Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: mike babcock
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
During the course of a casual conversation a few years back, Marc Crawford was asked if the impact of an NHL coach could be measured in wins and losses.
Turned out Crawford had given this subject some thought. Without a lot of hesitation, the veteran hockey man said: “It’s seven to eight points a season.”
So there you go, Leafs fans. Your team just paid $50 million for a new coach and, if everything goes right, they’ll improve from 68 to 76 points next season. Surely that must be worth three hours of discussion on the panel.
The Leafs, of course, have become the newest test case for one of hockey’s enduring questions: Does a coach really make that much of a difference? In signing Mike Babcock to a groundbreaking eight-year, $50-million deal, they certainly made coaches all over the NHL happy. But is Babcock the man who can end half a century of misery in The Big Smoke? Can he, through his mere presence, alter the course of this cursed franchise?
You have to admit, it’s a helluva question. We just wish we could give you a helluva answer.
To put it indelicately, Don Cherry is going ga-ga over Mike Babcock, and while he insists that Babcock is no messiah, Cherry spent 85% of this Coach's Corner praising Babcock, praising Babcock, and also praising Babcock as the best coach in the world and the coach who will bring Canadians and Ontario natives to "Canada's team":
What can you expect from Mike Babcock...
- Honesty, to the point that it may hurt at times.
- Frustration, come on Mike, play someone else, he deserves the ice time.
- Fantastic- One of his buzz words.
- Compassion for the game and his team.
- Won't disclose much, it stays in the room.
- If he does disclose, there is a reason behind it.
- If a player sits, it is because he does not give your team the best chance to win.
- Bottom line, winning, in the end that is what counts most.
Below, the opening of Mike Babcock's presser with the Detroit media.
The end of Mike Babcock's media tour took him to Sportsnet's Hockey Night in Canada studios, where he sat down with George Strombolopolous for an 11-minute interview that aired during the 1st intermission:
If it's possible to make Mike Babcock feel warm and fuzzy, and if it's possible for Mike Babcock to make himself seem fuzzy, this is as close as it's gonna get.
It is scheduled to begin at 11:00am ET but there may be some talk before the conference begins.
Watch below and you have three options...
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
When it comes to employment, most people have a salary in mind at which point the money becomes too much to turn down.
That's the simplest explanation for why Mike Babcock left a coaching job he loved with the Detroit Red Wings to become coach of a Toronto Maple Leafs team with myriad roster problems.
Several media outlets are reporting that Babcock, 52, will receive $50 million over eight seasons, with much of the deal front-loaded.
That $6.25 million average salary is more than three times what Babcock ($2 million) earned this season in Detroit, and it is more than twice the salary of Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who was the highest paid coach at $2.75 million per season.
Undoubtedly, Babcock, a proud Canadian, is intrigued by becoming the coach of one the NHL's most storied franchises and the challenge of helping team president Brendan Shanahan build a team that could win the team's first Stanley Cup since 1967.
from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
Don Cherry conducted his usual "Coach's Corner" during Wednesday's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, and he's changed his tune about Mike Babcock:
Coaching the Leafs will require an inordinate amount of patience, until the player talent matches the organization’s Stanley Cup ambitions. This then will be the ultimate test for Babcock who, 13 years and 950 games into his NHL coaching career, has never quite faced the challenge that Toronto will pose. There are not many coaches more competitive than Babcock. How he handles the challenge of those early dark days will be a sight to behold.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail on Mike Babcock in Toronto. Read more on this topic.
MLSE President Tim Leiweke talks about his pride for Brendan Shanahan, who he says with the Babcock signing proved he’s a great president.
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
Brendan Shanahan, President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced today that Mike Babcock has been named the 30th head coach in the club’s history. Babcock, 52, joins the Leafs after serving as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings for the past 10 seasons.
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons is concerned that the Toronto Maple Leafs may have to give up too much of their "futures" to build a new coaching and management team:
Word around is that the eventual hiring of a Leafs GM may also come with some kind of compensation price. Possibly a second-round draft pick? Possibly a third-round draft pick?
The Red Wings already established the price on a Mike Babcock hiring as a third-round pick and now that it seems Babcock is likely to return as Detroit coach, what becomes the price to hire AHL coach Jeff Blashill, who is under contract to Detroit?
While once upon a time, the elevation from a senior position in one organization to a GM or coaching job elsewhere was considered part of the game and encouraged, that isn’t the case any longer and anyone under contract elsewhere cannot freely hired by the Leafs.
So [team president Brendan] Shanahan must balance the worth of a GM and coach against the value of a draft pick.
And at a time when picks are precious and about all the Leafs have, how much is too much in compensation?
Simmons continues with the usual abundance of hockey and sports notes...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
If I had to put money on an early front-runner, I’d pick the Oilers given the exciting new direction of the team plus Connor McDavid's arrival in June. Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson has strong ties with Babcock from their Team Canada Olympic tournaments. New GM Peter Chiarelli intends to speak with Babcock soon.
The Sabres will make a push, too, with GM Tim Murray having ties to Babcock from hiring him to his first NHL head coaching job back in the Anaheim Ducks days.
And Sabres owner Terry Pegula won’t be shy to spend money.
There’s also Toronto, of course, but for me the Maple Leafs are only a serious player if they slap down crazy, crazy money. Their outlook isn’t as advanced as the Oilers or Sabres in terms of a rebuilding roster.
Could the Philadelphia Flyers or San Jose Sharks or another team make a call? No question, I would bet on it.
Detroit remains very much part of the mix, too. Babcock's desire to speak to other teams and what he ends up hearing from them may only re-affirm his realization of how good he has it with the Red Wings.
I had no intention of making the KK Hockey section 'The Babcock News' today so if you want everything that transpired today, check out The Malik Report where George did a great job on this topic.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Babcock faces the paradox of choice – more options, more anxiety. No matter which team he chooses, he will be turning down great opportunities elsewhere. If he leaves Detroit, he will be leaving an owner who has treated him well, a GM with whom he has worked well, a team with which he has won a Cup, a city his kids have called home. He will be saying somewhere else is better than a place he loves.
He needs to talk to his wife. He needs to talk to Holland. Maybe his wife tells him to stay. Maybe the Wings increase their offer and convince him the roster can contend for the Cup in the coming years. Maybe he needs to talk to other teams before he can evaluate, let alone decide. We can speculate, but he can’t explore his options legally until his contract expires July 1 – unless the Wings give him permission.
“I’m flattered,” Babcock said. “I really am. But my wife and I will go through a process, and Kenny and I will go through a process, and within 10 days we’ll have a plan. I’m not letting this go forever and ever. Kenny will decide what we do.”
Gonna be a long 10 days. At least.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
While the spotlight entering the final two weeks of the NHL regular season is focused squarely on the enticing playoff races in both conferences, there are a handful of general managers and coaches who are primed for a blindfold and last cigarette.
And the reading of the last rites, of course.
Indeed, there is no shortage of men who are playing out the string over the next 14 days, all the while knowing that their tenure with their respective teams is coming to an inevitable end.
Whether it be the Leafs, Sharks, Flyers, Bruins, Devils, Sabres, Blues, etc., there are axes being sharpened throughout the league, poised to come down as part of various housecleanings going on from coast to coast.
And, according to one Eastern Conference executive, the catalyst for many of the ensuing moves could be Mike Babcock.
continued with a look at teams who could use Mike Babcock's services...
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Until Mike Babcock commits to the Detroit Red Wings going forward, the Maple Leafs are of the belief there remains a considerable chance he will be their coach next season.
They are of the mind — and you can doubt this all you want, and I have — that in Babcock’s world of decision making it’s Detroit first, Toronto second, everywhere else after that.
The notion that Babcock wants no part of a rebuild is dismissed by MLSE upper sources. They believe Babcock has the mentality of a mountain climber. He loves the great challenge. And this is comparable to being at the base of the impossible mountain.
“This is a man who loves challenges,” said an MLSE source. “What challenge in hockey is bigger than this?”
continued plus more topics...
Amongst the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' Sunday hockey and/or sports-related notes, which mostly involve the Toronto Maple Leafs:
If you break down the Cody Franson-Mike Santorelli trade, it’s basically Franson for a late first-round pick and Santorelli for the prospect Brendan Leipsic. The Leafs had a very extensive book on Leipsic, partly because personnel man Mark Hunter had his London Knights play against him in the Memorial Cup. Leipsic is known for three things: 1) being small; 2) being ultra-competitive; 3) having ridiculous ‘he could stickhandle in a phone booth’ hands...
Coaches that interest the Leafs: Still working division: Mike Babcock, Todd McLellan; Ken Hitchcock; Dave Tippett; Out of work division: Peter DeBoer. Seemingly no interest: Dan Bylsma...
The Leafs also have some interest in Alexander Burmistrov, the troubled high draft pick playing in the KHL, whose rights are owned by Winnipeg...
I'm intrigued by Burmistrov myself--he's 23 and liberally-listed at 6' and 179 pounds, and he hasn't exactly lit it up during two seasons with the Ak Bars Kazan, but he's still fleet-footed as all hell get out, and he could be somebody's next-year reclamation project.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alexander+burmistrov, carey+price, cody+franson, dan+bylsma, dave+tippett, hart+trophy, ken+hitchcock, mike+babcock, mike+santorelli, montreal+canadiens, nashville+predators, pete+deboer, todd+mclellan, toronto+maple+leafs, winnipeg+jets
"I thought their shot clock was screwed up. When we hit the net it's supposed to count (as a shot), when they miss the net it's not supposed to count. We (won't) worry about that. The NHL can figure that out."
-Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings on the Florida Panther's shot clock. More on the Wings and their pnealty kill problems from Ansar Khan of Mlive.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Upon seeing a familiar ink-stained wretch from Toronto strolling around in the bowels of Buffalo’s First Niagara Center earlier this week, Mike Babcock couldn’t help but have some fun.
“Hey, did you hear the reports? I’m going to Philadelphia!” a grinning Babcock joked to Sun Media.
You have to give Babcock credit. Rather than wilt under all this speculation regarding his future, the Red Wings coach is having fun with it.
That’s not to say the Flyers don’t have significant interest in Babcock. Indeed, when the likes of TSN’s Darren Dreger, one of the most credible hockey journalists out there, suggests Philly could make a significant pitch for Babcock this summer, well, where there’s smoke, there very likely is fire.
And with Babcock said to be looking for a huge payday, the Maple Leafs immediately come into play, since the one thing MLSE does have is deep pockets.
But here’s the thing: As much as the rumour mill will only continue to turn around Babcock, he’s not going to make a decision until the off-season -- if he doesn’t re-sign in Detroit first, that is.
continued plus more hockey topics...
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' Sunday notebook is quite good, and it includes another take on Phil Kessel's worth, a note about the "analytics department" teams' coaching records (with an emphasis on "coaches," plural), and a great quip from Randy Carlyle about the coach-critiquing business, but given Carlyle's status and the Maple Leafs' desire to hire a head coach after this season, this seems like the most appropriate place to start:
[Mike] Babcock is a pending free agent who wants big money and a big opportunity to win wherever he ends up coaching next hockey season — assuming he leaves Detroit, which isn’t in any way certain.
The Leafs can offer up money. They can’t guarantee contender status.
That leaves the Leafs open to playing a different waiting game of sorts. Rather than wait for the available free agent, they will monitor the list of those who potentially could be out of work at season’s end.
High on their list of candidates are Todd McLellan in San Jose and Dave Tippett in Arizona. Should either of those coaches be let go, the Leafs would likely act quickly. The same is certainly true in St. Louis, should Ken Hitchcock’s Blues be eliminated again in the first round of the playoffs and a change be made there. And the least likely candidate is Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim, a Leafs lover who has had a history of terrific regular seasons and not-so-terrific post seasons.
This much is obvious: The Leafs had little interest in Barry Trotz and Peter Laviolette, who have gone into Washington and Nashville and made an immediate impact. The internal belief was Randy Carlyle was equal to, if not better than, either of those coaches.
Should the Caps and Predators qualify for the post-season and the Leafs fall short, that decision by club president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Dave Nonis will have proven, if it hasn’t already, to be incorrect.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: barry+trotz, detroit+red+wings, mike+babcock, nashville+predators, peter+laviolette, phoenix+coyotes, randy+carlyle, san+jose+sharks, todd+mclellan, toronto+maple+leafs, washington+capitals
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Leafs are known to covet Babcock, and as one of the NHL's billion-dollar franchises, they have the money to pay him whatever he wants. The Wings, however, have an owner in Mike Ilitch who repeatedly has shown that he'll pay to keep the talent he wants. The Wings are prepared to give Babcock the $3 million annually that would make him the NHL's highest-paid coach, and to offer it for five years.
Babcock and Holland won't directly talk publicly about the subject, but Babcock reiterated today what he has said many times before: He is happy in Detroit.
And why not? He has a competitive team highlighted by superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and many young, talented players. He did speak again, also, of how big of a difference it'd make to add a quality defenseman who shoots right-handed.
Babcock can leave players checking their self-esteem at times, but ultimately, they know he does it for a reason.
via WILX.com (Lansing, MI),
Screenshot just in case the story is, you know, deleted.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Never mind that he has fewer Stanley Cup titles than either Joel Quenneville or Darryl Sutter, neither of whom is considered a better coach than Babcock.
He — like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Drew Doughty, the largest stars in hockey — has won two Olympic gold medals, under two vary different circumstances, the most recent a triumph to coaching and order in hockey.
Babcock has his one Stanley Cup ring, twice lost in the final, once in Anaheim, once to Crosby with Pittsburgh, but is generally considered the No. 1 coach in hockey. And, coming up, the top free agent coach in hockey history.
That’s what makes this season of Babcock-watching and speculation so fascinating. The basic truth is, if Babcock wanted to stay with the Red Wings, and considering his long-term history with general manager, Ken Holland, that deal would be made by now.
It would have taken about a half-an-hour to get that done.
I kind of "stole" the prime quotes from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column for my Malik Report overnight entry, but I smiled broadly and nearly laughed out loud form the Blog Cave while reading Holland tell Matheson the same dang thing--almost word for word--that Babcock's been repeating to journalists and radio talk show hosts who can't or won't believe that Babcock will remain with Detroit when he can coach anywhere he wants after his contract's up a summer from now:
“I don’t believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence … I believe he’s happy in Detroit, but there are options,” said Holland, whose contract is also up next July, but will certainly get a new one from owner Mike Ilitch.
Holland has got the Red Wings into the playoffs in each of his 17 seasons. There were three Stanley Cup championships in 1998, 2002 and 2008, plus a Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
Late-season rallies were required to keep a 23-year playoff streak alive while the Red Wings integrated lots of young players — Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurko, Danny DeKeyser — into the lineup each of the last two years.
“Two years ago, we won our last four games to get into the playoffs. This year, we got in again (despite a terrible run of injuries),” said Holland. “Mike’s a tremendous coach, if not the best coach in the league, then one of the best.”
Matheson's main column focuses on Babcock and Holland, but he also included this nugget of wisdom from Ottawa Senators assistant coach Perry Pern (regarding Barry Trotz's attempts to get Alex Ovechkin to "buy in" to playing defense, as Matheson addressed in a Sunday afternoon column):
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, barry+trotz, detroit+red+wings, george+mcphee, julien+brisebois, ken+holland, kris+letang, marian+hossa, mike+babcock, montreal+candiens, perry+pearn, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, pk+subban, pk+subban, ray+shero, washington+capitals
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Since when did Mike Babcock become the next Scotty Bowman?
There seems to be sentiment out there that Babcock, the Detroit Red Wings coach, would solve all that ails the Penguins. That belief is so strong among many in the Penguins fan base that they virtually are willing to write off next season to wait for Babcock, who has a year left on his contract and said he won’t leave Detroit until after the youngest of his three children graduates from high school next spring. That’s crazy for a couple of reasons. One, Babcock might not leave Detroit at all. And two, he’s not another Bowman, who won nine Stanley Cups as a coach and four more as an administrator. No one is, of course....
By some measurables, Bylsma has been a more successful NHL coach than Babcock. Bylsma’s regular-season winning percentage is .670, Babcock’s with Detroit, .654. Bylsma’s playoff winning percentage is .551, Babcock’s with Detroit, .557. Since 2009, when Bylsma’s Penguins beat Babcock’s Red Wings to win the Cup in seven games, the “underachieving” Penguins have gone 4-5 in postseason series, the Red Wings, 3-5. The Red Wings won the Cup in 2008 under Babcock, beating Michel Therrien’s Penguins in six games.
Many will say not to blame Babcock for the Red Wings coming up short the past five seasons, that the team didn’t have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. But a strong argument can be made that Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom (for the first three of the five seasons) provided a pretty solid foundation in Detroit. If the Penguins underachieved, didn’t the Red Wings?
One of the more compelling reasons being pushed for the Penguins trying to get Babcock at all costs is that he would make Crosby happy.
The CBC's Elliotte Friedman just posted his "30 Thoughts" column, and after wondering how the Penguins will be able to keep all of their unrestricted free agents-to-be, even with the rising cap (they won't be able to do so--a trade will be necessary or people will walk), he offers more than a few intriguing observations. Among them:
1. Just for comparison: the 2012-13 cap was $70.2 million, similar to what we're expecting next season. Chicago won with its top-three salaried players (Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews) taking 26 per cent. Kane and Toews can be extended this summer, with the new deals beginning in 2015-16. That percentage is going to go up, but by how much? They took almost $5 million less than Crosby/Malkin per season on their second deals, critical to their second Stanley Cup (and maybe more). Western Conference opponents are expecting to deal with them for eight additional years. "I hope [their salary number] starts with a nine," one rival exec laughed.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: anaheim+ducks, chris+osgood, dale+weise, detroit+red+wings, evgeni+malkin, john+gibson, jonathan+toews, mario+lemieux, mike+babcock, milan+lucic, patrick+kane, pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero, sidney+crosby
via Don Cherry tweets,
Everybody's blaming Fleury for the loss to Columbus, saying here we go again. They don't realize shots were 46-25. It certainly wasn't all Fleury's fault. And I really do believe Crosby is hurt.
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
Does he want a chance at a threepeat as Canada's head coach?
"That's a real good question that you can ask me again in three years," the 50-year-old head coach of the Detroit Red Wings said. "I don't have a clue at this point. I still perceive myself as a young guy. I plan on coaching for a while yet. We'll see what happens.
"There are great, great coaches in Canada. If someone else deserves the opportunity, they should get it. If I'm still in the running at that time, we'll see. Only time will tell."
more from Babcock on different topics and other hockey notes too...
The video is just short of 22 minutes.
Mike Babcock, coach of Team Canada and Ted Nolan, coach ofTeam Latvia, met with the media for just over 13 minutes after Canada's 2-1 win.
You can watch it below...
Team Canada received a bye to the Olympic quarterfinals, so they won't play again until Wednesday, but coach Mike Babcock feels that he shouldn't have tip his hat as to his personnel decisions early simply because the media wants him to:
Team Canada coach Mike Babcock engaged in a fine jousting effort with the Canadian scribes trying to divine Babcock's lineup plans ahead of tomorrow's game against Finland (12 PM EST, CBC/USA Network), as the Winnipeg Free Press's Gary Lawless noted:
On what lineup changes he’ll make:
"I’ve got lots of plans, but the day is young. I haven’t been to curling yet. I haven’t been to the Russian game. We’ll see what happens. To me, we want to have the best team so the stats on any one player don’t matter to me and I don’t think they matter that much to the players. If you ask me enough questions and we stay here until nine o’clock you might get something from me. We’re talking about lineup tomorrow."
Less than a minute long, but Babcock now has me confused.
Christine Simpson of Sportsnet had a short chat with Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock discussing the remarks from Ed Snider.
Mike Babcock joined Sportnet's Hockey Central at Noon and talked Team Canada.
He also mentioned Datsyuk returning to the Wings on Thursday around the 13:50 mark.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Mike Babcock likes to say that gold-medal preparation yields gold-medal results. The players who were with him at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics can claim that they have their gold medals in part because of that very philosophy.
Canada won gold four years ago and will try to defend it next month with Babcock behind the bench at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
"Everything was laid out there for us when we got to the Olympics," Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith told NHL.com. "We were very well-prepared in what we wanted to accomplish on the ice as far as our systems and the way we wanted to play as a team. It was also communicated to us very clearly about what the other team's tendencies were, how they played their systems and the players on their team. That was one thing that stood out for me was how well prepared we were as players."
That preparation has players like Keith and the 10 others who played for Canada in Vancouver trusting that Babcock again is the ideal coach for them in a short tournament.
While his success in the NHL is well known -- Babcock is a Stanley Cup champion (2008), a three-time Cup Finalist (2003, 2008, 2009) and the third-fastest coach in history to reach 400 wins, behind Scotty Bowman and Glen Sather -- he has had great success in international tournaments.
Mike Babcock on Team Canada...
added 12:28pm, I sort of like this translation from Sport Express on Babcock,
- We have composed a really good selection of artists - leads TSN words Babcock. - And we have everything to be a cool team.
“He views asking people for information as a strength, not a weakness, and as something that can make him and the country better.”
“You couldn’t get a more loyal guy to work with. He’s very loyal to us [coaches], he’s loyal to the players and he’s very loyal to the country."
-Ken Hitchcock on Team Canada Head Coach Mike Babcock. More on Babcock from Doug Harrison of CBC.
He is the best and most consistent coach in the game. He is probably the NHL’s equivalent of Don Shula, the legendary Hall of Fame coach of the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins. Bum Phillips once said Shula could take “his’n and beat your’n, and then take your’n and beat his’n.” While Phillips was grammatically challenged, it’s clear what he meant and the same thing applies to Babcock.
In addition to being a Stanley Cup winner, he has also won Olympic gold as Canada’s head coach in 2010, and he was selected to serve in that capacity again in 2014. When it comes to motivation, teaching, strategy and matchups, Babcock is without peer.
No team gave the Blackhawks more of a run for their money than the undermanned Detroit Red Wings, and the Blackhawks and the rest of the Western Conference are thrilled that the Wings have moved to the Eastern Conference.
-Steve Silverman of CBS Chicago on ranking Mike Babcock as the #1 coach in the NHL. Continue reading for coaches #2-5...
“Players want to play. Owners want to play. Managers, coaches, everybody wants to play. So let’s get it figured out and let’s get playing.”
-Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. More from Babcock by Mark Spector of Sportsnet.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
“We have a great, storied franchise and we’ve just found a way year after year to win, and we’re going to continue to do that,'' Babcock said Friday. “When I came here (in 2005-06), I was talking to some other teams and (general manager) Kenny Holland said to me at the time, ‘You’re coming here because of Mr. Ilitch (owner Mike), Kenny Holland and (assistant GM) Jim Nill. I don’t know how we’re going to do it, we’re just going to do it.’
“That’s what I think now. I don’t know how we’re going to do it, we’re just going to do it.''
To get to where they want to be, they need help on defense, where the departures of Nicklas Lidstrom (retirement) and Brad Stuart (signed with San Jose) leave a big void. They will add promising rookie Brendan Smith to the mix, but they still have only five experienced defensemen.
“On the back end, we don’t have enough depth,'' Babcock said. “You got (Brian) Rafalski and Stuart and Lidstrom all leaving the club in just over a year, that’s a chunk of cheese leaving. Now we have to replace them with people that step up. There’s opportunity for others.
“(Niklas) Kronwall and (Jonathan) Ericsson will do that. We think Smith has a chance.''
thanks to Puck Daddy for the video.
from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,
Q. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but almost nobody is picking you guys to beat Nashville. I saw on ESPN, 11 of 12 experts took the Predators.
A. This is what I know about the experts — they get paid to make those decisions. But I’m here to tell you, I coach in the league and I have no idea about most of these series. They’re that tight.
Q. I figured a coach might like that motivational aspect. Do you find it strange being an underdog?
A. I just think sometimes that’s reality. We’re playing a real good team. They’ve loaded up, they’re deep and their goalie (Pekka Rinne) is huge.
But we’re deep too. I’m really excited about the fact (Darren) Helm will be available. You have no idea how much better coach I become when you put people in the right places. Without him, we’re not slotted as good.
Q. So, can you calm a nervous Hockeytown? The Wings have overcome a bunch of injuries, but I get the sense people don’t think there’s gonna be a run this year.
A. This is what I’d say to you — going into the summer, (GM) Kenny Holland and I talked a lot, and we didn’t even know if we’d make the playoffs. Then as the year went on, I said this is the best opportunity for any team I’ve coached since ‘09 (when the Wings lost in the Cup finals to the Penguins).
from Louis Aguilar of the Detroit News,
Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock expressed frustration Tuesday that the state government is not supporting plans to build a new hockey arena in downtown Detroit and vaguely referred to a development connected to it — a mall.
“A new facility, no question,” Babcock said Tuesday morning on a 97.1 The Ticket, an FM sports radio talk show, when asked if he preferred that the Wings continue to play at Joe Louis Arena or at a new arena.
“If we want the city to come back, we got to revitalize downtown. And a big part of that’s going to be the new arena, and the mall and the stuff going around it,” he said. “And that’s very important. That’s why we need the state to jump onside. The sooner the better, if we’re going to revitalize Michigan. It’s got to start right here in Detroit.”
An Olympia Entertainment spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment.
“That’s a different time and different era and different players, different teams, different depth in the league,” Babcock said. “Now there’s a whole bunch of good teams, not a couple in each side. It’s way different even than seven years ago, when I came here. It’s night-and-day different than when I arrived in the league 10 years ago. Things have changed. I don’t know how you compare that.
“Any time you can win 20 games in a row, you’ve done something. That’s just the facts. My first year here, I don’t know how many games we won, we never did it. Scotty (Bowman’s) team here won 62 games, they never did it. So obviously, it’s very difficult to do, and we feel fortunate that we’ve done it, because we needed the points.”
-Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings on some people questioning the Wings’ 20 game home winning streak. More from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
As they prepare to take on the Canadiens Wednesday at the Bell Centre, the Red Wings are the league’s best club and one of the early favourites to challenge for the Stanley Cup.
Babcock has joked that he’s strong on R&D; in his case, that is rob and do. Even today, with his remarkable pedigree, he admits he’s a shameless thief.
“I’m borrowing all the time,” Babcock said Tuesday. “We’re in constant change. It was on purpose that I hired guys who hadn’t been in the NHL before.”
It’s this kind of progressive, outside-the-box thinking that has made Babcock one of hockey’s elite coaches, arguably its best, and the only winner of the game’s trifecta: the Stanley Cup, Olympic Games and world championship.
As he began his search for new assistants, Babcock pored over Geoff Colvin’s bestselling Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else.
“The book talked about all the young, enthusiastic people who were outdoing the old veterans,” he said. “So I asked myself, ‘Why wouldn’t I do that?’ I found guys who won at the levels they were at with new ideas, and tried to get ideas that way.
“(Detroit general manager) Ken Holland and I were discussing the direction we were going and we wanted to change our approach. I was going to be in my seventh year with Detroit. You get to be like Charlie Brown’s teacher after awhile.
“We’re averaging 1.7 (goals) against at home, and we’re averaging 2.8 on the road. You can’t win without checking. It’s impossible. It doesn’t work like that.
“You can’t outscore your mistakes. You’ve got to be diligent without the puck if you’re to have success.”
-Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. More on the Wings from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press.