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In praise of Mike Babcock

May 21, 2013, 11:26 AM EDT

Mike Babcock Getty Images

He wasn’t a finalist for coach of the year, but Mike Babcock is earning no shortage of admiration these days.

A couple of stories for your reading pleasure…

—- Yahoo!’s Nick Cotsonika has a great piece on the Red Wings’ head coach. (Young defenseman Brendan Smith: “I think I’m still trying to win him over. It’s something that you have to do day in and day out. He’s watching and judging at all times. He demands a lot out of us.”)

—- Vancouver Sun columnist Cam Cole wrote recently about Babcock’s evolution as a head coach. (Babcock: “Our coaching staff understands totally that to be the best you can possibly be, you’ve got to maximize each day and continue to get better and grow. There’s no better example than Scotty Bowman, always changing, that’s what you have to do. I’m fortunate to coach the Red Wings, got a good group of people who’ve been coachable and worked hard, we’ve tried to help them, we’re all in it together and we’re having fun.”)

If the Red Wings end up knocking off the heavily favored Blackhawks (Detroit leads the series, 2-1), the broadcasters who vote on the Jack Adams Award might be tempted to demand a redo.

Babcock says that this year has been “the most fun I’ve had coaching in a couple of years, by far,” which suggests the 50-year-old loves a challenge. Because as much as some Red Wings fans may be tired of hearing that Nicklas Lidstrom is no longer with the team, adjusting to life without one of the greatest defensemen of all time is right up there on the list of tough challenges for a head coach.

Game 4 of the Detroit-Chicago series goes Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.

  1. clefty1 - May 21, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    How is Babcock not up for coach of the year and Quenneville is..

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 21, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Good point about MB not being nominated, but you can’t fault the Hockey Writers Association for voting for the Hawks coach considering the year they had. If MB would have benefited from a full season he may have gotten the votes needed. Wings had a huge challenge filling the void left by the departure of Lidstrom. The responsibilities for the D men changed and they needed time to adjust. The fruits of their labor have come to fruition in the playoffs. They probably could have finished higher playing a full schedule.

      • shoobiedoobin - May 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        Babcock not getting coach of the year nominations is like Lidstrom not being up for the Hart. It just proves awards like these ones are for guys who start with low expectations and shake them. Mike Babcock is probably the best coach in the game and no one’s shocked when he does well. Just like Lidstrom was the best defenseman in hockey and so consistent that no one thought to nominate him for the Hart, even though he’s probably the most valuable player of the modern era.

        Not being nominated is a short term disappointment but not being nominated because you’re too good all the time, is an even better compliment.

    • polegojim - May 21, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      Absolutely right, talk about getting the MOST out of a rebuilding year…. WOW

      Babcock has been amazing!

      Go RED WINGS!

  2. 19to77 - May 21, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    So. Crazy thought. But this is the last possible year the Wings and Pens could meet in the SCF. They’ll be conference rivals next year. They’ve each beat the other once with the Cup on the line, and the rosters are at the core the same guys with the same history. Am I crazy to be quietly hoping for one last chance at a tiebreaker?

    • johnnyd76 - May 21, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      My thoughts exactly – Let the Rubber Match commence (and of course – GO PENS!)

  3. oldboyy26 - May 21, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    The Ducks series was a bigger upset. Ducks are a better overall team than Chicago, and are a lot tougher. Hawks can not match up against the Ducks, Kings, and Wings. It’ll be the Wings or Kings in the finals, with the Kings I feel getting there with last years experience helping the.

    • comeonnowguys - May 21, 2013 at 3:21 PM

      “the…”

      No, please, don’t stop. What’s the punchline?

  4. LampyB - May 21, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    After seeing the pandemonium in Chicago, I can only imagine what they’ll do to Pitt with a couple of sieves in net!

  5. ilikejay - May 22, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    As a Hawks fan, my hat goes off to Mike Babcock. He is a class act, and a great coach. And so far is out coaching the Hawks. This series is not over yet, but momentum is in the Wings favor because of his coaching. I like him, just hate losing again to the Wings.

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