Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: more talk of changes to come and some coaching controversy

Beware: An auto-play highlight clip lurks within: Ye Olde Stomach-slash-Sinus virus hit me again on Wednesday, so I apparently slept through some controversy.

With the vast majority of the Wings' locker room clean-out day comments having already been made, the Detroit News's John Niyo's column suggesting that Mike Babcock might "have an out," as an unrestricted free agent-coach-to-be.

On Wednesday afternoon, Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery spoke with Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika about Babcock and the Wings' offseason changes to come...

As something of a set-up for this:

The Free Press's Evil Drew Sharp also focused on Babcock's future this morning...

Mike Babcock is playing this smart, letting everyone know that he’s perfectly comfortable without a contract extension beyond next summer.

That inevitably will ignite that special “if you’re not for us, you’re against us” Detroit parochialism. But Babcock would be crazy to sign a new deal with the Red Wings now because, like everybody else, he can’t be sure what direction the Wings are headed following another abbreviated playoff spring.

It’s basically a message to general manager Ken Holland: Show me what you’ve got this summer.

Are they bold? Or are they boring?

And then Sharp went doofy...

This could prove to be a very interesting summer in the NHL, with early rumblings that two superstars could be on the trading block — Nashville’s Shea Weber and Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin.

Nashville general manager David Poile told the Tennessean recently that he has no interest in trading the Predators’ captain, despite Weber’s monstrously front-loaded 14-year contract, which pays him $42 million in salary and bonuses over the next four years.

Weber would fit perfectly with the Wings — a bruising yet skilled, right-handed-shooting No. 1 defenseman with one of the harder shots in the game. That would look nice on the power play, wouldn’t it?

Weber would also cost the Wings an arm, leg, kidney, heart, the barn and all the horses in it. It's not going to happen, and Ovechkin would be equally expensive for something of a post-Anna Kournikova Sergei Fedorov (i.e. not as good as a player whose priorities were on the ice prior to being a rock star).

My "gut" tells me that Matt Niskanen won't even make the free agent marketplace, so I believe that the Wings will end up either signing an aging-but-relatively-effective Dan Boyle, or that they'll trade for Alex Edler at a severely discounted price (getting Christian Ehrhoff would be complicated due to the in-division dynamics), and while the Wings will have oodles of cap space, I don't believe that they'll go after any forwards with Mitchell Callahan and Landon Ferraro out of waiver options (the same is true for Adam Almquist, but the team seems to have soured on him).

Ken Holland did make an appearance on WDFN's Matt Sheppard show--for 20 minutes...And his slightly angry standoffishness is rare to hear, and perhaps a little refreshing. I don't agree with every aspect of Holland's philosophy, but he's realized that this spring's playoff failures mean that he has to back it up with offseason moves:

And he also spoke with Fox 17's Steve Amorose prior to Wednesday night's Griffins game (hit "pause" after you watch this or it will rotate through the next Fox 17 video):

 

 

 

In terms of this morning's topics of note:

I know that many of you weighed in on Jonas Gustavsson's future, and MLive's Brendan Savage also spoke to Gustavsson regarding his desire to remain in Detroit...

"It's been really fun, a great group of guys and I see a lot of potential here so yeah, I can see it," Gustavsson said Tuesday after the Red Wings cleaned out their lockers following a first-round playoff loss to the Boston Bruins. "I like it here. If they want me, at that point we would talk about what they want, terms and all that. But like I said, I like it here. I could absolutely see myself playing here for 10-15 more years because I had a lot of fun and as I said, a great group and a really good organization."

As well as his desire to eventually be an NHL starter:

"Obviously I think every athlete wants to be as good as they can be and reach as high as they can," he said. "But that being said, it's not like I can go out on the open market and demand a starting role somewhere because there are a lot of good goalies and you gotta compete to get to that point. I'm just going to try to go where I can feel like I can take that next step. It could be here and if so, that's great. And if nothing happens here then you look at other stuff."

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness also spoke with Gustavsson about the numerous injuries he's battled over the past two seasons:

“I mean it’s been a lot of injuries, you don’t want to have those for yourself and for your team,” Gustavsson said Tuesday during the Wings’ locker cleanout at Joe Louis Arena. “You want to be out there to be able to be part of the team every day, every day of the season so of course that sets me back. I’m going to keep working on it to prevent injuries like that.”

Gustavsson has missed a total of 23 games on five separate occasions with three different types of injuries last season.

...

“I felt like I found a way that was working for me at the end of the season so hopefully I can build on that,” Gustavsson said. “The groin felt really good for the second part of the season for the most part so that’s something I’m going to keep working on and that’s something I need for myself too because I want to be playing at a high level for a long time and I want to try to take the next step and that’s part of taking the next step.”

Pleiness noted that Holland was ambivalent about Gustavsson's future...

“We might,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said when asked if the team will need to search for a backup goalie next season. “We believe we have a 60-game No. 1 goalie. Is Petr Mrazek, as a 22-year-old, better off playing 15-18 games in the NHL or is he better off playing 65 games in the AHL for one more year? That’s the internal conversation we’ve got to have.”

Mrazek has played in 11 regular season games in parts of of two years in Detroit going 3-5-0 with a 1.74 GAA and a save percentage of .927. Two of his wins were shutouts.

And Holland made a very, very wise comment about Wings fans' desire to see everybody else:

“Everybody is enamored with (Anthony) Mantha and Mrazek and the people that aren’t here,” Holland said. “Well, the people that are here now, we were enamored with those people three years ago. Now they’re here and (people) want to know who’s next. It’s human nature. That’s why I try to keep (prospects) out of here as long as possible because there’s big expectations when you play in the NHL, there’s passion, there’s emotion and when a player doesn’t live up to those expectations and that hope, people get down on them real fast.”

Again, as the Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted, while Babcock's a big Gustavsson fan, Mrazek's...Almost ready?

“We believe we’ve got a 60-game No. 1 goalie,” Detroit GM Ken Holland said of Howard. “Is Petr Mrazek, as a 22-year-old, better off playing 15-18 games in the NHL or is he better off playing 65 games in the AHL for one more year? That’s the internal conversation we’ve got to have.”

For the record, Gustavsson was upset about one thing and only one thing on Wednesday: He told Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom that Team Sweden coach Par Marts didn't even inform him that he wasn't going to be part of Sweden's World Championship team.

According to Gustavsson, he simply received an email press release the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation stating the team's goaltending situation, and while he's healthy and wants to play alongside Gustav Nyquist in Minsk, Belarus, he's been snubbed.

 

 

 

Regarding the World Championships, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted the Wings' participants...

The 17-day tournament in Minsk, Belarus begins May 9.

[Justin] Abdelkader and [Danny] DeKeyser will be joined in Minsk by Red Wings teammates Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), Tomas Tatar (Slovakia) and Gustav Nyquist (Sweden). Both Tatar and Nyquist played in the Sochi Olympics in February.

At least five other Red Wings were asked to play in the two-week tourney, but they declined offers for various reasons, including forward Tomas Jurco, who represented Slovakia at the Sochi Games, but the Red Wings decided to send him to Grand Rapids where he’ll help the Griffins defend their 2013 Calder Cup championship in the AHL playoffs.

...

Team USA asked Wings goalie Jimmy Howard to join the roster but his wife is expecting the couple’s second child soon. The same went for defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who turned down Sweden because of the recent birth of his son Douglas. And Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who are overcoming injuries, will not play in Belarus.

Johan Franzen's considering an offer from Team Sweden, but he and the Mrs. welcomed their second child recently...

Two groups of eight teams each will compete in a round-robin format among their group with the top four teams from each advancing to quarterfinals. NBC Sports Network will televise and stream all USA games beginning with the May 9 opener against the host team, Belarus, at 1:45 p.m. EDT.

The gold medal game is May 25, the same day that Red Wings legends Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom will be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Minsk.

MLive's Ansar Khan also took note of the Worlds' Detroit factor...

DeKeyser, 24, had four goals, 19 assists in 65 games during his rookie season. He averaged 21:38 in ice time and led the team’s defensemen with a plus-10 rating. He called it “a learning experience.”

“Just learned that an 82-game schedule is a grind,” DeKeyser said. “I didn’t even play 82 games and it was still a grind, so just have to be ready to play a lot, that many games next year.”

...

The playoff series was a struggle for Nyquist and Tatar, neither of whom registered a point after a breakout regular season. Nyquist (48 points) led the team with 28 goals and Tatar (39 points) was second with 19.

“Obviously, it (playoffs) is a different game," Tatar said. "Nobody did good in the series. It didn’t matter if you were a young guy or a veteran”

Jimmy Howard, who was on the U.S. Olympic team, has a good reason for not committing.

"My wife is eight months pregnant so she really doesn’t want me to be over in Belarus just in case anything happens," Howard said. "I’ll be sticking around here for a while."

As did the Free Press's Helene St. James, who focused on the Wings' American representatives:

DeKeyser, 24, is coming off of a very strong rookie NHL season that saw him produce 23 points in 65 games, along with a plus-10 rating.

Coach Mike Babcock said he thought DeKeyser "faded a bit in the playoffs, but I thought he was still strong." Babcock has been a vocal fan of DeKeyser since the defenseman joined the Wings out of Western Michigan a year ago, picking the Wings as his destination after being pursued by every team in the NHL. DeKeyser got into the lineup within days of practicing and looked at home thanks to his rangy skating and headsy play. He suffered a broken hand two games into the playoffs and ended up finishing the 2013 season helping Grand Rapids to the Calder Cup championship.

DeKeyser couldn't be sent to the Griffins this season without clearing waivers, so instead, he'll go compete against tons of other young NHL talent at worlds.

 

 

 

In the injury department, I had a bad feeling that Stephen Weiss was trying to "play through" his groin issues as he felt pressure to justify his big contract with the Wings, and in this instance, being "proved right" was an awful feeling.

Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji took note of some particularly revelatory locker room clean-out-day comments from Weiss:

"Coming down for the first game of the year and thinking, 'How are you going to get through the game?' is probably not the right way to start," Weiss said Tuesday. "It's not my first year. I've been around a bit and should be a little bit smarter, and should have spoken up earlier. Maybe some of this could have been avoided."

Weiss, 31, was limited to 26 games this past season and underwent surgery in Philadelphia on Dec. 23.

Although Weiss expected to be able to return after the Olympic break, he was still experiencing pain and eventually was shut down for the rest of the season.

"It's been a big disappointment, but I don't know how much I'd change -- other than being a little smarter in the summer and maybe a little smarter at the start of the season, not trying to play through these types of things as much as I did," Weiss said. "Even though it was my first year (with the Wings) and I wanted to do things the right way, maybe taking a little time off at the start of the season would have done me better than pushing through and trying to be a little bit of a hero that way."

As you know, Weiss had a second surgery to release scar tissue--a surgery performed by Dr. William Meyers, the Wings' go-to groin specialist--and Wakiji reports that Weiss will spend the offseason training with Gary Roberts in Toronto. Roberts has earned a reputation as a superb trainer for Toronto-area players.

What does Holland think about Weiss's future?

"He's basically played a half a year the last two years," Holland said. "It's hard to know where he's going to be in September. That small surgery that was performed last week, was that the answer to what ails him? Is he able to have a June, July and August where he's able to hit the gym and come to camp healthy, fit and ready to go? Or are we going to wake up in early June and he's where he was a month ago, and we're going to continue to be looking for answers as to why he isn't getting healthy? I don't have an answer for you. I thought he'd be healthy six weeks ago."

The, "Players need to have a big summer and get healthy" theme also resonated through coach Babcock's comments, as Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus noted...

“A big summer for our guys is absolutely critical,” Babcock said. “We’ve had so many injuries this year, so if you’ve been an injured player for a long period of time – if you’re Darren Helm, Franzen, especially if you’re Z whose had surgery, if you’re Pav and you’re going to have surgery – conditioning is absolutely critical.”

 

 

 

And Kubus' column steers us toward the, "What's next?" topic. Babcock suggested that the Wings must improve their defense...

“Right-handed shots. (Alexey) Marchenko and (Ryan) Sproul are right-hand shots that really can move the puck and play well… (Brian) Lashoff played way more than we anticipated. The growth of (Danny) DeKeyser… I thought he was still strong. The growth of (Brendan) Smith, obviously (Niklas) Kronwall, we missed (Jonathan Ericsson) Big E, just because of his size. He needs to get healthy, get in shape and get ready to go, as well.”

While he said an upgrade on the back-end is necessary, the bench boss also believes that free agency may not be the path to take this summer. Because the team has the benefit of developing and growing from within the organization via drafted prospects, Babcock said the team will surely be a much younger one overall next season.

“I think a lot of that growth can be from within. We’ll spend some time here in Grand Rapids now just to watch and see how good our young guys on the back end are. We feel we can improve our back end from within, and that’s critical. We’ve got some good right hand shots down there that have a lot of skill.

“I think we’ve got lots of pieces here. We’re going to be way younger than you’re used to. I think our veteran leadership is going to be Pav, Z and Kronner and then we’re going to end up with a lot of kids on this team. I’m not certain going outside, unless you can get exactly what you’re looking for, is worth it when we’ve got so much right here within. We think we can be a way better team just because of the growth right within our organization.”

Babcock and Holland continued while speaking with CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak...

“I think there’s this perception that July 1st free agents, there’s this hockey store, there’s this fantasy hockey league that I’m running, or playing in, that you can go get superstars,” Holland said. “Those days are over. That was a bit of the league prior to 2005. Those days are over.”

Detroit could trade away some of its prospects, of course, but Holland seems reluctant to do that.

“We’ll make a trade, but the trade’s got to make sense,” Holland said. “There’s no use me trying to trade three of these young players for one player, and you wake up in two years and those three players are going to be real players. Maybe these younger players are better than we think.”

And both parties addressed the team's goaltending...

The bottom line is we need good goaltending, like every team in the league needs good goaltending, and so the challenge for him is to really compete off-season-wise,” Babcock said. “[Howard]’s 29 or 30 now, and so you got to work harder the older you get, in the offseason, to be that much fitter to improve your game.

“We need him to be back better than ever,” Babcock added later. “Whether Mrazek plays here or whether [backup Jonas] Gustavsson plays here – Gus got half our wins this year, so the bottom line is if you’re going to be playing every day, you’ve got to earn the right to play every day. And if you’re going to be a tandem, then that’s what happens. The other guy’s got to earn the right to have a half. So we’ll see what happens.”

With Holland adding this regarding a certain Anthony Mantha:

The prospect whom fans most want to see might be 19-year-old Anthony Mantha. The Red Wings drafted him 20th overall in 2013, following a season in which he scored 50 goals and racked up 39 assists in 67 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. While Holland floated the possibility of Mantha coming to Detroit, the general manager also emphasized that Mantha has to prove he deserves the spot more than another player.

“If Anthony Mantha is ready to play in the National Hockey League next year and he beats somebody out, he’ll play in the National Hockey League,” Holland said. “But if he can’t beat anybody out, we’re not just going to put him on the team because he had a great junior career. I don’t believe in entitlement. I don’t believe in handing people jobs. I believe you come in and you take somebody’s job.”

WDIV's David Bartkowiak Jr. discussed some of the Wings' players who will provide "internal" improvement, as well as a pair of players who are on the outs...

Nyquist, Jurco, Sheahan and Tatar will be looked to for offensive production. DeKeyser has the potential to a be a top-two defenseman, as does Smith. Andersson and Glendening are both strong two-way forwards who can kill penalties.

Those are just the guys we've seen actually play a lot with the Red Wings this year. Holland and Babcock seem excited about even more talent still with the Griffins.

"Ryan Sproul had a tremendous rookie year in the (AHL). He had three points in a playoff game the other night in Abbotsford," said Holland.

He talked about a lot of young defenseman he said he likes, especially the ones with right-handed shots. In fact, both the GM and coach made an emphasis for more right-handed shots.

"(Alexei Marchenko) and Sproul are right-hand shots that really can move the puck and play well. Are they guys that can fit in? That can help us? We'll end up making some changes on the back there, for sure," said Babcock.

Meaning, the future of Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff in Red Wings sweaters is unclear -- at least one of them might be gone by next season.

And the Hockey News's Lyle Richardson posited the following in his Wings off-season "rumor round-up":

The Wings are in the midst of a transition period, cycling in younger talent to replace aging players. Holland could use some of his youth (Jakub Kindl and Joakim Andersson) as trade bait. Given their cap space and history of keeping pace with a rising cap ceiling, he will likely go the free agent route to address his needs.

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa also added some food for thought in a Tuesday night column:

The Red Wings are likely two years into a three- to five-year rebuilding process en route to playing in the Eastern Conference finals, let alone for a Stanley Cup.

As they start preparing for next season by traveling to Grand Rapids to watch the Griffins in the AHL playoffs, Holland and Babcock will formulate a plan. Expect it to involve quite a bit more of the same.

While it may continue to challenge the patience of some fans fretting about one playoff series victory in three seasons, the Red Wings will continue to emphasize development from within.

...

Consider it nearly certain we will see Ryan Sproul, 21, a second-round pick in 2011, and Alexey Marchenko, 22, a selection in the seventh round, skating for the Red Wings regularly on defense as soon as the start of the season.

Consider it less likely, although not impossible, a free-agent, puck-moving blue liner like Joni Pitkanen of the Hurricanes, or more preferably, Matt Niskanen of the Penguins, will arrive, or that the Red Wings will acquire someone like Keith Yandle of the Coyotes or Victor Hedman from the Lightning via trade.

Hedman's not going anywhere, Yandle would cost a mint, and Pitkanen is a superb 30-year-old defenseman, but he's spent far too much of the past two seasons sustaining injuries.

“Now, is there a player or two prior to free agency, is there a trade or two as we head toward the NHL draft that we can make that can make us better?” Holland said. “We’ll explore.”

And that is where the finagle room comes in. Two other defensive prospects, Xavier Ouellet, 20, a second-round pick in 2011, and Mattias Backman, 21, selected in the fifth round the same year, also are on the way, and Holland and the professional scouts begin to see an inventory of interchangeable parts.

“You know, it takes two to make a deal,” Holland said. “But we’ve got lots of kids.”

The Wings' three leaders remain Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall, however, and as Michigan Hockey's Kubus noted, Datsyuk isn't satisfied with the team's results over the past five seasons, just like his coach, general manager and captain:

The 35-year-old Datsyuk is set to undergo an MRI and further testing later this week to determine whether or not he need surgery to repair his right knee. It was evident he didn’t have the jump that we’re used to seeing due to said injury, but despite that, he said the team just flat-out needs to be better, as well.

“We need rest to make sure energy fine and start working again,” Datsyuk said. “We need to not make it 24 playoffs; we need to win the Cup.”

Datsyuk enters the first year of his new, three-year deal in 2014-15, where his cap hit rises from $6.7 million to $7.5 million. In 45 regular season games this year, the Magic Man tallied 37 points and was one of the lone bright spots for Detroit in the playoffs, recording three goals and five points in the five-game series.

Head coach Mike Babcock said his Russian star centerman will continue to be part of what will be an especially important leadership core for an unusually young Red Wings team next season. He echoed how important it was for a player like Datsyuk to have a big summer in terms of recovery and preparation.

“We’ve had so many injuries this year, so if you’ve been an injured player for a long period of time – if you’re Darren Helm, Franzen, especially if you’re Z whose had surgery, if you’re Pav and you’re going to have surgery – conditioning is absolutely critical,” Babcock said.

 

 

 

In terms of the Red Wings' draft options, Michael Petrella penned an exhaustive take on the Wings' potential strategy and possible first-round picks for DetroitHockey.net. I'm not in "draft mode" yet, but Petrella's article is a fantastic primer.

NHL.com's already conducted a few mock drafts (as TMR reader Ian Fleming Dunham pointed out on Twitter) and released its set of draft rankings, and I'm a fan of Halifax Mooseheads winger Nikolaj Ehlers.

The Wings have tapped the QMJHL pretty heavily over the past couple of seasons, so my gut feeling is that they'll go back to the Q for one more first round, but one never knows, and I try not to get attached to draft prospects as there's a 29-out-of-30 chance that other teams will pick 'em.

 

 

 

Also of Red Wings-related note: in the business department, MLive's David Muller reported that the M-1 Rail line that will connect downtown with mid-town will be completed within two years.

The Ilitches are project-backers, and the Detroit Free Press's JC Reindl reports that the MotorCity Casino is carrying a boatload of debt, which may explain why they didn't leverage its revenues to help build the Wings' follow-on rink (which is supposed to be built by the start of the 2015-2016 season);

And I wish that Pavel Datsyuk was healthy enough to prove the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno's assertion that Patrice Bergeron is the NHL's best all-round player wrong:

Bergeron doesn’t just help Bruins players. Red Wings centre Riley Sheahan, who was a key piece of their run to the playoffs, said he studies Bergeron’s game to improve his own.

Even players at other positions appreciate what Bergeron brings to the ice. Detroit defenceman Brendan Smith has noticed Bergeron’s game even more now that brother Reilly is his teammate in Boston.

“He reminds me of (Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg) because he’s so good defensively, he’s so good offensively,” Smith said. “He’s above the play. He makes good decisions. He’s a second quick. He’s strong on the puck. He makes good reads. You go through the list about a player like Bergeron.”

 

 

 

I've got an appointment that's going to keep me away from the computer during Babcock's interview today, but we'll get it up as soon as possible after I get home around 2:30.

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Comments

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For all the Babs lovers, here’s something for you to think about - who is your least favorite coach? Which NHL coach do you think is horrific and probably shouldn’t even be a coach? Now ask yourself this - what would have happened if instead of Babs, the coach you think is the worst in the NHL was the coach of the last two gold winning Canadian hockey teams? Be honest with yourself. Those teams STILL would have won the gold medal. My cat could have coached those teams to gold medal victories and my cat is blind. The only team that even came close to having the stars those Canadian teams had was Sweden and they were hit with a lot of injuries these past Olympics. Babs coaching those teams to gold medal wins is not impressive.

It’s time to get rid of Babs NOW and bring in Trotz before another team signs him. Trotz is a coach who has proven year after year after year he can take a group of virtually unknown players and frequent lineup changes and turn that into a team that plays 60 minutes, and is competitive shift after shift, and night after night. All Babs has proven is he can lead a team full of all stars and future hall of fame players to a couple gold medal wins, and coach a team lead by the greatest defenseman of all time and full of previous Stanley Cup winners who were once coached by Bowman to a Stanley Cup victory. The only impressive thing Babs has actually done is lead a Ducks team full of many unknown players to a Stanley Cup final which they then lost. Babs is good, but is also the most overrated coach out there. Kind of like Roy was a good goalie…but it didn’t hurt that his equipment and jersey were ten sizes too big. Babs just doesn’t have the ability to get the most out of his players each night. Trotz does!

How many times after a loss has Babs said “we didn’t play the full 60 minutes” or “we got off to a late start” or “we didn’t play up to our potential” only to follow it up with another game that went the same way? Exactly who is to blame for that? Franzen? Howard? Some other player (insert your least favorite players name here)? No. All of that falls on the coach. It’s his job to get the most out his players, his job to make sure they play the entire 60 minutes, and his job to make sure his players play up to their potential. Or make them a healthy scratch if they aren’t playing up to their potential, WITHOUT playing favorites.

The Wings need to get rid of Babs and bring in Trotz. Heck, I would be happy if they got rid of Babs and promoted Renney to coach. But the thought of Trotz leading a Wings team with a healthy mix of young guys AND those “old” senior citizens in their 30’s (and maybe even one in his 40’s) is exciting to say the least…while another year with Babs will be….another year of the same old same old.

Posted by Howdy Gordie on 05/01/14 at 07:21 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

The only coaching change Id like to see happen is bringing McLellan back as an assistant if he gets let go in SJ, and dumping Renney.  Although Im sure Vancouver would scoop him up in a heartbeat if he was available.

Posted by Hootinani on 05/01/14 at 08:27 AM ET

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There’s no real evidence that Trotz is a fit for our talent or a Cup-winning kind of coach, and no real evidence that Renney, a career .500 coach, has anything to offer this team.

As for the Babcock criticisms you launch, I certainly remember the days of Red Wings fans saying many of the same things about Scotty Bowman (who refused to adjust to dump and chase in 2001, who was mean to poor Aaron Ward and played Shanahan on the third while sheltering his pets like Larry Murphy).  I also know fans of other teams have blasted some pretty good coaches (and some bad ones like Randy Carlisle and Adam Oates.)

Hockey isn’t college football, where a quality coaching staff can, on its own, produce a team that wins 80% of its games.  Even good coaches lose games, turn in flat performances, and make tactical mistakes.  But Detroit has been, overall, well-coached under Babcock and that is not a coincidence.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/01/14 at 08:30 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

This is a win-win. Babs is still a great coach,and if we keep him great; if not we get a possible great coach-in-the-making in Blashill, or whomever maybe available at the time.

Maybe Babs’ time has run out in Detroit. No shame in admitting that, he’s far surpassed the average for coaches staying with a team for a specific period.

win-win

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 05/01/14 at 08:40 AM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

Bab’s coyness is irritating to the extreme. Either he is loyal or he is not. What - he only wants to coach a team when it has the best players in the league?

Posted by joedaiceman on 05/01/14 at 08:55 AM ET

Avatar

I think some of Babs quotes do not always pick on his snarkyness. He often treats dumb questions from reporteers with mild sarcasm or almost mocking little jokes. But then reporters print his responses and he sounds like the dick (not the reporter).

Posted by lancer on 05/01/14 at 09:02 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I can’t believe people that want to move on from Babcock. If anything, it seems clear to me that Ken Holland may be the one falling a bit behind the times, while Babcock continues to show an ability to adapt as a coach and make tough situations work as best as they can.

In retrospect, it sure would’ve been nice if Ken Holland had maybe stepped more into the “president” role and dropped the GM title, and let Jim Nill take the wheel as the GM.

I feel bad criticizing Ken Holland given how great he has done on the whole in his entire front-office career, but things like the Legwand trade, the re-signing of Cleary at the expense of Nyquist’s ice time because of the unwillingness to use the remaining amnesty buyout… these are moves that smell of a 2010 attitude, not a 2013 or 2014 attitude.

Back to coaching, yeah, Barry Trotz is a great coach too, but Mike Babcock has done it all. He’s won with underfunded teams with glaring holes (Cup final appearance with Anaheim), he’s won with well-built teams that he contributed to re-crafting (2008 and 2009 Wings), he’s won with star-studded teams with huge egos to manage (two Olympic golds, and see this year with Martin St. Louis being a drama queen), and I’d even throw out there the job he did in the lockout-shortened year, where the team ended up having a dynamite defensive record at even-strength despite having to rely heavily on inexperienced guys like Kindl, Lashoff, and Smith.

Barry Trotz did a great job with the limitations of working in Nashville, but he was there so long within those financial constraints that nobody can really know what he could do with a cap ceiling team in a more demanding market with expectations that are immediately higher from day one, no matter what the talent is like. I think he’d be great, but Babcock is probably the coach of his generation. In the post-Bowman NHL, who has been better?

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/01/14 at 09:07 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I will ask you George, I wonder why you are so convinced Babcock isn’t going anywhere?

The “year-to-year” comments concern me. Babs will always have great options available to him to coach at any level. If he wants a high-level job with another NHL team, he can have it. If he wants to be a dedicated coach for Team Canada development, he can have it. If he wants to coach a top-level NCAA program, he can have that. CHL? Take his pick.

I don’t believe for a second if Babcock decided he was tired of working for the Wings for one reason or another after his contract expires, that any more than two NHL teams would refrain from calling, regardless of the status of their present coach (the two exceptions would be Boston and Chicago, IMO). Even Pittsburgh has had enough up-and-down performances under Bylsma that I have to think they’d make the call. Same thing in LA. St. Louis has a dynamite coach, but they’ve fallen flat two years running, so they’d call him. He’s just that good.

I’m not at all worried that Holland would be the one pulling the plug on the relationship. Babcock holds the cards, and I’m concerned that with the uncertainty of Mr. I being less and less involved, and Holland seeming more and more out of touch, that Babcock has a toe out the door, just in case.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/01/14 at 09:12 AM ET

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It’s an open secret that Mike Babcock wants to take over ther eights at Michigan.  That explains his man crush on Glenddening, he always mentions how he could always get a job as an assistant with Berenson.  That’s what I think he’s holding out for.

Posted by bababooey on 05/01/14 at 09:22 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

The only coaching change Id like to see happen is bringing McLellan back as an assistant if he gets let go in SJ, and dumping Renney.  Although Im sure Vancouver would scoop him up in a heartbeat if he was available.

Posted by Hootinani on 05/01/14 at 08:27 AM ET

Beat me to it.  As soon as it was clear LA was going to win last night I was wondering if Todd was going to get sacked.  I’d love to have him back behind our bench on Babcock’s staff.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 05/01/14 at 10:12 AM ET

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It’s time to get rid of Babs NOW and bring in Trotz before another team signs him. Trotz is a coach who has proven year after year after year he can take a group of virtually unknown players and frequent lineup changes and turn that into a team that plays 60 minutes, and is competitive shift after shift, and night after night

I think Babs can do the same thing and actually excels at that. Give him 10 Glendenings + 2 scorers and a good goalie and he will make the playoffs with that team. Imo Babcock has trouble coaching skilled and talented players as his first instinct to make them 4th line checkers. Even with team Canada loaded with talent, he was trying to win 1:0 and 2:1 games even playing against Latvia. With Trotz it might be the same thing although we just do not for sure as he never had a talented roster.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 10:20 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

It’s basically a message to general manager Ken Holland: Show me (meaning Babcock) what you’ve got this summer.

Well, I think Kenny and Babs were 100% on the same page two years ago with the signings of Sammy and Tootoo. And I know they were on the same page with the (disasterous) signing of Cleary last summer.

So I don’t really follow the train of thought regarding Babcock waiting to see what Holland does this summer before deciding whether to stay or not. They think alike and he’ll be intimately involved in any decisions that are made.

Based on things that Babcock and Blashill have said in the past week or so, I could see a scenario play out a year from now where Holland moves up the administrative ladder and Babcock takes over as GM while Blash takes over as head coach. As far as “career tracks” go, the timing would be right for everyone concerned.

Or, as bababooey suggests, Babcock could go where he’s always been extremely comfortable – academia. Babs is a cerebral guy and I could see him truly enjoying taking over for Berensen (who seems ready to retire sooner than later) while Blashill moves up to coach the Wings. Again, as far as “career tracks” go, the timing would be right for all concerned.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/01/14 at 10:30 AM ET

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Based on things that Babcock and Blashill have said in the past week or so, I could see a scenario play out a year from now where Holland moves up the administrative ladder and Babcock takes over as GM while Blash takes over as head coach

I think Babcock wants to coach, I do not see him as GM for another 10 years at least.
By the way, am I the only one finding it interesting/weird that Zetterberg basically declined to comment on Babcock’s contract status. Would it be “expected” for a captain to say something along the lines of “Babs is a great coach and hopefully he will be behind the bench for years to come”?

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 10:40 AM ET

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It’s time to get rid of Babs NOW and bring in Trotz before another team signs him.

Sigh.

I’m not at all worried that Holland would be the one pulling the plug on the relationship. Babcock holds the cards, and I’m concerned that with the uncertainty of Mr. I being less and less involved, and Holland seeming more and more out of touch,

Where does this ‘out of touch’ stuff come from, anyway?  Signing Cleary didn’t keep Nyquist off the team any more than signing Alfredsson or Weiss or Tootoo or Miller or any other forward did.  Pointing to a signing that didn’t work as evidence of Holland being out of touch doesn’t strike me as an efficient standard, mostly because you can point to all kinds of moves every other GM makes that don’t work out.

And not for nothing, but all these prospects everyone goes insane about when they don’t play or are traded?  Holland drafted those guys.  The logic behind hammering Holland for not playing allegedly great players he drafted soon enough doesn’t quite jibe to me.  There was nothing to suggest Nyquist was going to have the best year of hockey in his entire life this year, and certainly not enough to warrant letting Cleary walk rather than signing him for very cheap, or signing Weiss, or signing Alfredsson.  Those moves didn’t work out, but that’s largely hindsight talking.

If there are legit vets available next year I’d rather Holland sprinkle a few into the roster than having to depend on Jurco and Tatar and Glendening and Andersson and yes, even Nyquist, to either repeat what they did last year (in Nyquist’s case) or substantially improve on it.  Just like I’d rather Holland sprinkle in a vet on the blue line than having to depend on Kindl or Smith or Sproul or Ouellette or Marachenko to be able to step in and perform right off the bus, or take big steps up from what they did last year.

That’s what veterans do: they hedge your bets.  As we saw this year, though, some times the cards run so badly it doesn’t matter how much you hedge.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 05/01/14 at 10:53 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

VPalmer on Babcock,

To finish the thread from yesterday, I watched all the playoff games last night, as much as I could, specifically San Jose that you mentioned, and they run the same basic PP structure as the Red Wings, and the entire NHL.  The difference between SJ and the Wings, is the personel.

In SJ Cloture is their net front, he’s faster and has better hands then anyone we would toss in front of the net, they are able with him to shoot “pass” wide, which he can then wheel and create movement and lanes, or turn and curl for a shot which LA let him do.  They also have Thorton who can puck protect around the boards with the size of his body. Pavel is the best in the NHL with the puck, but he doesn’t have the size to do what Thorton does as you suggested, and we have no longer have a skilled net front to play out of that look, though Shehan is developing it.  By the way, SJ and their creative PP, bounced in 4 straight by a dump chase hit and defend team.

So your Claude Julien, and your scheming up PK for games 1 and 2. First of all you shift to Pav and shut him down, and then with your 4 guys, and their 5, we can close down 3 lanes, leaving one open, which do you choose? Close the bottom, close the crease, close the slot, leave the point and upper wall open.  Wisely they chose Kronwall and others.  Without a better puck handler on ther other side, a la Hank, hard to create movement to make a play.  Which is why when Hank returned, our PP looked better.

You still never answered me, what coach in the NHL coaches the “Wings” style you want? Defense since 1995 has always proven to win, unless your tossing a lopsided amoutn of skill out there.

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 05/01/14 at 10:59 AM ET

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Those moves didn’t work out, but that’s largely hindsight talking.

How right you are Sir. No one knows for sure how things work out. This board was full of people ticked off because he didn’t sign Clarkson last summer.

As good of a coach as Trotz might be, Babcock isn’t leaving when he has a job to finish. I’d be more worried how they will keep Blashill and Paek in the system.

 

Posted by leftwing on 05/01/14 at 11:17 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

The day Trotz coaches my team = the day I find a different team.  I can’t imagine watching 82 games of his style.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/01/14 at 11:22 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Babcock isn’t leaving when he has a job to finish. I’d be more worried how they will keep Blashill and Paek in the system.

Absolutely agree.  Why are people looking for conflict and stories where they don’t exist.  Did he not say he is happy here, and he loves working for the ownership?  It isn’t worth worrying about anyways - nothing you or I can do to change anything.  Not our problem.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/01/14 at 11:24 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I think Babcock wants to coach, I do not see him as GM for another 10 years at least.

Posted by VPalmer

I think you’re probably right. That’s why the scenario of him taking over for Berenson is an interesting one. I think he’d feel perfectly comfortable back in a college setting. And I’m guessing he could make as much (maybe more?) coaching at the U of M as he could coaching in the NHL.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/01/14 at 11:26 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

And I’m guessing he could make as much (maybe more?) coaching at the U of M as he could coaching in the NHL.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/01/14 at 11:26 AM ET

I don’t know if he’d be in it for the money so much, but regardless I would imagine the Wings will give him whatever he wants.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/01/14 at 11:32 AM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

I’m not at all worried that Holland would be the one pulling the plug on the relationship. Babcock holds the cards, and I’m concerned that with the uncertainty of Mr. I being less and less involved, and Holland seeming more and more out of touch, that Babcock has a toe out the door, just in case.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/01/14 at 09:12 AM ET

Right there with you on this sentiment. 

I’ve had a really difficult time with each passing summer in recent years understanding how Illitch is tolerating the rust spots developing on one of his most coveted brands.  The PR associated with Suter was my tipping point; Illitch doesn’t hop on planes to come home empty-handed when he wants to get a deal done.

As such every personnel move (contracts to existing personnel, front office positions being filled and free agent signings) that was seemingly an afterthought from 1993-2008 now comes with a level of scrutiny from an increasingly larger portion of the fanbase with each passing season.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 05/01/14 at 11:40 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

This board was full of people ticked off because he didn’t sign Clarkson last summer

Don’t forget Vinny who sat almost the entire 3rd period last night on the 4th line.

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 05/01/14 at 12:03 PM ET

RW19's avatar

How can anyone seriously think that the perpetually hurt Joni Pitkanen would upgrade Detroit’s defense? And Tampa would consider or has ever hinted at trading Hedman? A professional reporter seriously wrote that?

The only real top 2 defenseman that might, I stress might, be traded is Shea Weber. However that is unlikely. If it were true though, I would give just about anyone on the roster to get him. Problem is, so would most of the other teams in the NHL.

It’s pretty clear that barring the rare exception like Bouwmeister or Shattenkirk top shelf d-men in their prime just don’t get moved that often. It happens but its rare. Teams are better off developing their own and that is why I think Babcock is singling out guys like Marchenko and Sproul as having very good chances to make this team next year.

I think he has been waiting for years to see a quality D man come in to fill some of the void left by Lids, Stuart and Rafalski but it hasn’t happened and just may not.

Posted by RW19 on 05/01/14 at 12:12 PM ET

alfrules's avatar

Trade Babcock for Weber

Posted by alfrules on 05/01/14 at 12:56 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

What - he only wants to coach a team when it has the best players in the league?

Posted by joedaiceman on 05/01/14 at 08:55 AM ET

Please spot one Babcock quote that would logically give the reasonable person that conclusion.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/01/14 at 01:08 PM ET

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Where does this ‘out of touch’ stuff come from, anyway?  Signing Cleary didn’t keep Nyquist off the team any more than signing Alfredsson or Weiss or Tootoo or Miller or any other forward did

All these players you mentioned were already signed. There was no need to double down on those mistakes and resign Cleary and that was the move that put Nyquist in GR. And no, nobody could have expected Nyquist to have the year he had, but last year playoffs were enough to know that Nyquist should not start the year in GR. KH knew it and still signed Cleary. I am just glad Cleary did not accept KH first offer which was a 3 year deal. Just the fact KH offered Cleary a 3 year deal makes me very concerned about his ability to operate in today’s NHL.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 01:22 PM ET

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I watched all the playoff games last night, as much as I could, specifically San Jose that you mentioned, and they run the same basic PP structure as the Red Wings, and the entire NHL.  The difference between SJ and the Wings, is the personel.

And you could be right, but I still think we have enough skill to offer some different looks on our PP. First I would end the obsession with 4 forwards.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 01:31 PM ET

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You still never answered me, what coach in the NHL coaches the “Wings” style you want

Sorry, missed the question. Honestly I do not watch that many games besides DRW games to have a definite name. I also think that Babs might be the best coach in the league or at least top 5. I do not know if Blashill’s AHL success will transform to NHL. But I remain of a strong opinion that Babcock wants to caoch a different team. And by this I do not mean a different NHL team, but a different type of team. He wants to coach the Blues, the Bruins and the Kings type of teams. He says every day that the players have to play heavy and be strong on the puck. He preferred Cleary vs Nyquist until he realized Cleary can no longer move. If you ask him to trade Tatar and Nyquist for Ott and Morrow, he will not hesitate and not because of the age difference, but because of the style of play. Glendenings and Millers are thriving playing for Babs and gives them more minutes that they deserve. He loves structure and that’s all good, but maybe players like Tatar, Nyquist, Dats, Franzen, Weiss, i.e players with skill need less structure to be successful. Maybe structure when you need to follow a certain script on every shift is good for Glendening, but not for Tatar. About 3 years ago when Z and Franzen played in WC, they both said “it’s great to play for a coach who allows you to be creative on the ice and not think every second”. They were talking about team Sweden coach, but the meaning was pretty clear.
So, to sum up I do not have a clear cut answer on Babcock. On the one hand
1) he is considered a great coach and he is a winner
2) he is positive and never makes excuses, he works harder than anybody else
On the other hand
1) skilled players are not succeeding playing for him (Filpula and Hudler turned their careers around with other teams and I think Kindl will be a good top 4 for another coach).
2) PP is not working (although we can argue how much personnel has to do with that). He continues to use a forward on a blue line and it has not worked for years and that’s stubborness.
3) Babcock does not see chemistry between players and his lines are based on a general idea of how he sees the lines. He thinks that Dats must have big and heavy players on his line and plays him with Franzen and Abby. Franzen and Dats have never had chemistry and Babs still wants to prove the world that he is right. On the other hand Dats and Alfy had instant chemistry, but played maybe 10 shifts the whole season together because I guess Alfy is not heavy enough to play with Dats. It takes 75 games to separate Q and Smith who could not play together.
And then he finally finds the right mix of players in Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco that was our best line after the all-star break, Babcock separates them right before the playoffs in a “what???” kind of move.
2) In 2-3 years when Dats retires and Z becomes complimentary player and the team will belong to Nyquist, Tatar, Sheahan, Jurco, Mantha, etc I think the team will need a different coach for that group of players.

Sorry for a long post.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 01:54 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

And you could be right, but I still think we have enough skill to offer some different looks on our PP. First I would end the obsession with 4 forwards.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 01:31 PM ET

That will probably happen if they are able to find somebody who can move the puck with a right handed shot to man the blueline.

It is easier to scheme in your own end against a roster full of lefties when you are at a man disadvantage which is a big reason why the Wings haven’t had a top 10 PP since Rafalski left.  You can add Renney, McClellan, Woodcroft, Smith or whoever you want to run that show but if you don’t have a right handed threat (shot + passing) you are already mitigating the biggest advantage the game has to offer.

Unfortunately for the Wings, they didn’t want to give Wisniewski an extra 500k + terms and the consolation prize in Ian White didn’t work out as planned.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 05/01/14 at 01:54 PM ET

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That will probably happen if they are able to find somebody who can move the puck with a right handed shot to man the blueline.

Is Niskanen for 6 years at $5 mil per year (if that what it takes) a must sign if he hits the market or we are having a typical case of a contract year performance and he is not that good?
Is Markov and his knees worth the risk on a long term deal?
Are we better off signing Boyle for 2 years?
I do not know the answers to these questions, but would like to hear forum opinion.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 02:43 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 02:43 PM ET

FWIW, Krupa all but says this morning that the Wings aren’t going to land any top 4 dmen this summer. 

Tough to argue that conclusion when the reason he provided is that this franchise is still 2-5 years out from being a cup contender.  Can’t see why an experienced top 4 defender would want to waste the last couple of years of his career while not chasing after a ring.

It’s also difficult not to take Krupa’s word for it from an expectations standpoint simply because nothing has happened to strengthen the top 4 of the position group at the trade deadline or in the off-season they landed Stuart in the spring of 2008.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 05/01/14 at 03:01 PM ET

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1) skilled players are not succeeding playing for him (Filpula and Hudler turned their careers around with other teams

I’m not sure that’s a fact at all.  Filppula had a bounce back year but still has to look back to 2011-12 in Detroit to have his best season, and who knows if this year is the new norm for Filppula or another one-time bump like 2011-12 seemed to be. As for Hudler, he’s getting more assists in Calgary but his goal totals don’t come close to his best two years in Detroit and his best year is still 2008-9 in Detroit.

I would also say that Nyquist’s and Tatar’s years this year argue against your assertion.

Posted by Garth on 05/01/14 at 03:11 PM ET

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FWIW, Krupa all but says this morning that the Wings aren’t going to land any top 4 dmen this summer. 

Boy, I think that’s a big exaggeration of what Krupa wrote in the Detroit News, which was:

“Consider it less likely, although not impossible, a free-agent, puck-moving blue liner like Joni Pitkanen of the Hurricanes, or more preferably, Matt Niskanen of the Penguins, will arrive, or that the Red Wings will acquire someone like Keith Yandle of the Coyotes or Victor Hedman from the Lightning via trade.”

“less likely” than, FTR, seeing one of the kid defensemen up early.  And the specific names he mentions there ARE pretty unlikely—Pitkanen or Hedman would be shocking acquisitions, Yandle would be surprising, and Niskanen will be widely sought after by just about everyone—and we haven’t gotten our #1 choice on defense for a few years. 

None of that suggests that it’s unlikely Detroit will add ANY defenseman, however, which is directly against the gravamen of Krupa’s article:

“[T]he Red Wings absolutely need one or two more experienced defensemen proficient in moving the puck. Their inability to quickly launch their attack repeatedly costs them offense, as their vaunted transition game has lagged for two seasons.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/01/14 at 03:27 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 05/01/14 at 10:53 AM ET

You’re inferring a lot and accusing me of taking some stances that I don’t take.

I will admit that my growing concern for Holland’s ability to continue to be a top-flight GM is largely based on two decisions, and that is a flaw in my judgment. But how can anyone look at the Legwand signing and conclude anything other than, “Holy shit, Ken Holland is stuck in 2010, and thinks this team is a player away from the Cup.” The reality was that this team was a lot of players away from a Cup and trading away a prospect for a veteran that has a near zero chance of being re-signed is silly.

I’m not arguing that we needed to keep Jarnkrok and he’s a cure-all. I’m actually in favor of looking to trade some of these prospects. But they need to be traded for guys that fill the team’s medium and long-term weaknesses, not to trade for rental players at a position that is only weak on account of unpredictable injuries.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/01/14 at 03:30 PM ET

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I will admit that my growing concern for Holland’s ability to continue to be a top-flight GM is largely based on two decisions, and that is a flaw in my judgment. But how can anyone look at the Legwand signing and conclude anything other than, “Holy shit, Ken Holland is stuck in 2010, and thinks this team is a player away from the Cup.” The reality was that this team was a lot of players away from a Cup and trading away a prospect for a veteran that has a near zero chance of being re-signed is silly.

I don’t think Legwand had a “near zero chance of being re-signed” until he stopped producing.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/01/14 at 03:35 PM ET

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I would also say that Nyquist’s and Tatar’s years this year argue against your assertion

Yes, I agree both had good years, but I think when Babs is looking at a skilled player, his first thought is how I am going to make him play well defensively as opposed to how I am going to help him to score more goals. And do not get me wrong, playing 200 feet game is critical to having success in NHL and Yzerman would not have been Yzerman if Bowman did not ask him to sacrifice stats to become a more complete player. I just do not want this to be taken to the extreme if the only way to win games is 1:0 and 2:1. This team is a lot more talented than that. Ugly goals are very important, but putting bodies at the net looking for deflections is not the only way to score goals and we do not have personnel to score tons of those. It seems to me that the only other way we score goals is by brilliant individual efforts by Dats, Tatar, Nyquist, Helm, etc.
Against Chicago and Boston, Babcock was crazy about matchups so that Dats will play against Bergeron or Krejci and not for any other reason, but to shut them

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 03:42 PM ET

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Can’t see why an experienced top 4 defender would want to waste the last couple of years of his career while not chasing after a ring.

Alfredsson came here as he saw a chance to win the cup. Not sure why, but he did say it and winning is really the only thing he should be thinking about at the age of 41. And wasn’t Boston another contender for his services?
Also I can see Boyle coming here unless a powerhouse like Ducks or Bruins will offer him a deal. He has to be frustrated with the constant playoff collapses by the Sharks.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 03:48 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

But I remain of a strong opinion that Babcock wants to caoch a different team. And by this I do not mean a different NHL team, but a different type of team. He wants to coach the Blues, the Bruins and the Kings type of teams.

Who wouldn’t? These teams are better than the Detroit Red Wings, they’re playoff built teams (aside from the Blues who lack talent).  I’ve said many a times that Bowman would not have let Holland give him this soft of a roster, Babcock did, tho the flip side is that roster molding isn’t as easy as it once was. You need a mix, we don’t have a mix, every good playoff team has a line of heavies, we don’t.

He preferred Cleary vs Nyquist…If you ask him to trade Tatar and Nyquist for Ott and Morrow, he will not hesitate and not because of the age difference

Sorry when did he say he preferred cleary over Nyquist? People keep jumping to that conclusion because Cleary send Nyquist to the Minors, but that was on Holland, Holland could’ve waived say Eaves day 1. Tatar had to earn his spot, very true, but Gus never sat a game that he was available for Babock that I recall, you?  To me he wanted both on the team, not 1 over the other. He saw the same lack of size and physicality we all do, and just watched. Now was cleary a beast? No, but he was heavy and stood his ground with Bickle. And when the legs gave out, he benched him.  Bad gamble. Would babcock take Ott and Morrow? I would hope so, I doubt he would trade Tatar to do it..


As far as Glenny and Miller, when we need to hold a lead those guys played, when we needed to score, Nyquist and Tatar played, what’s wrong with that? At some point Nyquist and Tatar will develop the second leg and be guys who always play, it takes time.

Players with skill need less structure to be successful.

There are no teams that have zero structure. You put players within a structure, they use their skill to execute.  Watch the rest of the playoffs, you will see the same structure is played throughout the NHL, and it’s not overwhelmingly restrictive.  Do you really think Pav just wings a pass trully without looking out of hope? He knows where someone should be.  Teams replicate the wings structure, as to the wings replicate them. 

Too bad you can’t have a six pack, and a dry erase board on an online forum, you would be surprised how simple the Wings system/structure really is how much freedom skill players have to execute it, its that freedom that is limited by the opposition and what they want to limit, who happen to be good too. 

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 05/01/14 at 03:53 PM ET

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I will admit that my growing concern for Holland’s ability to continue to be a top-flight GM is largely based on two decisions, and that is a flaw in my judgment

It’s not really 2 decisions. KH said he will retire when Lids retires and maybe he had to. Here is the list of decisions after Lidstrom left.

Free agent signings:

Sammy
Tootoo
Eaves
Miller
Weiss (after a year in which he played 17 games)
Alfy
Cleary (knowing that put Nyquist in GR)
Brunner
Gustafsson

Trades:

Q for 1st
Legwand for Jarnkrok, 2nd and Eaves

Resignings:

Howard -
Eriksson -
Bertuzzi -

Except for Alfy, Brunner and Gus that were OK (not great), none of these moves worked out so far. Some because of bad luck (Weiss and Eriksson got injured after they signed their contracts) and some of them because they were bad moves to begin with.

Among the good moves I would mention not signing Lecavalier and Clarkson although I cannot give KH credit for not signing these guys as they just went for more money and term, so I do not think KH was in the game for them.
I also would not criticize KH for not getting Suter as he tried his best imo,but I will not give him credit for getting DeKeyser as he just wanted to play in his home area.

Now, I totally agree with KH that there is no fantasy store there to pick up star players and I totally understand that nobody is trading us the players we want for the player we do not want, but let’s objectively look at the body of KH’s work for the last 3 years and ask objectively if a GM with these moves should keep his job for which he is paid millions of dollars. The answer is he should not. The hesitation is here that KH has been quite successful in the previous 17 years, but the question is how many years of bad move after bad move can be tolerated before somebody says that whatever worked for KH in the past is not working now.

 

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 04:07 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by VPalmer on 05/01/14 at 04:07 PM ET

I agree completely, and the fleecing on the trades to me is most concerning to me because that’s the only way any GM can immediately improve this team.

Most of the free agent signings that failed, Sammy, Cleary, Bert, Eaves to an extent, all ran off the books this season when they expected these youngs kids to be ready for full time duty.

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 05/01/14 at 04:15 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.