Tag: Tomas Tatar

Mike Babcock

Babcock won’t discuss future yet, but sees challenges ahead for Wings


Are the Detroit Red Wings a team moving up courtesy of a young core led by Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Danny DeKeyser, and Petr Mrazek? Or are they a fading dynasty having already lost former leaders like Nicklas Lidstrom and on the brink of watching the two stars they have left head off into the sunset?

“Who’s going to replace Pav?” head coach Mike Babcock asked, per NHL.com’s Аrpon Basu. One of the best two-way forwards in the game, Pavel Datsyuk will turn 37 in July. Henrik Zetterberg will celebrate his 35th birthday in October.

“Our team is not as good as it was,” Babcock also noted, according to Postmedia News’ Michael Traikos.

That’s hard to dispute. Detroit has only won a single playoff series in its last four campaigns after reaching the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back years in 2008-09. They won it all in 2008. Once Zetterberg and Datsyuk are gone or even just less effective, will the Red Wings start missing the playoffs entirely? Do they have anyone on their roster capable of filling that massive void?

Certainly the future isn’t all fire and brimstone for Detroit. The players mentioned off the bat have proven to be solid contributors and with their help, Detroit both made the playoffs and gave Tampa Bay a run for its money in the first round. The fact that the Red Wings came within a hair of advancing can’t be just brushed under the rug.

That being said, Babcock has raised legitimate points, and it will only add fuel to the speculation that the highly regarded coach will walk as a free agent this summer. Babcock didn’t confirm anything tonight, but Edmonton, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Toronto, and likely others would certainly be eager to sign him if he’s available.

Not done yet: Lightning earn Game 7 against Red Wings

Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat

Jon Cooper’s comments about interference didn’t make a difference, but luckily for the Tampa Bay Lightning, some of their big names did.

Steven Stamkos didn’t score a goal, yet he had a nice assist, and one of the best lines in hockey (Ondrej Palat – Tyler Johnson – Nikita Kucherov) did the rest. The Lightning beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Monday, forcing a Game 7 on Wednesday.

Johnson scored two of the goals while Kucherov piled up three helpers. Alex Killorn’s splendid 4-2 goal really sealed the deal, as things were tense when Tomas Tatar sawed the Lightning’s third-period lead to one goal early in the frame.

Ben Bishop looked shaky at times, something that has to be considered as the Lightning approach Game 7. Tampa Bay also may have shown some discipline issues, as they gave Detroit six power-play opportunities (versus just two for the Bolts).

The league must also sort out the matter of Niklas Kronwall’s enormous hit on Nikita Kucherov before that decisive contest comes around:

Whatever happens with the Red Wings’ key defenseman, it should be quite the contest in Tampa Bay. It will be hard to top Game 6, too, with all the highlight reel goals and Petr Mrazek saves.

Video: Tomas Tatar tumbles onto Ben Bishop

Detroit Red Wings v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five

The Tampa Bay Lightning struggled mightily without Ben Bishop in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, so any time he gets bumped, there’s reason to worry.

He seems OK after Tomas Tatar fell on him in the first period of Game 5 between the Lightning and Detroit Red Wings:

It looks like Jason Garrison hit Tatar into Bishop. Either way, there was no penalty on the play, which didn’t exactly delight that Tampa Bay crowd.

Again, Bishop finished up the first period, so it looks like he’s OK … but players also are known to fight through pain in the postseason, so we’ll need to wait and see. Some will argue that Detroit’s crease-crashing really paid off late in the first period, as Justin Abdelkader screened Bishop on the 1-0 goal.

Blashill: No conversations about inheriting Detroit gig from Babcock


Jeff Blashill, head coach of Detroit’s AHL affiliate and rumored to be Mike Babcock’s heir apparent, said he’s had zero talks with GM Ken Holland about going behind the Wings’ bench.

“We have not had one conversation about it since Ken and I sat down last spring to talk about doing a new contract and me being the head coach of the Griffins,” Blashill said, per MLive. “That’s the only conversation we’ve had.”

Babcock, in the final year of his contract with Detroit, is believed to be highly sought-after by a number of clubs. Toronto, Philadelphia, Buffalo and San Jose all currently have coaching vacancies.

Detroit inked Blashill to a three-year extension last June, which many saw as a precursor to him eventually taking the head gig at the NHL level. Blashill, 41, has been with Detroit since the 2011-12 season, first spending a year behind the Red Wings bench as Babcock’s assistant before taking the head coaching gig with the Griffins.

In Grand Rapids, he’s enjoyed tremendous success. The Griffins won the Calder Cup two years ago and advanced to the Western Conference semis last year; this season, they’ll open the playoffs as the West’s No. 2 seed.

Blashill is thought of very highly within the Detroit organization. He’s overseen the development and promotion of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Luke Glendening and Brendan Smith and, shortly prior to signing Blashill to the aforementioned extension, Holland called him “an NHL coach in the making.”

But it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to make the leap just yet.

“As in the past, I honestly don’t even think about it,” Blashill explained. “I have never been in a job and thought about what’s next. I’ve always thought about right now, and that’s a series with Toronto [Marlies, Grand Rapids’ Round 1 opponent], and that’s my sole focus.

“I signed a contract last year because I really enjoy my job and I really enjoy working for the Red Wings.”

Abdelkader set to make series debut for Wings

Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers

The Detroit Red Wings are back at home, and returning a key piece of the lineup.

Justin Abdelkader, who missed the first two games of the playoffs with a hand injury, will draw back in for tomorrow’s Game 3 at the Joe when the Wings host the Lightning with the series tied 1-1.

Getting Abdelkader back will be a big boost for Detroit, especially after getting spanked 5-1 in Game 2. The 28-year-old scored a career-high 23 goals this season and averaged just under 18 minutes per night — 17:55, also a personal best — and, what’s more, has a wealth of playoff experience with 54 games on his resume.

Based on this morning’s skate, Abdelkader will play on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist, which allows Pavel Datsyuk to center a unit featuring Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar. Abdelkader was also in his familiar spot in front of the net on the power play, where he scored eight times this season.

It looks as though veteran Stephen Weiss will be dropped from the lineup to make room.