Mike Babcock

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


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.”

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: