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Babcock encouraged by improved Detroit defense

Apr 29, 2013, 12:11 PM EDT

Mike Babcock

Back in February, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock spoke about the way his team had to play now that legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was retired.

“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 said, was 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.

Veteran defenseman Ian White failed to move the puck the way his coach wanted and found himself in the press box as a result.

Lately, Babcock has really liked the way his blue-liners — including youngsters Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, and Danny DeKeyser (and minus White) — have played.

“We’ve really improved drastically in that area, probably the most improved part of our team,” Babcock said. “With [goalie Jimmy Howard] playing the way he is and the D able to get the puck going, we’re spending a lot less time in our zone. That allows you to be much better up front.”

Detroit finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak. (And in the two losses that preceded those four wins, they outshot their opponents by a wide margin.)

The Wings open their 22nd straight postseason Tuesday in Anaheim against a Ducks side that’s just 8-9-2 in its last 19 games.

  1. lostpuppysyndrome - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Sheesh, Babs and Hakstol must have been separated at birth. They look the same, you’ll never see them smile, and their teams always seem to turn it up at crunch time, no matter who’s on their respective teams.

  2. bensawesomeness - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    What happened to lashoff? Anybody know?

    • hockeydon10 - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      Sent to the Griffons. I heard it was because they felt he needed a little more experience and he wouldn’t need to clear waivers.

  3. modellforprez - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    is Gordon Staals team in the playoffs

  4. comeonnowguys - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    1 + 3 = 300% improvement.

    Still wouldn’t date a 4.

  5. wingsfan13 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Lashoff’s been a healthy scratch he couldn’t be sent down any more this year there is some sort of limit on how many times they can send you back and forth from the NHL to the AHL GO WINGS

  6. thehighcountrybear - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    comeonnowguys:

    Wouldn’t date a four? They all look good at closing time…

    Oh the women tear their blouses off
    and the men they dance on the polka-dots
    It’s closing time

    And it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
    and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops
    It’s closing time

    I swear it happened just like this:
    a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
    It’s closing time

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