The Malik Report
by Paul on 05/19/13 at 07:30 PM ET
from Corey Masisak of NHL.com,
"The growth of Smith and Kindl has been huge for us," Babcock said. "Ericsson has gotten much better. We seem to have people rounded into playing in spots that suit them better.
"I talked about when DeKeyser came, he helped us immensely. Whenever we got confidence or got playing better, we were able to maintain it when he left to a certain level -- we still don't move the puck the same, but I just think we're a better team. We weren't a good team at the start."
Another big move for the Red Wings was the rise of forward Justin Abdelkader. He was one of the kids when Detroit made back-to-back trips to the Cup Final in 2008 and '09, but Abdelkader had seemed to settle in as a bottom-six forward.
That changed when Babcock tried him on a line with Datsyuk, and he's now a critical element of the team's top trio.
"He's been a dominant physical guy for us and made us a better team," Babcock said. "It took us a long time to figure out where everybody fit best. There were lots of changes, new guys that we brought in that didn't fit the way we thought they were, or were better than we thought they were. We've just kind of watched it happen."
much more from Babcock...
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