Tag Archives: mike babcock

Wings coach Mike Babcock: “I’m telling you the truth right here nothing has happened.”

DETROIT >> Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock didn’t mince words when discussing reports of his imminent signing of a new deal to stay with the organization.

“I’m telling you the truth right here nothing has happened,” Babcock said after practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. “I’m 100 percent comfortable. I’m going to do the best I can and I think things will work out. I’m a big believer in that.

A report surfaced last Wednesday that Babcock was very close to signing a new deal with the team that would pay him in excess of $3 million a season, which would make him the highest paid coach in the league.

All Babcock had to do was sign the contract.

“There’s nothing to sign,” Babcock said. “We’ll work it out. We play Florida tomorrow.

“We’ve never negotiated once about it,” Babcock added. “They’ve come to me once in the summer and they came back the same way just before the season and that’s it.”

Babcock is in the final year of his contract with the Wings that pays him roughly $2 million a season. His deal expires on June 30.

“Besides my family, the thing I like doing most is winning,” Babcock said. “That’s the process here. That’s what we’re trying to do here. That’s what I do.

“If you think I’m working harder this year because I’m in the last year of my contract it makes no difference,” Babcock continued. “I grind. That’s what I do. I’m a professional grinder. I love winning. We’ll see what happens. We have a game tomorrow.”

He said if a deal wasn’t in place before the season began he would not discuss a contract until after the season.

“Guys that’s like a fantasy world,” Babcock added when asked about the report. “Ken Holland and I when we talked before the year, we agreed we wouldn’t do this during the year.

“Our team is going good,” Babcock continued. “Our team is playing good. I like the way we’re playing. We don’t need any distractions.”

Babcock said he didn’t think there was any chance a deal would get done during the season.

“I think that’s what we decided,” Babcock said. “But like I said, I’m with Ken all the time. We can talk all the time, we haven’t about this, period. But it’s not like I’m knocking on his office door. We’re fine. He likes winning and I like winning. We’re both happy.”

The Wings currently are first overall in the Eastern Conference.

“I’m happy here,” Babcock said. “I like the general manager. They treat me good. I don’t know what else I can tell you, but as far as negotiations between Mike Babcock and Ken Holland there are none.

“There are none,” Babcock reiterated. “Do we ride on the plane together? Yeah. Was I out with him and his wife and his daughter the other night? Yeah. I think I had a glass of red wine and he had a Coors Light or something.

“There’s nothing more to tell,” Babcock continued. “I’m not hiding anything. I’m not making anything up. This is just reality so let’s not do this again tomorrow.”

Babcock, who is in his 10th season in Detroit, has led the Wings to a Stanley Cup and a two conference championships.

He could be the hottest sought-after coach this offseason if he doesn’t get a deal done to remain in Detroit.

Babcock, who has led Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals, just recorded his 500th win of his career and last season set a franchise record for wins.

Wings coach Mike Babcock on the firing of his former assistant coach Paul MacLean

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock had this to say about his former assistant coach Paul MacLean being fired by the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

“It’s always disappointing,” Babcock said. “As a coach, it’s real simple, you side with the coach every single time. This is a little different for me because (Senators general manager) Bryan Murray’s a real good friend of mine as well. Mac’s a good coach, he’ll bounce back. It’s always an initial shock for you and for your family and for your ego. But that’s the business, too. I think Mac’s a real good coach and he’ll coach again if he wants to.”

“Mr. Hockey” suffers another major stroke; his second in just over a month

DETROIT >> Things have once again taken a turn for the worse for hockey legend Gordie Howe.

According to a source close to the family, Howe suffered a major stroke Monday. The source didn’t know if he was in ICU.

Howe, who’s known as “Mr. Hockey”, is 86 and has been living with his daughter, Cathy, in Lubbock, Texas.

On Sunday, his son Mark said that his father’s condition had improved despite suffering a mini stroke on Saturday.

Mark is traveling along with other family members, including brothers Marty and Murray to be by their father’s side.

“A real good man, real fun to be around, loved hockey, he’s called Mr. Hockey for a reason,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said recently.

Howe suffered a significant stroke on Oct. 26, which impaired his speech and caused him to lose functionality of the right side of his body.

Howe has been suffering from dementia for several years and recently underwent spinal stenosis surgery.

“He’s done so much for hockey and for our club,” Henrik Zetterberg said recently. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family.”

“He’s been fantastic,” Babcock said. “I grew up in Saskatoon, his nephew, Bruce Clark, and I played on the same team, played at Gordie Howe Bowl and I’ve been a fan forever. Then to get a chance to coach the Red Wings and have him in my office on a regular basis was special to say the least. He would let you know if he didn’t like the way the team played.”

Howe, who spent the first 25 seasons of his career with the Wings, still holds franchise records for games played (1,687), goals (786), points (1,809), power-play goals (211) and game-winning goals (121).

“He was Mr., Hockey, played for the Wings many, many years, won four Cups,” Zetterberg said. “As soon as you get drafted by Detroit that’s probably the first player that you knew of.”

Howe is the NHL’s all-time leader in games played (1,767) and ranks second in goals (801), third in points (1,850) and ninth in assists (1,049).

“I don’t know if I exactly remember the first meeting, just like Ted Lindsay, they’re part of the locker room almost,” Niklas Kronwall said. “You can’t say enough good things about him.

“Just an amazing person, the way he handles himself, carries himself,” Kronwall continued. “I think that’s something that trickles down for us younger guys, that’s something we look up to and we want to be like that as well, just how he handles himself in all situations. He’s definitely a role model for many, many people.”

Howe finished his career with the Hartford Whalers at age 52.

He made the last of his 23 NHL All-Star Game appearances that season at Joe Louis Arena.

“He’s a really, really good person,” Kronwall said. “A guy you just feel good to be around. Not that I’ve been around him many times but the times you are I definitely feel it, it’s a special family.”

He got to play alongside his sons, Mark and Marty, in the World Hockey Association for six seasons where he totaled 30 goals four times and reached 100 points at least twice.

“Just a gentleman obviously, loved hockey, loved his family,” Babcock said. “The things that stand out for me for sure is his love for the game and his passion for the game, but his love for his family, he’s got a very close, tight-knit family, and it’s always been about that. He’s part of the Red Wings’ family, he’s special, special man.”

Howe’s wife of 55 years, Colleen – known as “Mrs. Hockey” – died in 2009 after a lengthy battle with Pick’s Disease, an incurable neurological condition that causes dementia.

Abdelkader out Tuesday as Wings look to win a fifth in a row

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice Monday at Joe Louis Arena.

Justin Abdelkader was the only player missing from practice. He injured his left shoulder in the second period of Detroit’s 5-3 win over Vancouver Sunday.

He’s out for Tuesday’s home game against the Florida Panthers and most likely out the rest of the week.

“He penalty kills, blocks shots, he plays hard on offense,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He understands you score goals by being at the net so he goes to the net. He’s an important player for us. He’s a guy that works hard every day in my opinion. He brings most every day, skates good, gets in on the forecheck so we need guys like that.”

The Wings take a season-high four-game winning streak against the Panthers.

“We’re scoring them in bunches, which I don’t think we normally do,” Brendan Smith said. “So when we do that, I think we’re pretty sound defensively. Once we put pucks in the net, we’re winning games. Other that and our power play scoring, we’re just playing well. Our leaders are playing well and we’re just following that so I think that’s why we’ve had this streak.”

Heading into play Monday Detroit was a point behind Tampa Bay and Montreal for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

“You’re always trying to get better,” Babcock said. “The object is to win the games and that’s what we’re doing. We want to be better defensively and offensively and way harder on both ends in front of both nets. We got a bunch of young guys that have a lot of growth opportunity in front of them if they really embrace it and work every day. That’s that challenge for us as a coaching staff and them as players.”

Justin Abdelkader day to day with shoulder injury

DETROIT >> Justin Abdelkader missed the entire third period with a shoulder injury. He’s day to day according to Wings coach Mike Babcock.

“It’s not life threatening,” Babcock said. “It might be for some guys, but Abby is tougher than most so for Abby it’ll probably be shorter than most.”

Weiss returns to Wings’ lineup. “It’s a good opportunity for him,” Babcock says.

DETROIT >> Stephen Weiss will be back in the Wings’ lineup tonight at home against the Ottawa Senators.

And for how long he remains in it will be up to him.

“It’s a good opportunity for him, he’s going to have to grab ahold of it, obviously,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the team’s morning skate Monday at Joe Louis Arena. “He’s had a good NHL career. It’s been sidetracked for two years.

“The way I look at it is I’m in the day to say winning business,” Babcock continued. “I get up each day and I’m trying to find a way to win the game and I’ll play whoever gives us the best chance to win.”

Weiss, who has played in one other game this season, has played in 47 out of a possible 150 regular season games for his teams since the start of 2013.

“Now it’s up to him,” Babcock said. “We’re in the business of winning games and everyone’s got to command their share of the ice and get their share of the ice time. We’ll see what happens.”

Weiss will play left wing on line Tomas Jurco and centered by Darren Helm.

“I’ve played a few games (at wing), but I’ve been a center all my life,” Weiss said. “It’s just different.

“I don’t know how to really explain it,” Weiss continued. “You’ve just got to be more aware in the D zone, a little bit different coverages. I’m just used to playing center and being able to move the puck both ways. On the wing, you’re more so limited to one side of the ice. It’ll be fine.”

During his two-game conditioning stint in Grand Rapids he scored a goal in each game.

“It was nice to play some minutes and get through the games (with) no problem,” Weiss said. “I would have liked to get a little bit more accomplished, but it was nice to score a couple and get that feeling back. It’s been a while since I’ve scored a goal.”

Babcock: “Tats considers himself a goal scorer.” Forward has eight goals in his last 12 games

DETROIT >> Nine games into the season and Tomas Tatar had just one goal.

Since then, Tatar has eight goals in this last 12.

“I told you guys, I wasn’t worried about it at all,” Tatar said. “You won’t lose it if you can’t find the net once. I’m not afraid I’m not going to score goals. It’s all about confidence, keep shooting the puck. It eventually will find the net.”

He’s got goals in three straight games and is tied with Gustav Nyquist for the team lead with nine on the season.

“Earlier in the season I still had chances I just couldn’t for some reason find the net,” Tatar said. “Right now it gives you a boost of confidence after scoring a few goals. You feel good about yourself, but more importantly the team is winning and everybody is feeling really well right now and everybody is playing really good and we’re feeling good.”

Tatar began his first full season in the league a year ago a healthy scratch in eight of the first nine games. He finished the year a goal shy of 20.

“Tats considers himself a scorer,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “When you think you’re scorer and you don’t score you probably press a little bit. Tats has just got to become a 200-footer. He’s got to learn to play and play without the puck all the time and he’s got to be competitive every night. If he does those things he’s going to score more. So that’s his biggest challenge, just to become a player.

“He wants to be a top-six forward,” Babcock continued. “If you want to be a top-six forward you got to play every night.”

Tatar admits he likes to slow the game down by holding onto the puck more and he gets to learn from one of the best in the business at every practice, Pavel Datsyuk.

“There aren’t many players who can slow down the game, but I think one of the best is Pavel,’ Tatar said. “He can make his space and look around. I think every player wishes he could be as good as him at that. That’s a big benefit to have.

“I’m not a big fan of the fast game either,” Tatar continued. “I like to take my time and think about what I’m going to do, whether I want to shoot or pass. Pavel’s a great example for me.”

Tatar has also been shooting the puck more this season, averaging 2.65 shots on goal. He averaged 2.16 on net a season ago.

“I’m trying to create more chances and opportunities to score and so far it’s working,” Tatar said. “Hopefully I’ll keep shooting and finding the net.”

Tatar proved he was a goal scorer during Grand Rapids run to the Calder Cup in 2013, totaling 16 goals and five assists. He was named the playoff MVP.

“Tats is a competitive kid,” Babcock said. “I might be harder on Tats than anybody on the team just because I think Tats has a chance to be a real player. We’re going to hold him to that. We think he should be good every night because he’s capable of being good every night and every shift. We expect a lot from Tats and he’s capable of doing that.”

In four seasons with the Griffins he tallied 87 goals.

“He’s one of those guys who loves to score,” Johan Franzen said. “He’s a little hard on himself when he doesn’t score but he’s always a great player. He’s strong on the puck and creates a lot of offense but it’s great to see him score. It really makes him better. His confidence grows a lot, it’s good to see.”