The Babcock-Holland relationship is sure under the microscope right now


Bob Duff of the Windsor Star started his story like this:

“The Detroit Red Wings got down to the mandated 23-man NHL roster Tuesday and then coach Mike Babcock threw GM Ken Holland under the bus.”

The gist of the piece? Babcock wanted to keep young defenseman Xavier Ouellet with the big club, but was overruled by Holland, who assigned Ouellet to AHL Grand Rapids to start the season.

And Babcock wasn’t happy about it.

Given the coach’s uncertain future in Detroit, you knew the story would make a few waves, and you knew he’d get asked about it the next day.

“I just know about the story because so many people have talked to me about it,” Babcock responded, per The Detroit News. “It’s my understanding the gentleman who wrote the story wasn’t even here [Tuesday].

“The second thing is, probably nine of the 10 years I’ve been here we’ve disagreed the day before the season. I’m a coach, I’m an immediate gratification guy, I want to win today. He’s the manager and he always has a longer term plan than I do.”

Babcock went on to cite an example of a previous disagreement, saying he wanted to keep Gustav Nyquist on the team to start last season, only to be overruled by Holland — just like what happened with Ouellet this year.

Of course, that won’t do anything to quell the speculation that Babcock would like more control over player-personnel decisions, and that his desire for more control may lead to his departure at the end of the season. (At the risk of beating a dead horse, the Red Wings still don’t have a right-shooting d-man on their roster, an issue Babcock said in June he’d been “all over” Holland to fix.)

Anyway, here’s the original Babcock scrum that started all this:

And here’s Holland talking on the radio about the Duff story…

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PS — The Wings have a game tonight against the Bruins.

Related: Weiss, Cleary expected to be healthy scratches in Wings’ opener

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.