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#2521493 Regner: Next year could be Babcock's last

Posted by gcom007 on 22 May 2014 - 10:16 PM

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on Hockey Night in Canada

“When you’ve been in a place nine years like I have, going into my 10th year, it becomes a mutual thing. You want to be someplace where they want you. If they don’t want you, you move on. I’m going to coach in the league for a long time yet, there’s going to be opportunities for me. I like what we’ve done in Detroit; we’ve rebuilt on the fly…I think we have a chance to be better next year and better in the future. So, I tell people all the time: I’ve got a good place to hunt, I’ve got a good place to water ski, my family’s happy, my youngest girl is finishing school next year so I’m free that way. But there’s no reason to move if you don’t have to move or if it doesn’t excite you to. I’ve always been a believer that the grass is greener right here at home as long as you fertilize and water.”


He is not going anywhere! No more Babcock leaving or being fired threads needed. Let the league of idiots have their fun dreaming but that is about all they will get. Babs is home here in Detroit! We did not have to have a long rebuilding process due to our scouting and farm system. Even this past year we could have completed as much as any had we been healthy enough. We add health, more experienced youth, less dead weight and another piece or 2 and we are right back in the thick with a very long bright future to go along with the rich history, best owner and a very good GM (even though I don't like all his moves, or lack of moves).


I doubt he's going anywhere real soon either, but I think you're giving the system a little too much credit on the rebuilding process front. The kids floundered in the playoffs, and if we were healthier, we might've just had an old lineup that couldn't get it done. And the reality is that Z's back is going to force him into a decline quicker than he would if he didn't have back issues. I'm not saying he won't be effective or a great leader, but he is at the very least unlikely to continue to produce at a high level as more time goes by.


And yes, you add health, get some more experience for the kids and less dead weight and we're in better shape for sure on some levels, but a lot of this stuff has been said each summer for 4-5 years now. Very little has been done to improve the roster outside of bringing up prospects that has worked, and that is a very clear fact at this point, not speculation. Until we see some real changes in the way Holland puts this team together, I still think we're ultimately in a slow decline. We will not be able to continue to compete at a playoff level as Dats and Z decline with our defense. Even if Jimmy bounces back from a rough year, our defense is far too often a huge liability and you can't expect your goalie to stop everything. Holland first and foremost has to make a real commitment to improving the defense. If another summer goes by and nothing on that front changes, something in management has to change.


That said, again, I don't think Babcock is eager to jump ship at all and I don't think it'll necessarily happen right away, but I think it's more than fair to infer that he wants to keep his options open for a reason. If he truly believed in how green his grass can be here in Detroit, he wouldn't flat out say that he's not going to sign an extension this summer, especially after Holland flat out said he wants to sign Babcock to an extension this summer. Clearly, it's not about money as Babcock is already one of if not the highest paid coach and Holland would beat any salary another team would throw at him. If it's not about money and he believes that this will continue to be a good place to be, why is he unwilling to talk about an extension?


Sure, there could be nothing to it, but I think there's likely to be something more to it if he's willing to flat out shut down the possibility of something the GM has expressed he wants. Add to that Holland's unwillingness to let Blashill go yet with Babcock's future not set in stone and at the very least, you have two parties that are covering their asses, obviously for some reason.


If Holland again is unable to make this team better and it's another season of struggling just to make the playoffs only to lose early on, it's hard to imagine Babcock won't be interested in at the very least hearing about what's out there. He still might not leave, even if he gets a great offer, as I don't think he's misleading anyone when he says he's happy here. But I don't see him continuing to coach weak teams who's only hope is squeaking into the playoffs. I think we're starting to see that the idea that anyone making the playoffs has a chance isn't is true as it seemed for a few years. Babcock wants to win, bottom line. He's loyal, but he knows full well that this isn't the only job he'll be able to get and he's made that clear several times recently, while also shooting down talks of an extension.

#2521107 Regner: Next year could be Babcock's last

Posted by gcom007 on 19 May 2014 - 12:53 AM

I absolutely think there's a possibility that Babcock could leave next year or sometime in the next 2-3 years, and I do think there's something to the fact that he stated that he doesn't want to sign an extension right now. I don't think that means that he's absolutely leaving next year though at all. I don't think there's anything to the rumors going around about Babcock being set on leaving next year. I don't think he has any plans to leave at this moment, and I certainly don't think he knows where he'd go. Even if Babcock did have some semblance of a real plan, I don't think anyone writing these articles is informed at all about such matters, and are just speculating because Babcock is generally considered to be the top coach in the game right now, the Wings have been struggling, and he's not interested in signing an extension at the moment. I'd bet that what Babcock's said about not wanting to sign an extension is where any legitimate information about the matter ends.


That said, again, I think there's something to that. If I were speculating, I'd say it's a message to the Wings management more than anything. Holland wants Babcock to say and has said that he wants to talk about an extension with him this summer. Babcock is the one who at least at this point has nixed the idea and said he'd do one-year deals after his current contract is up. So if Babcock leaves anytime soon, it's going to be his decision.


If Holland has expressed to the media that he wants to talk to Babcock this summer about an extension, and Babcock has expressed to the press that he's not interested in doing so and wants to do one-year deals after this contract, to me, that's Babcock sending a message to Ken Holland and the rest of the Wings management. I don't think he's saying for sure that he's going to leave, and honestly, I don't think he wants to leave. But I don't think there's any way to interpret what's been said other than to think that Babcock wants to make sure the Wings know that he has options and he's willing to keep the door open on them.


Babcock came to Detroit because it's one of the top organizations in all of sports and we've built a tradition in the last twenty years of being successful and always going for it. But things have been in a steady decline over the last few years and Holland thus far really hasn't done anything to suggest he's willing and able to turn it around. If things continue as they have, I don't expect that Babcock will want to stick around, and I do think that's the message he is sending to management. If this was an internally planned transition to bring Blashill up to take over for Babcock, why would Holland be talking about trying to sign Babs to an extension? Why would Babcock be saying he's not interested in that and will sign one-year deals after this contract expires next summer? Sure, it could all just be a smokescreen, but I really doubt it. 


I think Babcock is sending a message that he needs to see a real change and more of an effort from management to put a solid roster together. He knows he can get a job anywhere, and he knows that Holland knows that. And as much as the Wings don't want to lose Blashill, I don't think anyone in management wants to see Babcock move to a team like the Penguins, though I say that for example only, not because I buy the rumors at all. Babcock has had to coach a team of Griffins players into the playoffs now two years in a row, while guys taking up decent chunks of cap space sit in the press box either injured or simply not good enough to crack the lineup. All the while, he has to hear Holland talk about how everyone is too expensive and none of the deals made sense. Like everyone else, do you really think Babcock isn't wondering what part of Holland's strategy the last four years then makes sense? He may truly have a good relationship with Holland, but he's no fool at the end of the day.


Cap space has gone unused. Cap space has been wasted on guys that can't contribute and sit in the press box or play in Grand Rapids. Your so-called stars can't be relied upon to produce. The defense has withered to the point where the pairings read more like a joke someone would have made three years ago. We would've all laughed, because even though the idea of losing Rafalski, Stuart and Lidstrom sounded terrible, it could never get that bad. Welcome to 2014, where yesterday's doom and gloom jokes about the defense have taken shape in reality, but we still were signing more forwards in August last year even though we already had too many.


If Holland turns it around and gives Babcock a roster that features a real defense and a slightly refreshed offense, and it becomes clear once again that we're going to actually take the idea of being a top team seriously, I fully expect Babcock to stay, even if it means losing Blashill. If we see a repeat of the last four summers and another roster full of holes on defense, I think it's very likely Babcock will leave. Maybe he really will take a non-NHL job; who knows? As said, I doubt Babcock really even knows, though I do know for certain that Art Regner nor anyone else writing about hockey on blogs or in papers has absolutely any idea at all.


But given what's been said by Holland and Babcock, I think it's clear that Babs is at a point where he's willing to throw his weight around and send the message that he is not content to continue to polish turd rosters just enough to hopefully eek into the playoffs and lose.

#2520976 Shero & Bylsma Fired

Posted by gcom007 on 17 May 2014 - 12:15 PM

Some forget that this was where we once were. Back in the early 90's we were one of the best regular season teams year after year. Yet we couldn't win the Cup. In comes Bowman, still didn't win it. Made a few moves, then we won. it took the correct balance of players, coaches, and management to win. Winning  a cup is not something that is easy to do. But it is easier to fire a GM and coach than it is to fire 23 players.......


Even with the Cup they won, they beat a crippled Wings team where even Lidstrom was missing games and nearly every star was playing with significant injuries. And it still took game 7 and some very favorable calls from the refs to get there.


I'd like to see that happen, and then he actually ends up at Michigan. YOU CAN'T HAVE OUR BABCOCK!!


Future headline: U of M Babcockblocks the Penguins

#2518400 Ken Holland Quotes (Apr 29th

Posted by gcom007 on 30 April 2014 - 03:30 PM

Ansar Khan ‏@AnsarKhanMLive 10m

Jimmy Howard said he began feeling I'll with flu at 1 PM day of Game 4. He laughed off rumors of concussion. Said it was just the flu.



And I was the crazy one on here who never bought the concussion rumor...people weren't using their heads on that one.

#2517281 ECQF - Game 5 - Red Wings at Bruins - 3:00 PM EST

Posted by gcom007 on 26 April 2014 - 05:45 PM

To be fair, Smith has been vastly improved in the last 3 months. Lets see if that's permanent first, shall we?


Smith was shockingly pretty good down the stretch here. If he can keep improving he'll be solid. But yeah, we definitely need to see if it can last before we get too excited. He's about the only Wing that seemed to really find that extra gear to shift into for the playoffs.

#2517235 ECQF - Game 5 - Red Wings at Bruins - 3:00 PM EST

Posted by gcom007 on 26 April 2014 - 05:19 PM

I could probably be alright with one of Legwand or Alfie back, but not both. I don't really see why Legwand would be necessary with Weiss healthy and a bunch of centers already on the roster. Alfie was not good after the Olympics, though injuries probably played a major role.

First order of business has to be fixing the defense.


There was a period of time after the Olympics where Alfie wasn't as good, but neither was Kronwall. They both had long Olympic runs while everyone else had rest, and then were expected to come back and be leaders on a team that was more battered than ever. I give him a pass for that because he did get it going again down the stretch. And next year, there's no Olympics and you'd have to hope we'll be healthier and can give Alfie a role that he can thrive in more.

#2517224 ECQF - Game 5 - Red Wings at Bruins - 3:00 PM EST

Posted by gcom007 on 26 April 2014 - 05:11 PM

I have no problem with Alfie back at a reasonable price. He's taking way too muck flack for what has been a pretty solid year. I don't think we would've made the playoffs without him because he was one of our main leaders down the stretch who wasn't injured. The Cap is going up and I think it's highly likely that we're not going to use all the space up, so if Alfie is willing to stay for a reasonable amount, again, I have no problem with it. We have way, way, way bigger problems than Alfie.

#2517158 ECQF - Game 5 - Red Wings at Bruins - 3:00 PM EST

Posted by gcom007 on 26 April 2014 - 04:55 PM

So who's doing Ken Holland's exit interview?

#2517046 ECQF - Game 5 - Red Wings at Bruins - 3:00 PM EST

Posted by gcom007 on 26 April 2014 - 04:43 PM

Wow. Z. Could barely walk 6 weeks ago to a playoff goal scorer. Any way you think about it, that's remarkable.

#2516999 ECQF - Game 5 - Red Wings at Bruins - 3:00 PM EST

Posted by gcom007 on 26 April 2014 - 04:37 PM

The one positive is we had to face the best team in the league in the first round with a hobbled Z and a half-interested Datsyuk and no Ericsson and lots of Quincey and lots of Kindl-Lashoff and Howard having the worst season of his NHL career and a bunch of kids. But, even with those things going against us, we'd probably beat the Penguins, who are the second best team in the East.
Trim the fat this summer, make good decisions, wrap the players in bubble wrap, and we'll be ok.

Half-interested Datsyuk?


The guy is playing through an injury and still has 3 goals in 5 games.

#2516914 ECQF - Game 5 - Red Wings at Bruins - 3:00 PM EST

Posted by gcom007 on 26 April 2014 - 04:24 PM

Refs may be horrible today, but come on, listen to yourselves people. Totally unnecessary to be happy about a ref taking a puck to the face.

#2516876 ECQF - Game 5 - Red Wings at Bruins - 3:00 PM EST

Posted by gcom007 on 26 April 2014 - 04:19 PM

Detroit has had 3 or 4 more PP's throughout the series than Boston...yup refs are totally throwing it to Boston. The difference is Boston can score on there PP's

True story, but doesn't change that Boston has gotten away with plenty more as well. There have been some shocking no-calls and some bad calls on us. We've gotten away with stuff as well, but Boston's clearly a rougher team than we are and it shows.

And don't get me wrong, I'd love it if the Wings were tougher. A lot tougher.

And good job defense. Outstanding. Just outstanding. That's the series barring a miracle.

#2516606 ECQF - Game 5 - Red Wings at Bruins - 3:00 PM EST

Posted by gcom007 on 26 April 2014 - 03:31 PM

Remember when you felt excitement when you saw numbers like 21 and 14 on the ice?

Oh, March...

#2515701 Classy move by Tootoo.

Posted by gcom007 on 25 April 2014 - 01:35 AM

Tootoo was always annoying to play against, but the more I've learned about the guy off the ice, the more I really like him. It's really a bummer that his role didn't work out so well with this team. I think he could've been of help if the offense wasn't so flooded with guys. Gotta hand it to the guy for having such a good attitude about playing in Grand Rapids though. I'm sure he's not thrilled about it in the context of what he expected when he signed the deal, but it seems like he's making the best of it.

#2515691 ECQF - Game 4 - Bruins 3 at Red Wings 2 (F/OT)

Posted by gcom007 on 25 April 2014 - 12:09 AM

I agree that most coaches would jump at the chance to coach for Detroit, but Holland is circling the drain.  The last 5 years have been a string of abysmal signings and free agent acquisitions.  He was handed the keys to the Cadillac with Yzerman, Lidstrom, and a host of other star players, and every year we've lost talent and replaced it with either imports / minor league players that don't live up to their billing or washed up free agents.  Ken Holland gets way too much credit for the Red Wings' success.  All of his "accomplishments" can be attributed to the talents and machinations of Mike Ilitch, Jim Devellano, Bryan Murray, Scotty Bowman, and Mike Babcock.

Maybe he gets too much credit for those earlier teams, but I won't take it away from him either because ultimately, he was getting the job done, and just because there was no cap doesn't mean it was always easy. I will say that I think he made some moronic decisions that remind me of his more recent decisions though in the no cap era, such as bringing Hasek back that 2nd time. It just wasn't a classy move at all after signing Joseph, and we absolutely didn't need him with Joseph. But for the most part, he got the job done, kept the team Bowman built running smoothly, tweaked it when need be, and again, I'm just not going to take that away from him at this point, knowing what I know now.

But as successful as he was, that has not been the case at all in the cap era at least since we really started to have to deal with it. He's failed on so many levels and let this team sink far lower than was necessary. Our early success hinged on Franzen and Z making very little money, that nice cap rollback coming off the first season, and bargain basement veteran goaltending from Osgood that was good enough to shut out the Penguins in the first two games of the finals of the way to winning the Stanley Cup.

Ever since we had to start making serious decisions about guys and building the team in a new way, he's seemed completely flummoxed. Hell, even he's admitted that he was shocked and unprepared for what the offseason brought in the first couple years. Then it just became "we like our team" when he couldn't or wouldn't make moves or sign guys. He's let assets go for nothing, he's failed to improve the defense, he's made far more bad free agent signings than good, and the last two years, the teams he put together in the offseason ended up having to be carried by our Grand Rapids kids to make the playoffs. We are clearly a team running on fumes at this point, and as the two key guys that have kept this team competitive consistently decline with age and retire, we will be in very serious trouble if Holland hasn't changed his ways or been replaced.

Again, if we go out unceremoniously this season, if it was my call, he'd be out as GM. I would keep him in the organization if possible, because I don't think he's useless, but the breaking point for me was after two seasons of failing to improve our D at all from the outside after losing Rafalski, Stuart and Lidstrom, he was still signing forwards when we already had too many last August. That was when I really lost my faith in him being able to get the job done. Maybe he still could find a way to build a great team in another organization where he was more emotionally disconnected, but in Detroit, I just don't think he has the stomach to make the tough calls and take chances anymore, and it's why this team has been in decline since 2009.

And that Babcock's done what he has with the pieces he's been given continues to impress me. I think it's absurd that people want him gone. Nobody's perfect, and it's unfair to expect them to be, but he's overcome a lot and kept this team competitive and in the hunt year after year despite losing key players, dealing with Holland's lousy signings, and then all of the injuries the last couple years. He's maintained a pattern of success relative to what he's been given and had to deal with.

The same cannot be said for Holland at this point. Maybe he got unlucky and it could've been different if Weiss had played more of the year and helped us, but he didn't, and the health issues weren't a secret when he was signed either. Bad luck or bad decision, it doesn't change the fact that he's had four seasons in a row now where he's mostly failed to help make this team better. They've been in decline since 2009, there's been far more bad signings than good in that span of time, and our saving grace the last two years has been either Dats and Z carrying the team (and definitely Howard too last season) or kids from GR coming up and playing better than they should and maybe ever will again.

Enough is enough.

And to those who say that at least we are in the playoffs, I hear you on one level. It shows we still have a solid core and I think Babcock deserves credit there too. But consider then that given our ability to still make the playoffs in spite of so many clear failings in the GM department, imagine how much better we might be had we made better decisions the last four years. Imagine if instead of overspending on some of the useless forwards we'd signed, we overspent on even a solid mid-level defenseman instead. Imagine that, you know, we overspent in a way that actually addressed our ridiculously blatant needs. Everybody's overspending. It's the nature of the beast. We are too, we're just doing it in a colossally ass backwards way.

This team could be better and absolutely should've been better for some time. If Holland can no longer help then be better, it's time for him to go, simple as that. After all, sometimes change is good. Sometimes it's bad. Same thing goes for no change though. At some point you just have to take that risk though when things aren't working. If we can keep Holland in the organization and retain the scouting staff, I don't think we have anything to lose.