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.