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.
Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.
Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.
With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:
Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.
Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.
Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.
The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?