The Malik Report
This year’s Red Wings are enduring a transitional year, but its coach is enjoying every minute of it
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock offered some intriguing insights on his profession to Canucks Army's Jason Gregor recently, and on Tuesday, Babcock told the Associated Press's Larry Lage that he's actually enjoying coaching a very youthful and sometimes mistake-prone Red Wings team as his charges slowly skate and occasionally stumble toward a playoff berth:
"It’s been exciting and invigorating to coach a team with a lot of kids,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock insisted Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I’ve heard people say that we’re not consistent, but I will say this is the most consistent group we’ve had in terms of preparation and work ethic since we’ve been here. Do we make mistakes and do things that make you scratch your head? Yeah, we’ve got kids playing a lot. But we compete for one and another and that’s what we’re still hanging in the playoff picture.”
Ken Holland let Lage know that he's not sure whether he's going to make a move as of this afternoon...
I stepped out to do a little, "I was boogery and the mom ran out of pop" drug-store run and I was surprisingly greeted by something I haven't gotten much of late: a stiff breeze and non-wind-noise silence.
Nobody swearing at each other in the comments sections, nobody yelling past each other on Twitter. Nobody saying, "Either go for it or blow it all up, this team is STALE!" or, "Promote everyone, waive everyone, trade everyone, fire everyone!"
It was nice. As of today, the Detroit Red Wings are a day away from a trade deadline which will probably provide no activity other than the team recalling Brian Lashoff from Grand Rapids, and a practice which will precede a 2-game road trip through Phoenix and Nashville, and, somehow, the injury-addled and youth movement-enduring Wings are in seventh place in the Western Conference, but are also only 3 points out of 4th place.
Updated 2x at 4:39 PM: Obviously...
Given how hard the Red Wings have been practicing of late, I'm happy to have read this quip from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
Mental fatigue was showing big time in the Wings' loss to Chicago and win over Colorado. The team needs to regroup a bit before embarking upon another 3-games-in-4-nights slate this upcoming week/end and back-to-backs in Phoenix on Thursday and Colorado on Friday (and it wouldn't hurt Brendan Smith or Jakub Kindl to get a night off during one of those two games, either).
As I'm sure most of you are peeved about the Wings' decision to not take on Jay Bouwmeester's $6.68 million salary, Jaromir Jagr's massive ego or any of the other players that the Wings don't seem to be interested in acquiring, you won't like reading the Windsor Star's Dave Waddell's attempt to discern Ken Holland's likely moves over the next 24-plus hours, which involve...Standing pat and also standing pat:
RedWingsFeed and my email search monkeys caught this at the same time, and it's worth your time: Canucks Army's Jason Gregor spoke to Red Wings coach Mike Babcock about his coaching philosophies, and in my opinion, if there's anyone who faced a bigger, "Keep this team on a remotely even course and your job's safe, but if you under-perform, you're outta here" equation in terms of security of tenure with the team, it's Babcock who's faced and passed that test.
Regardless of what the Wings do or don't do at the trade deadline, Babcock's going to be the one coaching Detroit's personnel, and regardless of whether you like him or loathe him, he's going to be the Wings' coach for a long time to come.
According to Babcock, his job remains centered around building upon his background as a physical education degree-holder with extensive work in sports psychology...
Updated 2x at 12:19 PM: This story qualifies as, "A little late but worth the wait": NHL.com's Brian Hedger spoke to Red Wings...Let's call him "consultant" Nicklas Lidstrom about his role in recruiting Danny DeKeyser, he and his friend Tomas Holmstrom's post-hockey careers, and the high likelihood that Wings fans will learn to pronounce Calle Jarnkrok's name correctly (not "yarn-crock," more like yAIRn-crOOk) within the next year or three:
So, what have you been up to over in Sweden?
"I'm helping out with my 12-year-old's team, being on the ice, being an assistant coach. I'm been doing some scouting for the Wings, looking at some of their players. I'm also going to be an ambassador for the World Championships that are going to be played in Sweden. So, I've got some little things here and there to stay busy. It keeps me going to rinks and going on the ice every now and then. I'm just enjoying being home more, but still going to the rinks.''
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun offers quite the scoop as to why the Detroit Red Wings did not win the Jay Bouwmeester sweepstakes (aside from the fact that the Wings would have been nuts to take on all of Bouwmeester's $6.68 million cap hit for next season given that the team needs to re-sign UFA's-to-beJimmy Howard and Damien Brunner, decide whether to re-sign Valtteri Filppula, Danny Cleary, Drew Miller and/or Ian White, and ink RFA's-to-be Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Jakub Kindl to contract extensions, all during an off-season in which the salary cap will decline):
The Wings were in on Bouwmeester, but, in the end, they didn’t get him because they didn’t include a first-round pick, a source told ESPN.com. Which quite frankly, is a smart, smart, smart decision by Wings GM Ken Holland.
Yes, Bouwmeester is the top-four D-man the Wings have been craving all year, but Detroit is not in a position organizationally to be trading first-round picks. They moved a first-round pick last year for Kyle Quincey when they still had Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart on the team and felt they had a shot to really contend.
Update: Here's an FYI regarding Bouwmeester from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, via RedWingsFeed:
I'm still trying to get my bearings back after missing about 30 hours due to boogers, so here's a getting-my-feet-wet Red Wings news post.
The Wings' beat writers did update the injury statuses of several Red Wings players over the last 12-or-so hours, with the most important injured Wing's groin injury deemed to be a minor one, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa noted on Monday afternoon:
The Red Wings' 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche was perhaps the ugliest win the Wings have earned in a long time, with the Wings' defense giving the puck away nearly as many times (Wings listed as having five giveaways? Try fifteen or twenty...) as they did during the team's 7-1 loss to Chicago...
But the Wings need to jam as many points and regulation-or-OT wins as possible, especially with the Blue Jackets, Bouwmeester-and-Leopold-reinforced Blues and Stars, Predators, Oilers and Coyotes hot on the Wings' tails in the Western Conference standings...
Hey gang, sorry for the shitty timing booger-wise. Bacteria and viruses seem to love snuggling up with my nostrils during back-to-backs. I'm still battling a fever and chills but I will drag my ass to work tomorrow.
I've been out of the loop but feel that it's necessary to weigh in on a few topics:
1. First and foremost, here's hoping that Henrik Zetterberg does come back for Thursday's game, and that Quincey's ready to go, too. The Wings are embracing the grind against the Avs tonight--and I'm fine with Franzen wanting to be playmaker if he's going to rack up as many primary assists on goals as he has of late--but Brendan Smith rather desperately needs a game off to take a mental break, and given the giveaways committed by Jakub Kindl over the last couple of games, he could take a seat to rest and recharge on Thursday as well (Thursday would be an excellent time to give DeKeyser a game even if Quincey's out as Colaiacovo looks rock-solid tonight).
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
"If we can do a legitimate trade to acquire a player that we think is a legitimate top-six forward, or a legitimate top-four defenseman, then we're going to look."
more from Holland...
About The Malik Report
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.