Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had a few things to get off his chest after his team’s 5-2 defeat last night in San Jose. It was Detroit’s fifth straight loss on the road.
“We’ve got to have a discussion as a group,” Babcock told reporters. “Do we want to be a good team or not? Like, life just doesn’t go on good for you. You make a decision it’s going to go good for you. You decide for yourself that you’re going to be successful; you decide for yourself that you’re going to make a difference; you decide for yourself that you’re going to have a good career.”
It’s not often you hear a coach talk about a veteran team like the Red Wings in that fashion.
Then again, it’s not often a team starts the season in such bizarre fashion. Detroit won its first five games, lost its next six, won its next four, and now it’s lost two in a row.
Bigger picture, this is an important season for the Red Wings. Chances are it’s Nicklas Lidstrom’s last before he retires as one of the greatest defensemen of all time. Without Lidstrom, Detroit is a decidedly weaker side.
Other Wings that are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer include Tomas Holmstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, Brad Stuart, and Jiri Hudler.
Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall will still be around, but what about the next generation? Brendan Smith’s a nice prospect, but he’s got a ways to go. Same goes for Tomas Tatar.
I suppose it’s dangerous to doubt Ken Holland’s ability as a general manager — especially with a healthy dose of cap space at his disposal — but the Wings haven’t been past the second round since making the finals in 2008-09. He’ll need to make some significant moves to keep them among the NHL’s elite.
Detroit plays Saturday in Los Angeles and Sunday in Anaheim.