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Cotsonika offers a definitive profile of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock

Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika wrote one helluva profile of Wings coach Mike Babcock, and like Babcock himself, it pulls no punches while leaning heavily upon the impressions Babcock has made upon Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl:

The Wings made the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season, winning their last four games to get in. They upset the second-seeded Ducks in the first round, coming back from 2-1 and 3-2 series deficits to win in seven games. They entered Monday night tangled in a 1-1 tie with the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks, responding to a 4-1 loss with a 4-1 win.

“He’s one of the best coaches in the NHL for a reason,” said defenseman Jakub Kindl.

It’s not because he’s warm and fuzzy. It has been an open secret around the Wings that Babcock has clashed with players for years now, from the top to the bottom of the roster. He has clashed with management this season, too, about how certain players are used and the composition of the roster, often issuing public reminders of how much less he has at his disposal. But is that a negative? Or is that a positive? Or does your perception depend on the results?

Scotty Bowman clashed with players. Scotty Bowman clashed with management. Scotty Bowman won more games and more championships than anyone in NHL history. He won three of his nine Cups as a coach with the Wings, and he won one of his 11 Cups total as a senior advisor to the Blackhawks. Though he is on Joel Quenneville’s side in this series, he has been a mentor to Babcock and remains an example for him.

“Scotty Bowman loved the players – absolutely loved them – but he had a job to do,” Babcock said. “Mike Babcock loves the players. When you’re pushing people who don’t want to be pushed, sometimes they don’t like it. I’m here to tell you: When you look at the group of coaches who are still playing right now, they’re pushing their people. That’s just the reality. Whether that’s perceived as positive or negative …”


“See, in my world, that’s positive,” he said.

Cotsonika continues at signifcant length, but his story is more than worth your time.

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SYF's avatar

Love it.  Definitely the kind of coach I grew up playing for in my youth and certainly the kind of coach I’d want my kids to play for.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 05/20/13 at 03:09 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Most interesting thing is the possibility that’s raised about it being as much Babcock growing and learning as it is the Kids.

Posted by Primis on 05/20/13 at 03:45 PM ET

gowings's avatar

Wow. Just a great article. Anybody that reads his book will also know that this is the way he was raised. Whether people/players like him or not,it’s hard to find people in general that not only want to help themselves, but help others.

It also helps to understand why White is still sitting. You can hate the coach, but if you refuse to help yourself, then there will be no mercy

Posted by gowings from MTL on 05/20/13 at 04:35 PM ET

Sweet Jesus's avatar

It also helps to understand why White is still sitting. You can hate the coach, but if you refuse to help yourself, then there will be no mercy

Sure does.  Sounds like his ass is glued to the—I’d say “bench,” but I mean “chair in the pressbox.” 

I love Babs.  Wouldn’t have anyone else.

Posted by Sweet Jesus on 05/20/13 at 05:50 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.