The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/31/13 at 04:46 AM ET
Red Wings fans tend to view their team's bench boss as, well, theirs, but Babcock engaged in a little Q and A with TSN prior to the Red Wings-Canucks tilt, and he barely discussed his "day job."
Wednesday marked the 100-days-and-counting mark to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and NHL.com's Dan Rosen profiled Babcock as Team Canada's coach and man at the helm as the team attempts to defend its 2010 gold medal. Babcock himself plays something of a supporting role, with Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson, Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman, would-be assistant coach Ken Hitchcock and likely roster player Sidney Crosby about Babcock's value to the "team."
I'm more intrigued by the coach as his lessons learned working for Hockey Canada apply to the Wings, however, and Babcock duly noted that he believes in the old R&D = Rob and Do philosophy when speaking with Fox Sports Detroit regarding his interactions with CEO's, other hockey executives, players, teams, etc. etc. prior to the Wings-Canucks game.
Rosen asks Babcock about his mantra for the 2010 games...
"Steady on the rudder," Babcock said when asked what he learned in Vancouver. "There's going to be adversity. The greatest plan on your napkin is going to be thrown out after Game 1 and you're going to have to adjust. But just do what you do."
And, after a significant amount of praise from his conteporaries, Rosen comes back to Babcock to ask him why he chose to take a page out of Tom Izzo's book and have his 46 Olympic Orientation campers play ball hockey in Calgary last August:
"I believe if you have gold-medal preparation the results look after themselves," Babcock said.
To get the results, Babcock feels he has to have a direct approach with the players. He does things quickly and they have to catch on just as fast.
"He knows what he wants," Scott Niedermayer, Canada's captain at the 2010 Olympics, told NHL.com. "You don't have a lot of time to go through things [at the Olympics], work things out. The way that tournament happens, it comes at you pretty quick. He was direct, not a lot of gray area, this is how we're going to do it, and he did a good job. He got us all on the same page."
Babcock will have to do it again once the team assembles in Sochi. There will be adversity, lineup changes and perhaps a goaltending controversy like there was in Vancouver. Babcock will have to deal with the pressure of expectations while trying to guide his team through some stiff competition.
People around him in Sochi and fans back in Canada undoubtedly will overreact at the smallest detail in a game and the most inconsequential decision he makes. Nobody knows better than Babcock what his team is up against, but he won't wonder about his approach or waver in his beliefs. That's why he's back behind Canada's bench.
"Being through a lot of opportunities in the past, having experience allows you to be calmer, more sure of your plan and steadier for longer," Babcock said.
I hope that kind of philosophy continues to pay off for the team he coaches as his "day job," too.
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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.