The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/06/12 at 03:35 PM ET
With a dozen Red Wings players or prospects in action at the World Championships (Tomas Tatar, Valtteri Filppula and Pavel Datsyuk took part in games earlier today) and more than a few potential draft picks and/or free agents available for viewing in Helsinki and Stockholm over the next two weeks, there’s no doubt that the Detroit Red Wings’ pro scouts, amateur scouts and braintrust are all taking turns taking in games, and the Canadian Press’s Chris Johnston reports that the Red Wings’ coach visited Team Canada on Sunday while taking part in something of a fact-finding mission:
As the Canadian team was put through its paces deep in the underground practice rink at Hartwall Arena on Sunday afternoon, Mike Babcock carefully charted everything happening on the ice. With his Detroit Red Wings making an early exit from the NHL playoffs, Babcock decided to travel to the IIHF World Hockey Championship to keep tabs on the Canadian team. It raised the obvious question: Is he in line to reprise his role as Olympic coach in 2014?
“I wouldn’t read too much into that,” said Babcock.
He’s already publicly stated an interest in the job, telling The Canadian Press in a March interview that he would “relish the opportunity” to try and add another Olympic gold to the one he won in Vancouver.
But that’s not the only reason Babcock was taking notes on the Canadians, who the PostMedia News agency reports will need Kyle Quincey’s services as P.K. Subban got hurt in the Canadians’ first game, and now Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s been ruled out for the rest of the tournament:
Babcock is plenty familiar with the challenge currently facing the Canadian team, which is under heavy pressure to come together as players slide in and out of the lineup. He’s the only coach ever to guide a team to a world junior title, world championship gold, Olympic gold and the Stanley Cup.
“There’s good players here,” said Babcock. “Their competitive juices will really get flowing as the tournament goes on and in the end they’ve got to be prepared to lay it all on the line. If you get organized and you all figure out how to play and then you find your game within the team game, in the structure of Canada, then in the end you have a chance to be good.”
And Babcock’s looking for all the input in the R&D department—as in “rob and do,” as he likes to say—while gathering ideas regarding addressing the Red Wings’ systemic issues down the stretch and during the playoffs, so Johnston says that Babcock plans on taking in every Canadian game and more than a few others before heading back to Metro Detroit next Saturday:
“To me, that’s how you learn — talking to people and being around people — so you’ve got a chance to be getting better,” said Babcock. “To me, that’s what it’s all about. That’s where the fun is, the fun’s in the journey. The fun’s in trying to get better and being as good as you’re capable of being. That’s why you’re in everything.”
And that’s why the Wings’ coach needs to be in Scandinavia right now. The Wings need to try to get better next season, and the more hockey Babcock watches, the more coaching tendencies and systemic tweaks he can add to a Wings playbook in need of more than a few adjustments.
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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.