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Babcock Underperforming?

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I think Babs is just as much to blame as anyone for lack luster play since Jan. Ever since we started to stumble in January I've been keeping a close eye on Babs and his peformance. When the Dec stumbles started, I wasn't as concerned thinking it was just one of those periods in a season that EVERY team goes through....but they never seem to have come out of it fully. Yes a few multi game winning streaks, but I haven't seen them take it to the next level. I've been paying attention to Babs line changes and matchups, game management, reaction after wins/losses, how he manages his staff of coaches, what the players are saying, stats, etc...

I'll say this, he is no doubt a good coach and I want him behind our bench. However this year, I haven't been impressed. I don't think this team this year has found a true identity. I don't think this team plays as a cohesive unit most nights. IMO, we've gotton this high in the standings by riding one hot player to the next, but never all together. I believe he's been out coached in a few games. I believe that he's spent too much time juggling lines/players to get other players going to the detriment of winning consistently (Hudler, Madano, Fil). I realize in cases he is tyring to accomodate for injuries, but as far as injuries go we've actually had it fairly good this year. At this point in the season he should have his 2-3 entire team line combo's for the playoffs pretty much decided...I don't think he has a clue if the playoffs were to start tomorrow. McCrimmon is horrible...or at least our D has been horrible and that's his responsibility (Lids, Raffi, Stewy, and Kronner...most teams would give their left arm to have a top four like this??). On paper I believe we have the best team in the NHL (on PAPER!). His job is to get the most out of his players, which with Wings pool of talent should translate into winning/domination for the majority. The job is not getting done and I believe Babs is underperforming and I'll be very interested to watch him as these playoff's start.

Okay right or wrong I've given a lot of opions above. What's your opinion of Babs coaching job this year?

GMRwings1983 likes this

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I was sort of wondering this earlier. Before Babcock signed his extension, he was concerned about being able to ignite and inspire his players after having been their coach for so long and called a couple long-tenured coaches to get their opinions. I'm wondering if this is exactly what he was thinking about?

Babcock was interviewed briefly by Pierre LeBrun this morning for the Daily Debate.

I got a question in my chat yesterday from a Wings fan whose handle was "Panicky," and that was before last night's debacle. If I were the Red Wings, though, a veteran and savvy team, I would just chalk it up as a stinker and move on.

"That's what I'm going to do,'' Babcock told me this morning. "But the great thing about this game is reality: you are what you are, and you are what you are every single day. The bottom line is that yesterday we weren't good enough. The coaches, whatever we did, wasn't good enough. The players, whatever they did, wasn't good enough.

"You can stand in the right spots all you want on the ice, but you have to out-compete the other team and we never did. From the goaltenders to the D to the forwards to the coaching staff, we were poor. Those are the facts."

Listen, the Red Wings would definitely rather be on a roll heading into the playoffs than doing this. But if you eliminate last night's game and focus on the other losses, you'll see a hard-fought 2-1 loss to Vancouver, a tough overtime loss to Chicago and a shootout loss to Pittsburgh. They played well in those games.

But my big-picture concern is with the team's overall defensive play. The Wings are 21st in the league in goals against per game. Last season, they were seventh. Now, a lot of this has to do with all the injuries they've had again this season, no question, but still ...

"It hasn't been good," Babcock said of his team's overall defensively play. "I thought it was real good early in the season, then I thought we were taped together [injuries] for a long time. There's lot of things that go into a year. But to be honest with you, I think we know how to play. We've played enough good games that we know how to play. Our focus wasn't there last night, but I liked our focus in a number of games recently before that. I thought we had played pretty darn good even if we didn't get the results."

Datsyuk and Howard are on the mend and should be back this weekend, Babcock said. The Wings play at Nashville on Saturday and host Minnesota on Sunday. Time to get the train back on track.

Link: Daily Debate

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I don't really have an opinion on this as I really don't tend to focus too much on coaches and what they are doing unless I notice things glaringly that I would disagree with. I can't say I've seen much of that this year out of him.

For what it's worth, Hodgemail over at TSN asks who might win coach of the year...Babcock gets a mention as a potential (probably a lot in part due to injuries though).

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"But to be honest with you, I think we know how to play. We've played enough good games that we know how to play. Our focus wasn't there last night, but I liked our focus in a number of games recently before that. I thought we had played pretty darn good even if we didn't get the results."

He's starting to sound like Ozzie from last year.

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I think that "we are what we are" and "we know how to play" stuff isn't cutting it anymore. It seems to make them unaccountable for their play on the ice. Granted, with as many injuries as the team as had this year, it would be difficult for any coach to effectively discipline players by benching or demoting. I think that is what he needs to do though. Just tweaking lines doesn't seem to have been the most successful the last couple years. Too much emphasis on chemistry and not enough on performance. I wouldn't mind him making a big off-season trade to show the boys that he means business.

nate94gt likes this

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I'd really like to see Babcock sitting guys if there playing poorly, and it should be from our top guy right down the the bottom guys.. If your not going to play sit up in the press box

nate94gt likes this

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I think Babcock can only say and do so much, it has to come from the guys whose skates are on the ice, every shift. And a lot of players are not focused, making mistakes, standing around and not hustling enough. Granted, they are in the playoffs and they really don't have that playoff edge right now. But someone better find a way to wake them up or it is going to a long summer if they face Nashville or one of the younger, hungrier teams who are going to outwork them every shift and knock them out.

Rick D likes this

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someone needs to do something more than just ******* talk. I could give a f*** less about what babcock has to say how about he ices a team taht at least gives a s*** for more than 2 games a month. I have been a person that has said for a while we will still go deep we just don't care etc. But to watch such uninspired hockey is insulting and i find it more insulting they force fans to have to pay so much money to see players just go through some ******* motions. At least s***ty teams like Isles, Avs, try.

Hockeymom1960 likes this

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2nd in the West despite...

-numerous injuries to key players throughout the season,

-a starting goalie who struggled most of the year (and then an injured backup goalie who was playing well to compensate before going down)

-and the pressure of all the expectations in Detroit while every other team is gunning for you.

I think he's doing fine. It's been an odd season in some ways. The lines haven't had much luck gelling after Modano went down and Flip once again struggled to find offensive consistency as a full-time 2nd line center. Add injuries to Datsyuk here and there and generally it's safe to say you've got struggles up front. I think he's done pretty well with the cards he's been dealt though. If Modano hadn't been out so long, I think the offense would seem a lot more "united" as he's supposed to be the guy anchoring the 3rd line. Even if Flip struggled, having Modano as a sure fire 3rd line guy made it a lot easier to experiment with Flip on a wing seeing as we still would have Dats and Z who could center the top 2 lines if necessary.

And it's not like we've really struggled to score goals. The only reason we have the record we do is because we score a lot of goals this year as there were about 3 months where it was all but a given that Howard was going to give up 4 goals. When your starting goalie is young and slipping, it's tough on a team, and it's all the harder when your other move (Osgood) actually starts working out only to succumb to a long term injury. But we still found a way to fight through it and win games and stay near the top of the standings.

So long as Datsyuk's not hurting heading into the playoffs and Howard continues to improve and keep it steady when the pressure's on, I think the team is in good shape heading into the post-season. They've got a lot of room to elevate their game, and sometimes it's better to be in that position than to head into the playoffs on cruise control after an easy regular season ride.

I think success in the Playoffs will boil down to 2-3 things that are almost entirely out of Babcocks control:

1) the health of Datsyuk

2) the goaltending (will Howard struggle again? If he does, could Osgood possibly be ready at all?)

3) the inevitable injuries that will creep up on guys in the post-season

The rest I think will work out fine.

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Wait until the playoffs before you start analyzing the coach. As I've said in other discussions, this is the problem when 16 teams make the playoffs. All the attention in the last couple months is on who makes the last 2 playoffs spots. There's no motivation for the best teams to play :zzz:, they're just killing time for the playoffs.

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The only positive I can see about us stumbling into the playoffs is this: A team like Van. still doesn't know how to pace itself (considering the round they always exit) so they are basically blowing their load during the regular season. Then you have so many other teams in a dog fight (I'd even include SJ b/c for a lot of the season they were boarding) that many will be burned out. So hopefully our incrediabily lazy and unred wing like hockey will end up paying off for us in the end. It is a marvel that we managed to stay in 2nd while basically playing so half assed

Edited by ben_usmc

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Wait until the playoffs before you start analyzing the coach. As I've said in other discussions, this is the problem when 16 teams make the playoffs. All the attention in the last couple months is on who makes the last 2 playoffs spots. There's no motivation for the best teams to play :zzz:, they're just killing time for the playoffs.

Well tell that to the Canucks then, because there still playing hard every night

Hockeymom1960 likes this

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Well tell that to the Canucks then, because there still playing hard every night

They certainly are on a mission, however that could come back to bite them in the ass. 6/7/8 seeds are not nearly the scrubs 6/7/8 seeds used to be. I especially wouldn't want to face Nashville or Chicago if I was Van. However I feel confident we would crush Chi if we played them

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You can only blame the players for so long. I haven't seen him try to change anything except the lines. Many factors though.

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I have noticed that Babcock seems to be having a hard time with line match-ups lately. I know Datsyuk being out makes it harder for him to match against other teams consistently, but he's still been getting owned in that department lately. At least from my perspective. Even at home, with the advantage, he seems to be struggling.

That's really my only gripe with him and I'm just gonna assume he will tighten it up for the playoffs. Hey... if the players can 'flip a switch', why can't Babs? :)

Edited by Broken 16

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I have noticed that Babcock seems to be having a hard time with line match-ups lately. I know Datsyuk being out makes it harder for him to match against other teams consistently, but he's still been getting owned in that department lately. At least from my perspective. Even at home, with the advantage, he seems to be struggling.

That's really my only gripe with him and I'm just gonna assume he will tighten it up for the playoffs. Hey... if the players can 'flip a switch', why can't Babs? :)

I think they play better when he cant match lines (on the road). homer, hudler, and bert are the only really glaring defensive liabilities we should have at forward. Sure hasnt seemed that way though.

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Well tell that to the Canucks then, because there still playing hard every night

They certainly are on a mission, however that could come back to bite them in the ass. 6/7/8 seeds are not nearly the scrubs 6/7/8 seeds used to be. I especially wouldn't want to face Nashville or Chicago if I was Van. However I feel confident we would crush Chi if we played them

they're not playing THAT hard. they're just plain good, that's all.

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they're not playing THAT hard. they're just plain good, that's all.

They are a good regular season team. No doubt about it.

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They are a good regular season team. No doubt about it.

true because they haven't done much in the playoffs the last couple of seasons. this will likely change this year.

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true because they haven't done much in the playoffs the last couple of seasons. this will likely change this year.

Ummmmm... aside from losing in the Finals about an era ago, they haven't really done squat in the playoffs. It's gone on a little longer than "the last couple seasons", but yea, maybe they will finally make a splash this season.

I don't know who is in worse shape going in... us for having Howard as our starter or you for having Luongo. Guess we will see.

Edited by Broken 16

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Babcock is doing a poor job of motivating and preparing the players game to game, but the players are also to blame for this. They're being paid and are professionals. They should not need motivating.

That's especially true when you have a team whose leadership is always talked about as being the best in the league. The leaders aren't cutting it right now, because the team is wildly inconsistent when it comes to effort since November.

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The fact that Babcock didn't skate their bags off today tells me that there is a big problem. This whole team including Babs don't give a flying f**K. The fans deserve a hell of a lot better then this crappy play. I am sorry but if they can't get motivated to play frickin hockey and make millions then maybe they should be on a different team. They let the heart and soul of this team (Yzerman) leave to be the GM of Tampa Bay. Kenny is a great GM but I bet things would be different if they were playing for Stevie!

Majsheppard likes this

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I think to stem the recent performance or lack there of on either the players or the coaching staff is absurd! I mean, yeah we are all hoping that they kick it into gear but c'mon guys! We are still #2 in the conference (at time of posting) and we are without key players in our lineup. Yeah I agree with people on here that the fans are spending their money and deserve a whole hell of a lot better. But we can't help the downsides of a team. We can't help that they might be lacking a little confidence and drive right now. Yeah Babs might be able to do a better job at motivating the guys but these guys have pride of their own. They aren't a 5th grade soccer team. They don't need a mom or a coach to tell them they should be playing better. These are grown professional athletes. Yeah sometimes they may not play like it, but it's hard to get motivated when they do go out and bust their asses and have nothing to show for it because of a bad bounce or the idiotic play of a team member. At some point, they might get demoralized about how they are playing. We might not see the motivation Babcock put in because all we see is the final product which has been losses. Everyone is down and demoralized right now. These aren't your, "just give me my check and I'll see what I can do" athletes. These guys are quality guys and give a s***. Everyone, coaching staff included have hit a down point. It sucks that it comes right before the playoffs but the playoffs is a WHOLE. NEW. GAME. To say that Babcock is underperforming is the same thing as saying no one on that staff, that team, or in that front office give a f***! They want to win! That's why they are there! It's just a low point in the season...at the end of the season...right before playoffs. They do give a f***! I know they do. They are just demoralized from the times they do try and they just get beat! Quit trying to pin the problems of a fan base that has the highest expectations of all. Simply because they have hit a rough patch doesn't mean they are chugging tequila before the game and during the game thinking of their big screens and cars. No one is underperforming....the team, along with this demanding fan base is just demoralized. That is it.

That is all.

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I wonder what exactly they expect to happen when the playoffs show up. This team looks lost on the ice, even when they beat Toronto. That's right, even when we win I think we suck. These close losses should have been tight wins. To mimic almost every post, there is nothing going for these guys. Just because Datsyuk is out due to his usual injury shouldn't cause catastrophic failure. Although, one can understand using a 3rd and 4th string goalie can have its downsides. I liked how things looked when the season started but now its like they would rather play golf. I can understand Babs not ripping his team a new one in front of the media for professional reasons, but what is his plan? Isn't it his job to get these guys motivated and playing as a team? Every fan has the right to upset that there is this slump and the appearance that nobody on or behind the bench seems to care much about it. At this rate we can be out on our asses in the first round simply because we don't have that competition drive that all the other teams will show up with.

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I think there's only so much Babcock can do with what he has. We were all pretty pumped about the lineup coming into this season, but when you look at the type of players on this team, it's just not that dynamic. We have a lot of skilled forwards, but most of them can't consistently score. While we're deep, it's mostly with good role players. We've lacked a real second line all season long. It's basically a great first line and three pretty good third lines. And our defense has no chemistry. This is a combination of McCrimmon (It just can't NOT involve him, it's too much of a coincidence) and the mixing of the defensive pairings. And no matter what anyone says, right now Ericsson and Kindl are hardly better than Lebda was during his time here, and I would argue they're not better than Lilja was. And of course our goaltending has sucked for 80% of the season.

We're really hurting from Franzen's disappearance. Early on Cleary stepped into the breach, but during his injury and since we've missed that dynamic second line scorer. We should not be hurting this bad from only missing Datsyuk, as amazing as Datsyuk is.

Edited by VM1138

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