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The wrong question to ask the wrong coach

The Vancouver Sun's Cam Cole attended Sunday's Red Wings practice, and he reports that a member of the media who may or may not go nameless, depending on what transpires over the next 12-24 hours, asked Wings coach Mike Babcock whether the frustrated and grumpy Jonathan Toews will rebound to lead the Blackhawks in Game 3.

This question was apparently not well-received by the coach of the Detroit Red Wings:

“I’m not here to evaluate whether he’s frustrated or not. I don’t know where you’re going with this, but I’m not going to help you write your story,” Babcock bristled Sunday morning at Joe Louis Arena, where the Wings and Hawks resume their historic rivalry Monday night with the best-of-seven split at a game apiece. “What do you want me to say? Jonathan Toews is a real good player, I’ve coached him, he’s mentally tough, he works hard, he’s an Olympic champion, a Stanley Cup champion, and world junior champion -- I don’t know what else he’s won, but he knows how to play. I would expect that he’s gonna play hard in this series. I didn’t think he didn’t play hard yesterday, though.”

Instead, Babcock wanted to praise his own team's captain, Henrik Zetterberg, for registering a pair of assists while shutting down Toews' line...

“Well, he won the Conn Smythe in ’08, he knew how to play then,” said Babcock, more or less dismissing the notion that Zetterberg has, if anything, elevated his game even further since succeeding the hallowed Nick Lidstrom as captain to start the season. “He’s a fierce competitor. Stats show he scores better at playoff time, and he’s normally a slow starter in the league, this is the first time he hasn’t been -- but I think he and (Pavel) Datsyuk give us a great one-two punch, real determination, real good defensively, much harder people than you’d expect ... and I’m not talking craziness, but they compete and so it gives us good balance.”

And as Cole also traveled to Anaheim to cover Game 7 of that series, he recalled something Babcock stated about his team's captain before he helped lead the Wings on the ice and on the scoresheet...

“I think he's been outstanding, but he's always been one of those guys,” Babcock said of his captain, even before the deciding game had been played in Anaheim. “He's a son of a coach. Lots of really good players just do what they do and don't have a clue -- he knows what he's doing, and he knows what everyone else should be doing. He's a calm influence. He stands up for the players and for himself. He's ultra-competitive, and you know he's going to play good [in Game 7]. You just know. That to me is what leadership is about. It is not so much what you say but what you do. I think he's a great role model for our guys.”

Before noting that Babock neither wanted to reveal who'd be checking the Toews line on Monday, nor whether Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will play together (though it sounds like they won't):

“One of 13 or 40. You’ve got two lines there, depending who’s tired, who was on the power play, who was on the penalty kill, what zone the faceoff’s in, who’s winning faceoffs,” said Babcock. “One of those two guys will play against him for sure.”

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Comments

SYF's avatar

Why I love Uncle Mike as my team’s coach.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 05/19/13 at 02:22 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

“One of 13 or 40. You’ve got two lines there, depending who’s tired, who was on the power play, who was on the penalty kill, what zone the faceoff’s in, who’s winning faceoffs,” said Babcock. “One of those two guys will play against him for sure.”

cheese

Babblespeak at it’s best

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 05/19/13 at 03:18 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

though it sounds like they won’t

George, Babbles saying “one of them will be playing against Toews” doesn’t mean they’ll be split up.  if they are together on the first line, that means that line will be playing against Toews, and one of Datsyuk/Zetterberg will be assigned to Toews.  “one of them” isn’t the same as “one of their lines.”

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/19/13 at 03:32 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

anyway, I have a feeling with Babbles having last change now, we’ll be seeing a little bit of both.  some of them together, some of them split up.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/19/13 at 03:33 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

You’re ignoring the part where the quote says, “you’ve got two lines there.”

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 05/19/13 at 03:41 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

he also said “depending on…”

which basically means they’ll play some together, some apart, depending on the situation and what each has been doing…but either way ONE of the two will be on Toews.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/19/13 at 04:19 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Sounds like Babbles rambled on and confused a lot of people. raspberry

Sometimes they’ll be together, sometimes they won’t. Somehow, someway, one of ‘em will always be on Toews, and I expect him to be a ball of baby tears by the end of the second period tomorrow night.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 05/19/13 at 05:33 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Sounds like Babbles rambled on and confused a lot of people.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 05/19/13 at 06:33 PM ET

I think that was the point.  He’s not tipping his hand to a sneaky reporter.  He’s answering their questions by not exactly answering their questions.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 05/19/13 at 05:57 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

I used to think Tortorella was being a JA during the media scrums, but after hearing some of the “questions” asked by the media after games , I am surprised that more coaches don’t react that way? I believe the problem is that there are so many ” media” credentials given out. Almost anybody who has a blog it seems , can get credentials and most of them have no journalistic credentials whatsoever. Which leads to questions like , ” why do you think you lost tonite?”  shut eye

Posted by Down River Dan on 05/19/13 at 06:39 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Sports media is only slightly better than music media. Absolute garbage from 99% of the reporters.

I really do like Towes and it would be great to see him as a Red Wing. It bothers me that one of my favorite players in the league is on one of my least favorite teams.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/20/13 at 06:55 AM 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.