Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 05/31/08 at 03:45 PM ET
Q. Could we get an update on Tomas Holmstrom, we saw he skated a bit this morning and went off?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: He did just what everyone else did. And basically what we’re going to do is he felt pretty good. He’s going to come back for the game tonight, see how he feels.
If he’s ready to go, he’s playing. If not, obviously he’ll be scratched.
Q. You’ve made a point in the last couple of days about talking about your top line, about how the second power play unit was better, and about how those guys took too long in some of their shifts. How do you think they’re going to respond to that tonight?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, they’re going to respond like they always do. The power play is going to be on fire and they’re going to play well.
You know, I don’t want to ‑ I think any time you mention something, we tend to ‑ that’s something we can run with now for three days. It’s one of those things that happens in hockey sometimes. And the great thing about good players is they do it right 99 percent of the time. And when they have a little drought, it’s usually pretty exciting for the coach, because you know they’re coming right back.
Q. You mentioned that every player has to be treated differently, and some players you have to go harder on…
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I never said that. So you have a question you want to ask? You can’t make that statement. I never said that.
Q. You say players respond differently to different actions. So when you talk about those guys publicly, not like you went at them hard or anything ‑ but to mention those things, how do they respond, like Henrik and Pavel specifically?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I think what I said ‑ if I’m not mistaken, I said the coach didn’t do a very good job. Isn’t that what I said?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: So I think that’s what we went with. So we’ve had too much time in between games here. It’s pretty apparent. And this is my fourth press conference since the last game. And I’m looking forward to tonight’s game so we can talk about something else.
But in saying that, you know, we think we treat our players fairly. And you know, I have three children at home. And we try to treat them fairly. We probably treat them all different, just because they are different. And I think that’s important. I think there’s a human side to sports, and I think if you understand that and you deal with people fairly and honestly and with respect, you have a chance to get a lot out of them.
Does that mean you make them mad sometimes? Absolutely.
Q. The Penguins are on quite a winning streak at home. Does that come up in conversation with your team, or do you guys even care about stuff like that?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, we know they’re good here. We haven’t ‑ everyone knows they’re 8‑0 before we got here. Now they’re 9‑0, I think. We all understand that. But as much as we’re playing the Penguins and obviously they’re a real good team, we really believe this is about what we do.
And in last game, it’s not like they dominated us. They were better than us for 20 minutes in the game. We turned the puck over too many times. Our shift length wasn’t as good. The coach didn’t get the people on and off the ice good. In the end, the puck went in the net one more time for them. We’re not making any more than that. We have an opportunity here today. We’ve been a good road team all year. We usually respond when things don’t go the way we want.
And we got, I think, a humble group that looks after their part. And I don’t think there’s a whole bunch of people pointing fingers or anything like that. Guys take responsibility for their part of it and that’s what you have to do to be successful.
And we win together, and we lose together. And it was a team loss the other night.
Q. Getting back to the trip or escape you guys took a couple days ago. Talk about the dichotomy taking such a trip and getting away from it all, how it might help you on the ice tonight. And whether as a coach giving your players that type of freedom and yourself that type of freedom as well, the interaction that takes place in that type of situation, do you let your guard down as a coach and interact with the players or do you let the players do their own thing and the coaches do their own thing?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: The players and I didn’t go out for drinks or hang out or nothing like that.
I’m the coach. They play. I have a good relationship with a lot of them. None of them would consider me their buddy. I’m not like that. And I’ve never been like that. I’ve got some good friends and spend time with those people at times.
But the reality is they play and they’re around each other and enjoy each other, and I think that’s important. As far as my time, I spent most of it by myself or doing something with other people away from our team.
If you just think about how many dinners we’ve had together and how many times we’ve talked about the same thing over the last two and a half months, it’s unbelievable. So a little change is good.
Q. When Nik Kronwall was going through the series of injuries he did, did you talk to him about sort of helping him maintain his optimism or was he always on task, always focused about getting where he is now?
[Alanah’s Note: Transcript was cut off here… no response from Babcock is provided]
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