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Detroit’s Babcock doesn’t want playoff streak to end on his watch

Apr 19, 2013, 7:40 PM EDT

Mike Babcock

The last Red Wings team to miss playoffs was in 1989-90.

The 2013 squad wants no part of that dubious distinction.

As such, the Wings are talking like a desperate bunch heading into Saturday’s game against Vancouver.

“If you’re Henrik Zetterberg, and it’s your first year as captain, you don’t want it on your watch,” head coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press of possibly missing the playoffs. “If you’re Mike Babcock, in your eighth year of coaching, you don’t want it on your watch.”

Detroit currently sits ninth in the Western Conference, two points back of Columbus (49 points), with just five games remaining in the season.

According to Sports Club Stats, Detroit is in decent shape to make the postseason, holding a 41.3 percent chance — higher than Dallas (40.3), Columbus (21.2) and Phoenix (1.9).

After Saturday’s game in Vancouver (they’ve beaten the Canucks twice this year by a combined 13-5 score) the Wings host the Coyotes, Kings and Predators, three teams they’ve posted a combined 4-2-1 record against this year.

Then, in the season finale, Detroit will face Dallas in what could be a game to decide who gets into the dance.

The way Babcock sees it, the final five games will come down to how badly his team wants to avoid snapping the consecutive postseason appearance streak.

“Any one of these players that has any stake in the Red Wings, and especially the ones that have put in a ton of time — they don’t want it on their watch, either,” he explained.

“We’re going to do whatever we think is going to help us win.”

  1. fusionix7 - Apr 20, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    Maybe the team as a whole should actually play with urgency then? Showing up for the first period also helps. Quite the baffling team this year. They can hold their own against the best in Chicago but struggle against teams like Calgary.

    It’s worth noting they outplayed Calgary the last game, Kipprusoff stood on his head. If not for a fluky goal and Howard acting like a primadonna they could have won.

    It will be a battle. Babrovsky is Columbus and Dallas has played it’s arse off after the trade deadline.

    • polegojim - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      Agreed Fusionix… the Wings are exhibiting the one thing you worry about with a 21 year streak… complacency.

      Just as Babcock has pointed out, many guys are playing as if the playoffs will fall into their lap.

      When players feel like there is not much more to prove… you get… what we’re seeing.

      Time to shake it up and move some guys out.

  2. polegojim - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    If the Wings make the playoffs… this would be one of Babcocks more remarkable years… given that the talent level is quite reduced and very much in transition.

    If they don’t make the playoffs… it will be exactly as he noted at the beginning of the season. I believe his remarks were intended to ‘motivate’ guys to make sure they do make it… but for the last few weeks, they’ve played like they ‘believe they won’t’.

    The rebuilding is not over either…. there are some Vets that need to be moved on… some are skating like they’re not hungry anymore… no fire in the belly.

    I’d rather miss the playoffs and make ALL the needed changes quickly to become Stanley Cup contenders again sooner… than limp along nursing guys who have lost their edge and drive.

    Names forthcoming…

    • polegojim - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      And here are the issues…

      From Kevin Woodley’s article:
      DeKeyser insisted that history hasn’t come up in the Detroit dressing room. “I haven’t heard anybody mention that,” DeKeyser said of the streak. “There’s always pressure when there are five games to go and you are not in a playoff spot yet. … But I haven’t heard anybody in here say those words actually.”
      How do the Vets NOT talk about Heritage and History in the locker room?
      I understand playing ‘each’ game on it’s own merit… but somebody should have the balls to stand up or jump up and down on a bench or something.

      “It was tough for me to go to bed and not see the score,” Zetterberg said of staying up late to watch both games end. “We’re watch games tonight and we’ll watch scores tomorrow, that’s how it’s going to be all the way in.”
      That’s my only issue with Hank and the ‘C’… he’s a ‘quiet’ guy… which isn’t necessarily leadership. C’MON MAN! Instead of crying on your pillow staying up late… DO SOMETHING about it with your team. The Wings don’t just need ‘leadership on the ice’, they need it in the locker room and in the heads of the players.

      And one of my BIGGEST GOATS of the season… Kronwall – “I haven’t really thought about it that way,” Kronwall said. “Sure, we’re not used to the situation, but we’ve been spoiled in the past having guys like Lidstrom in the lineup. I think everyone in here knew how good he was and how much we were going to miss him, but I think maybe people outside the team just realize even more now how good he was. What he did on a daily basis is – I shouldn’t say it was impossible because he was able to do it – but pretty close.”
      Sounds like Kronwall gave up… in FREAKING JANUARY

      One more just for fun:
      “We are basically playing playoff hockey now and it’s good experience for guys to be a part of that and kind of prepare for the postseason,” Zetterberg said.
      No Hank… you’re NOT playing playoff hockey… that’s the whole freaking point.
      Milk-toast and weak statement.

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