of penalties he takes or draws without taking them.

Q. Coach, you were hit pretty hard by the injury bug during the second half of the season. Looking back, do you think that actually helped? Do you have to go through adversity like that to get this far?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I think, surely it helps. I think a classic example was the team that I coached in, I don’t know, three years ago or whatever, when we played terrible, we won. We won all year long no matter what. We had the fifth best record of all time, and we were out in six games.

And we weren’t as good as a team as the last two years, but we won all the time. And I don’t think we were prepared for when things didn’t go our way, when the puck wouldn’t go in the net.

And you know, so I think adversity is a great thing in life to make you better. I think a lot of teams go through it. And in the end you always hope you’re going to overcome and have a chance to be there at the end. And we’re fortunate this year we’re in a good situation at this time. We just gotta keep working hard.

Q. Do you like having two days off between games, and you had the outing yesterday, was there a little bit of some soul feeding and was there nice things the team got out of it?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I thought what we did yesterday was great, absolutely fantastic. It’s a great spot we went to. Totally get away from hockey and do something different, which I think is important. They never asked me about the schedule.

Obviously they felt it was the best way for TV, and so that’s what we do. We tried to fly home. We wanted to go home after the game. But this is our opportunity to sell the game and the NHL. I think we’re all in it together that way, you people in the media, the players, the management, the better job we can do and the more people we draw attention to our game, the better it is for us.

So this is one of the things we had to do. We just found a way to do something else while we were doing it.

Q. Do you think that plays into your favor, having two more days? Pittsburgh wins a game, the momentum kind of gets taken away from them with the extra time off, right?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t know. I don’t know much about this momentum thing. We’ve won some games this year in the playoffs. I’m not a big believer in momentum. I just think that you start a new day tomorrow. And they’re going to do what they can to prepare and we’ll do the same thing, and the best team that night is going to win. I don’t think the days affected anything. If anything, the guys at home like they are, they get to spend a day with their family. And you have another day on the road, and that’s why it was important for us to do something different.

Q. Can you talk about your decision in the first round to change goalies, have the future Hall-of-Famer now as your back-up, how delicate that was and how well he’s taken it?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, we have a number of, since I came to Detroit, a number of people who are going to be Hall-of-Famers and they deserve your respect.

I’ve said this before, the night that we were in St. Louis and Brett Hall got retired, that night was kind of an eye opener for me, because it was like how big are these guys.

And then you see Steve Yzerman get retired and then obviously Shanahan is going to be the same and Chelios is going to be the same and Lidstrom is going to be the same and Hasek is going to be the same.

They’re very, very special. And so like I said, they deserve your respect. But a big part about the Red Wings is we’re about winning. Ken Holland says that all the time. And we do whatever we can to win.

And so when you make hard decisions, personally sometimes, as much as it is personal for them, it’s not about them. It’s not about me, it’s about winning and that’s just what we do.

Q. If Tomas can’t go tomorrow, does Darren come back?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: At this point, that’s what I would think. We just move things around. Like I said, Cleary will probably play in that spot, if that’s the case. Piet VanZant, who is our athletic therapist and he’s excellent at it, told me that Tommy was way better than he expected today. So I’m not that concerned.

Q. Any change to your defense pairs tomorrow?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: You mean who’s playing with him or the people in them?

Q. For instance, will Chelios be in the lineup?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Not at this time. It’s not my thought process, no.

Q. All three pairs will be the same?

COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Yeah, I think so.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock, quotes, transcript

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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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