Feb 14, 2013, 11:34 AM EST
Those of you who enjoy the X’s and O’s of hockey will probably enjoy this MLive.com article in which Detroit coach Mike Babcock explains how the loss of puck-moving defensemen like Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Brad Stuart has changed the look of the Red Wings.
No longer, Babcock explains, can they rely so much on stretching the ice with long passes; instead, they have to move more as a five-man unit if they want to push the play and keep control of the puck.
“We have to be closer and tighter and more available and better defensively, and sometimes it’s not very pretty, but that’s just the way it is,” Babcock said.
The key, he says, is to be able to hit the opponent’s blue line with speed, which either produces an entry while maintaining possession or a dump and chase with a good chance of retrieval.
“The game’s real simple, the more time you spend in your zone, the less time you spend in their zone, the more you dump the puck because you got no speed on the rush,” Babcock said.
“If you’re efficient coming out and move the puck and you do it right once, you’re coming with speed, you don’t have to dump the puck, you probably get some sort of entry, or at least you give up possession and get it right back. Dumping the puck is awful when you’re just dumping it in and changing. You spend the whole game in your own zone wearing yourself out.”
In a related story, if Babcock can help keep the Red Wings (7-4-2) in the upper echelon of the Western Conference and extend the team’s consecutive playoff appearances streak to 22, he should be right there in the coach of the year discussions.
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 63
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 92
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 6
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 14
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 89
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 87
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 69
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty 179
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (179)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (92)
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand (89)
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) (87)