You can’t blame Mike Babcock for being displeased with Detroit’s opening schedule. After racing out to a perfect 4-0 start — their first since 1997-98 — the Wings have been forced to sit and wait for game number five.
Five days, to be exact. The Wings last played on Saturday, a 3-2 win over Minnesota. They don’t play again until Friday, a home game versus Columbus.
There’s no specific reason why Detroit’s schedule has such a huge gap. The circus isn’t in town, Joe Louis isn’t under renovation and there’s no notable dog and/or pony show rolling through Detroit. The long break is just one of those weird scheduling anomalies. They happen. That doesn’t make it easier for Babcock to handle, mind you.
“Is it unbelievable or what? It’s painful,” Babcock told MLive.com. “It’s painful for the players and painful for me, and they’re probably sick of me and I don’t like watching them practice, either.
“We’d like to play games, that’s just the way it is. It is what it is. We got to be ready and we’re going to have a tiger by the tail [the Blue Jackets are 0-5-1].”
Thankfully, Babcock’s players found several amusing ways to keep themselves busy:
— Nicklas Lidstrom and Valtteri Filppula made pizzas at Little Caesars.
— Jimmy Howard and Johan Franzen did oil changes at a Dodge dealership.
— Ian White, Jakub Kindl and Cory Emmerton bagged groceries at Kroeger.
— Darren Helm and Ty Conklin greeted customers at Meijer’s.
— Tomas Holmstrom, Drew Miller and Fabian Brunnstrom greeted employees at Blue Cross. (Holmstrom inquired about extra coverage for his back.)
All that philanthropic work is good for the soul and probably helps in the karma department too. So it’s fair to suggest Detroit will be flying high on Friday, which is the last thing Columbus needs to hear right now.