Ever the optimist, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is trying to find the silver lining in his decimated defensive corps.
“This is how I look at it from a coaching perspective: opportunity,” Babcock told ESPN.com Thursday.
“[Brian] Lashoff? I would never [have] believed he would have played for us this year, but he’s played great for us in two games. Listen, we’re a work in progress, but we’ll figure this out. This is what we’ve got. Let’s find a way to win games. That’s the way I look at it.”
Having already lost Nicklas Lidstrom (retirement) and Brad Stuart (to San Jose) during the offseason, Detroit now finds itself without Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder, IR), Ian White (lacerated leg, IR), and Jonathan Ericsson (hip, day-to-day) on the blue line.
The Wings are expected to get defenseman Jakub Kindl (groin) back Friday, but the 25-year-old isn’t exactly a cornerstone of Detroit’s back end.
For general manager Ken Holland, it presents quite the quandary. Does he wait patiently until everyone gets healthy while hoping that young Lashoff, 22, can continue his solid play, or does he make a move?
Suffice to say, any team with excess defensemen (assuming one of those exists) might want to give Holland a ring just to see where he’s at.
For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.
The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.
They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.
It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)
Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.
This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: