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TMR Afternoon line: Babcock talks about ‘The Kids,’ Helm ahead of Game 1

I'm heading out to take the mom to the CPA to file our taxes (we received an extension), so, having filed a game-day update post, the Wings' playoff preview video, a Datsyuk Play of the Year, a Ken Holland interview and Craig Custance's feature story on Gustav Nyquist (Custance and the CBC's Doug Harrison wrote tremendous articles about "The Kids" today), I'm about to brave the joy that is 12 Mile and Orchard Lake Road from 3:30-6 on a Friday evening.

As such, I won't be back till nearly game time, and I'd like to use this set of pre-game comments from Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, per BostonBruins.com's Jess Inser (whose notebook also includes a bit about Darren Helm), as the TMR "Afternoon Line":

“We talk a lot about the past in the media — we never talk about the past in our dressing room,” said Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock. “It’s about the present. It’s about right here, right now, and we have a good group of kids. We have good veteran leadership, but our kids have played really well — given us the energy, and they’ve come here and they’ve replaced people and they’ve earned jobs.”

“It’s not like they’re going back to the minors; they’re here. They took jobs, and they’re going to keep jobs. And this is a group here we’re going ahead with now. Obviously, some of the guys that are injured, like Zetterberg, I’m sure can still get a spot on the team. Like Ericsson. I’m sure. But that’s just part of it — they’re not here, [so] what are we going to do about it?” Just play.”

Isner continues at length, and here's Babcock on Helm:

"Helmer’s got to play a simple, hard game,” Babcock said. “When these players get injured — and I remember, when [Patrice] Bergeron was concussed, when he came back, he wore his number and he was the same guy, but he wasn’t the same player. When you’re hurt for a long period of time, it’s hard to be the same player without a summer to condition, to get in shape, to top your game, and so is Helmer capable of that? We’re going to watch and see.”

As evidenced by the Bruins’ well-distributed scoring attack this season, having a strong third line that can provide supplemental scoring is critical. If the Red Wings have their third-line center healthy, Babcock believes it will make a huge difference in this series.

“I’ve always told everybody he’s the best third line center in hockey,” Babcock said. “And that’s a bold statement. You got to be that. You got to be in condition to do that, you got to be healthy to do that. So you watch.”

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Comments

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Obviously, some of the guys that are injured, like Zetterberg, I’m sure can still get a spot on the team.

Whew. For a while there I thought maybe they’d move Z and keep Cleary. I’m greatly relieved.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 04/18/14 at 03:59 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Grrr. When was the last time we won a game1 on the road?  It’s time.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/18/14 at 04:15 PM ET

Avatar

When was the last time we won a game1 on the road?

I think Howard is 0 and 7 in first games of the series on the road.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/18/14 at 04:35 PM ET

Avatar

So glad Legwand is playing as a 4th line winger.

angry

Posted by AZWinger on 04/18/14 at 05:03 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.