The Malik Report
Well I don't know what to make of this, because I assumed that Mike Babcock and the Wings were already going to talk to Ken Holland on Friday as part of the team's locker room clean-out day...Anyway, from TSN:
According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is expected to meet with general manager Ken Holland on Friday.
Saying there is no timeline on his future, Babcock will talk with his family today but understands the amount of attention surrounding his current contract status.
Should the Red Wings' AHL affiliate extend their playoff series with the Toronto Marlies on Saturday, he plans on attending Game 5 on Sunday in Grand Rapids.
Babcock's contract expires on June 30 at which point he could sign with any NHL team.
I'm not going to post all the redundant Babcock crap out there--to use his term--but this is worth posting because it's the only time I've seen someone speak to Babcock and get a response in a loooong time.
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
Thumbs down to Mike Babcock for his "Detroit wasn't good enough and isn't getting any younger" comments that followed the Red Wings' elimination at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Quite simply, they were out of place, and could easily be called self-serving.
Was it Babcock's way of explaining his imminent departure from Detroit? It's hard to imagine any other reason he would pass judgment on the Wings' future immediately after a tough loss. Never mind that he analyzed the situation correctly, it is for others to do that, just as Babcock preferred while the matter of his own future lingered all season. Indeed, he will leave the Detroit assessment to the media if he goes elsewhere, because he'll be too busy explaining how excited he is to join his new team. If he winds up signing another contract to coach the Red Wings, won't he have to disown the pessimism that he served up for Detroit fans and players last night? Or was it all a big smokescreen?
Maybe he intended that I and everyone else who is trying to guess what he might do would jump to the conclusion that he won't be back in Detroit. I'm all for a coach giving more than a pat on the back to his team and congratulations to the winning team after a season-ending defeat, but that's what was called for last night and I'm not sure why Babcock chose to do otherwise the way he did.
continue for the best performers of the first round...
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that he'd discuss "all that crap" regarding his future on Friday (presumably; the Wings won't even get back into Metro Detroit until 2 AM), when the Wings hold their exit team meeting and conduct locker room clean-out day, but he did address parts of his team's future after the game, and as ESPN's Katie Strang noted, Babcock raised some questions about the Wings' future:
He compared the Wings with the Lightning to hammer home his point: “We are what we are. They have a young team that, they were bad here for long enough that they were able to rebuild and get good young players, and young players at key positions. Three of our best players are 34 [Niklas Kronwall], 35 [Henrik Zetterberg] and 37 [Pavel Datsyuk]. So any way you look at it, we’re a team that’s changed a ton of players, we’re a team that’s added a lot of youth to our lineup, and right now on the outside they don’t pick us as a Stanley Cup contender.”
And Babcock seems at least somewhat concerned about the composition of the team down the road.
“We have lots of good, young players, no question about it. And we’ve got some good ones coming. But who’s going to replace [Datsyuk]?” he asked. “I don’t think [Datsyuk] is going anywhere right away, but that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to have big time players up the middle and on the back to be successful. So those are questions that our organization works towards, we’ve been drafting good, we’ve been developing good, but we’ve been winning too much. That’s the facts.”
Strang continues, and as soon as the Wings post the clip of Babcock's remarks, I'll post them so that you can draw your own conclusions. I think that the coach has some legitimate questions, but he could have also been duly noting that Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Danny DeKeyser remained not quite ready to lead the team for the second playoff run in a row...
And as you and I both know, Babcock tends to be sending his messages to his GM as opposed to the media when he makes these kinds of comments.
Some of us are better at playing through injuries than others. I work for the Nicklas Lidstrom of injury-play-through-age but have been dealing with some recurring panic attacks and sinus crap on top of it, so I'm sorry that my coverage of the Wings-Bolts series dropped off so significantly from Games 3-7.
Hockey is going to continue and TMR's news cycle is going to continue. It sounds like the Wings will have their locker room clean-out day on Friday, and after that, a good chunk of the Wings are going to go to the World Championships (joining Team USA's Dylan Larkin) and/or will head to Grand Rapids after the Griffins defeated the Toronto Marlies this evening:
The Wings will make some big changes during the offseason--that always happens--and of ESPN's Craig Custance's Insider-only entry describing 3 off-season keys for the Wings (he believes that the Wings should bring back Mike Babcock, which you may or may not agree with, and he believes that the Wings should probably keep Jimmy Howard around, which I believe will happen, for at least another year), I certainly believe that #2 is the biggest key:
I don't believe that Babcock's leaving, but I'm a lone voice here. He's a good man and a good coach.
So is Jeff Blashill, and losing one, never mind both, would be devastating.
There are no platitudes, no couching of the game in any sort of manner that sounds sincere. Game 7. Win or go home. No Kronwall, no Zidlicky (never an excuse, but an explanation if things go poorly). Odds look long. Fans feel nauseous. That's how it goes.
The Red Wings did their damnedest to take it to Tampa Bay, but they were unable to overcome the Lightning, who defeated a depleted-by-injury-and-depleted-by-suspension Wings team 2-0.
It may not feel right or fair, but Detroit's not going to play hockey again until early September. The Wings will disperse to the World Championships and the four winds.
To tide you over until Game Time...
Here's the Red Wings website's Game-Day Preview...
And Ken Daniels moonlighted for the NHL Network, setting up Game 7...
This is an incredibly important night for both the Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins, a night that might determine the futures of both teams.
The Red Wings are in a Game 7 situation against the Tampa Bay LIghtning minus their #1 defenseman tonight, and the Griffins are down 2 games to 0 in a best-of-5 series against the Toronto Marlies, hosting the final three games tonight, Saturday and Sunday.
If the Red Wings win, obviously, it's off to Montreal to face the Canadiens, and if the Griffins win, it's at least "Die Another Day";
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Rookie Alexey Marchenko and Jakub Kindl will be inserted into the lineup. Marchenko played the first two games before being scratched the past four after Brendan Smith was re-inserted into the lineup. This will be Kindl's series debut.
Kronwall and Zidlicky are the Red Wings' point men on each power-play unit. Those spots will be filled by Kindl and Danny DeKeyser.
"(Zidlicky) has been very good," Brendan Smith, Zidlicky's defense partner, said. "We'll lose him on the power play. I think he's been very good five-on-five, another tough loss for sure. We've got some guys coming in that have played well."
This will be the first game Zidlicky has missed this season. He played in 84 regular season games because New Jersey had played two more games than the Red Wings when he was traded to Detroit on March 2. Zidlicky has played in 90 games, regular season and playoffs combined, more than any player in the league.
Zidlicky has no points and an even plus-minus rating in the series.
Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm didn't skate today but will play tonight. Coach Mike Babcock said he is planning no lineup changes up front.
added 1:10pm, from Bill Roose of the Wings' website.
Ton of respect for Kronwall. Talked about it at length. Always great to deal with, good times and tough times.
Best comment from Kronwall, to me, was that he did something to put it in league's hands. A hit like that is a risk.
Kronwall obviously disappointed by league's decision. Said he had feeling he'd get suspended from the tone of the hearing.
via Terry Koshan tweet,
Kronwall on news he was suspended: "Not one of the best moments in my life." Doesn't agree with decision. Trouble sleeping past 2 nights
Time to move on from the suspension talk, get your pre-game nap in and get ready for game 7.
added 4:09pm, Below, Babcock briefly and Kronwall talk about the decision..
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