DETROIT >> The answer to the question of whether or not Wings coach Mike Babcock will return between the bench will have to go unanswered, at least for the next week to 10 days.
“Ken (Holland) and I haven’t talked,” Babcock opened up with during the locker cleanout day at Joe Louis Arena Friday. “We talked about it once and then we haven’t talked about it at all. In the next 10 days we’re going to talk about it.
“If Grand Rapids wins, we’ll go together to the game on Sunday, a couple hours over, a couple hours back,” Babcock continued. “I talked to my wife, to be honest with you, for the first time (Thursday). I think some think there’s been this grandiose plan, there’s no plan. I’ve been using my energy to try to get into the playoffs and to play hard and execute well in the playoffs. Now obviously this is the next thing.”
The Wings GM says getting Babcock back behind the bench in Detroit is his Plan A.
“I’m hoping to fulfill Plan A,” Holland said. “If I don’t deliver Plan A then I have to look at Plan B, C, and D. Right now Plan A is Mike Babcock.
“I think (Grand Rapids Griffins coach) Jeff Blashill is an NHL coach in the making and will be behind an NHL bench at some point and time I’m just not sure where and when, but Plan A for me is to put Mike Babcock behind our bench,” Holland added. “I’m not doing anything with our coaches until we’ve got a coach in place. I’m not letting everyone go interview and then I have to do an interview process after the fact.”
Holland didn’t want to speculate on if he’d be introducing a new coach after this process has run its course.
“I don’t go to horse races and I don’t handicap stuff,” Holland said. “Anything is a possibility in life. At the end of the day, my attitude is I want people that want to be here. Because I think you’re going to get the most out of your group and individuals when they want to be here.
“I’m not going to handicap it, but I’m also not going to tell you it’s 100 percent this way or that way,” Holland continued. “Anything can happen in life. I want Mike to stay. I’ve expressed that to him. Money isn’t going to be an object. I’ve expressed that to him.”
And as far as the roster transitioning to younger players, “We started out the 2013-14 season with a lot of older guys and the plan was they were going to carry us for a year and we were going to put a bunch of kids in the American Hockey League and we were going to slowly transition,” Holland said. “It happened six months ahead and it was actually better because we got to watch them on the fly, but then as the year ended last year you keep asking if they can do it again and do it again or did they just sort of get caught up in the excitement for 15-20 games.”
What Holland doesn’t want to have happen is this drag out till late June.
“I don’t want to be waking up and things don’t go your way and I’m doing a coaching interviews when everything has been filled,” Holland said. “I think Mike’s the same. I think the month of May. I’d like to think over the next month I get a good sense of where we’re at. I had putting on deadline. It’s not only me. Mike’s in the mix and his thoughts, his family and his feelings. I’d like to think we’d start next week and we’ll talk once or twice and he’ll know what I’m thinking and I’ll know what he’s thinking then you go from there.”