They certainly aren't executing. Either they're not working hard enough, or they're not playing smart hockey, take your pick.
Are you saying that a coach who has won at every place he's been and is the only triple gold coach in hockey history is sending them out without a strategy to follow? Because if you believe that's the case, I know a Nigerian prince who needs help smuggling his money to the US and if you help him he'll give you $1,000,000.
You could certainly stand to cut down on the sarcasm since I only asked you a question. I agree they aren't executing, and poor execution generally has a lot more to do with coaching than it seems at first glance. The team didn't forget how to play hockey all of a sudden. So what's the issue? According to Babs they aren't trying hard enough. However, I can't imagine that's the case considering part of what gets professional athletes to the level they're at is their competitiveness and drive to succeed. I certainly don't think the Detroit Red Wings collectively decided that they just weren't going to work hard last night.
Also, when you say "all he can do is tell them what he wants done, it's up to them to do it" you're essentially saying that Babs comes up with a game plan, puts the lineup together, and then he's done for the night. Coaches have work to do "controlling" players all game long. And when a team chronically blows third period leads you've got to wonder what's going on. Unless, of course, you believe the Babcock line and think that somewhere between the second and third periods the guys just stopped trying, just as they have a dozen other times this season. I don't know the answer, but I'm calling b.s. on Babs' explanation.
I want the Wings from the 1st period last night for 60 mins!
Me too. But in case you hadn't heard, the whole team just stopped competing (all at once) in the third period for some unexplained reason.
Babcock's job is to come up with a plan, communicate the plan to the players, and put them on the ice in proper situations. It's up to the players to execute. As far as effort goes, it's not there sometimes. Anyone who has ever played sports knows that sometimes you get to a game and you just can't get up for it, or you're doing what you can but your energy level isn't where it should be. Last night I think a lot of guys were looking forward to the break, either because they were playing for their country or because they're getting a bit of a break. In that it's no different than you or I mentally checking out the last day of work before we're taking off for a week on vacation.