Tag Archives: national hockey league

Quote of the day … Wings coach Mike Babcock

DETROIT >> Here’s Wings coach Mike Babcock’s response when asked about how comfortable he is if Petr Mrazek is the No. 1 goalie heading into the playoffs.

“I like winning,” Babcock said. “That’s it. It’s real simple. Everybody in the National Hockey League knows that the best guys get to play and if you’re playing the best you get to play. Our players start each game knowing that. It’s no different. Anytime you’re struggling as a player it’s your job to work extra hard when you get your opportunity it’s to seize your opportunity. So it’s no different for Pete Mrazek. He gets an opportunity. He’s got to seize it. We just watch and they decide who plays, not us. Everyone thinks the coach decides. All the coach does is observe, no different than you do. He just does it from a different perspective. And then the guys who play the best get to play.”

Holland gets four-year deal keeping him with Wings through 2017-18 season

DETROIT >> Ken Holland is back to having some job security.

Heading into the final year of a contract, plus an option year, Holland has agreed to a four-year extension that will keep him as the Wings’ general manager through the 2017-18 season.

“Ken is regarded as one of the premier executives in the National Hockey League and has been instrumental in the success of the Red Wings over the last two decades,” Wings owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement.

In all 17 seasons in Detroit, the Wings have qualified for the playoffs every season and have won the Stanley Cup three times.

“Marian and I are extremely pleased that he will continue to lead our hockey club over the next four years,” Ilitch continued in the statement. “We feel strongly that stability is key to the success of any organization and having this new agreement in place with Ken is important to the organization and its future.”

Since Holland, 58, took over as general manager in 1997, the Wings have won more games in the regular season (746) and playoffs games (115) than any other franchise.

Holland, who’s been with the organization for the past 31 seasons, began working as a scout before becoming the director of amateur of scouting and then assistant general manager.

Now the focus will be getting coach Mike Babcock signed to an extension.

“We work well together,” Holland said at the end of last season. “He and I we want to go farther.”

Babcock is heading into the final year of a contract that pays him roughly $2 million a season.

“I’m real comfortable with the owner and the manager,” Babcock said at the end of the season. “That’s not a concern for me one bit.

“When you’re at the stage of my career that I am, I’m real comfortable with whatever they want,” Babcock continued. “I want them to be happy. If they’re not happy then I’m not happy. I have no problem. I can go year to year.”

Babcock just wrapped up his ninth season with the Wings after they were eliminated in five games in the first round of playoffs by the Boston Bruins.

It’s the second time in the past three seasons Detroit hasn’t made it out of the first round. They haven’t advanced past the second round the past five postseasons.

Asked if he thought he would talk about a contract extension over the summer Babcock said, “I doubt it. I just told you I’m comfortable. If I was uncomfortable, if this was my gig I’d want an extension, it’s not, I’m good.”

Babcock, 51, set a franchise record this season with his 415th win, passing Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams in the process. He’s led the Wings to a Stanley Cup and a two conference championships.

“I want him back behind the bench,” Holland said. “I respect the job he does for us. I respect his work ethic. I respect the job he did putting the young players into our system and sticking with them. I think if you write down a list of the best coaches in the National Hockey League he’s on that short list. I think many would have him on the top of that list.”

Babcock has also led Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals.

There had been rumors circulating awhile back that Babcock could eventually take over for Red Berenson as the head coach at the University of Michigan.

“I never even thought about it,” Babcock said when asked if he had a few more years in him to coach in Detroit. “My daughter’s going into her grade 12 year. I’m either going to be the coach of the Red Wings or, I haven’t had a talk with Red Berenson yet, either that or I’ll be Red’s assistant coach for a year.

“For sure I’m staying in Detroit,” Babcock added. “I haven’t thought about going anywhere else. I’m real comfortable. I know Scotty Bowman went year to year sometime here and I’m real comfortable with that. I can get a job. I’m not worried about that. The owner has been better than great to me. They do things right. They treat people right. The GM is a driven guy who can’t stand losing and I like to be around ultracompetitive people.”

Babcock named finalist for Jack Adams Award; Nyquist: “He’s a great teacher.”

DETROIT >> For just the second time in his NHL coaching career, Mike Babcock has been named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, given annually by the broadcasters to the league’s top coach. Continue reading

Wings focus on special teams in second full practice before playoffs begin

DETROIT >> Quick update from the Wings second day of practice as they prepare for their opening round series with the Boston Bruins, which begins Friday.

The team worked a lot of special teams.

“We knew coming in we were going to grind (Tuesday), do a lot of heavy lifting, then specialty teams today, and we’ll have a little more tempo and special teams (Thursday). But obviously we were given a good opportunity to prepare and we want to be as prepared as we can.”

The Wings originally thought the series with Boston was going to open Thursday.

The Bruins ended the regular season with the third best power play in the league, scoring 21.7 percent of the time.

“Well size, their ability to retrieve pucks,” Babcock said when asked why Boston’s power play is so effective. “Everybody in the National Hockey League, off a faceoff, off a puck put on the wall, off a shot, tries to put as much pressure as they can on you. So the bigger you are, the more you can handle the tight quarters to get the puck out and get the team backed off again. They do that well.”

That will test the Wings’ 12th ranked penalty kill.

“They have a big guy at the net, they can shoot the puck up top and they have good skill, and they have two different looks,” Babcock said. “They have a spread power play in the one group and an overload with (Patrice) Bergeron high in the other so they make it hard for good depth obviously. They score goals so that’s what’s going to make them hard.

“I’m a big believer in our penalty kill, (assistant coach) Bill Peters has done a phenomenal job with our penalty kill all year long and that and the goaltending, we have to shut their power play down,” Babcock continued. “They can’t run, go crazy on the power play for us to have success.”

Everyone that skated Tuesday took part in the skate Wednesday.

Datsyuk agrees to a $23 million extension keeping him in Detroit through at least the 2016-17 season

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings have locked up an important piece to their success for another three years.

Pavel Datsyuk has agreed in principal to a three-year extension worth $23 million according his agent confirmed Tuesday in a phone interview.

The deal can’t be registered with the league until July 5, which is the first day of free agency because

Datsyuk broke the story himself on twitter, tweeting, “Signed 3 yr. extension. Detroit, glad to be here for 4 more yrs. Thanks to our fans, friends and Ilitch family.”

The Wings also confirmed the deal through a press release.

“We’re obviously thrilled to extend the contract of the best two-way player in the National Hockey League,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a press realease. “This deal ensures that Pavel will be in Detroit for the next four years. His accomplishments over the past 11 seasons demonstrate what a truly dynamic player he is. His work ethic is second to none. We feel we have a tremendous leadership group moving forward in (Henrik) Zetterberg, Datsyuk and (Niklas) Kronwall.”

According to Greenstin, Datsyuk will make $10 million in the first year of the deal and then paid $7.5 million the next year and $5.5 million the final year of the extension.

The deal has a salary-cap hit of $7.66 million.

Datsyuk, who turns 35 on July 20, has one-year left on a deal worth $6.7 million a season.

Datsyuk, who was selected in the sixth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the Wings, has 767 career points in 11 seasons.

He’s won the Lady Byng Trophy, which is awarded for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct, four consecutive seasons (2006-09) and he Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) three times (2008, 2009, 2010).

Datsyuk is a four-time NHL All-Star and was a nominee for the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in 2009.

He’s also been on the Wings’ Stanley Cup winning teams in 2002 and 2008.

Greenstin told The Macomb Daily that both sides were “very close” to reaching a new agreement as he boarded a flight to Detroit on Monday night.

This after Datsyuk tweeted on Monday, “Big day tomorrow”.

“Of course it’s a big day, I’m flying to Detroit to have lunch together,” Greenstin told The Macomb Daily on Monday night just before taking off on a flight to Detroit. “I can tell you we are kind of close, me and Ken (Holland) and Pavel are very close.”

Datsyuk said during the Wings’ end of season locker cleanout that he wanted to return to Detroit.

“It’s not 100 percent, but I’m looking forward (to signing here),” Datsyuk said. “I would love to stay. I hope we agree and I sign new deal.

“This is my goal, but you never know how this goes,” Datsyuk continued. “I would love to finish (in Russia), give it back to my friends and fans in Russia. I hope I’ll be in good shape (then).”

Datsyuk made headlines when he made said his dream would be to finish his career in Russia, which many speculated meant leaving Detroit after this contract ran out.

“You asked me and I just answered it’s fun to be home, but one home to come to another home, when you play too much here, it’s nice to come back home (to Russia),” Datsyuk said.

Henrik Zetterberg, 32, has a deal that runs until after the 2020-21 season making an average salary of $6,083,333 million.

“My time is too long, you never know,” Datsyuk said when asked how long he’d like to play in the NHL. Hockey now is so competitive, so aggressive game. You never know. But I’m looking forward.”

In the Wings’ playoff series with Chicago, Greenstin shot down a report in Sovetsky Sport that his client had reached a tentative three-year agreement with AK Bars Kazan of the KHL after his contract expires next season with the Wings.

“It’s BS rumors,” Greenstin said at the time. “He can’t talk to anybody. He’s under contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

“Nobody is talking to any Russian team,” Greenstin continued. “There are rules and he’s under contract.”

Datsyuk has expressed feelings about returning to play in Russia one day.

“We have time,” Greenstin said. “If he stays here it will be with the Red Wings.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock: “If we don’t get DeKeyser we don’t make the playoffs.”

DETROIT – The biggest question mark heading into this season for the Detroit Red Wings was their depth along the blue line.

After the loss of Nicklaus Lidstrom (retirement) and Brad Stuart (trade), coupled with their inability to sign a top notch defenseman this offseason and the injuries they faced at the start, the Wings patched things together to where now the blue line is one of their strengths.

“We’ve really improved drastically in that area, probably the most improved part of our team,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose squad faces Anaheim in the first round of the playoff Tuesday night. “With (Jimmy Howard) playing the way he is and the D able to get the puck going, we’re spending a lot less time in our zone. That allows you to be much better up front.”

And everything seemed to come together on the blue line when Detroit was able to land Danny DeKeyser.

“He really has done a good job for us,” Babcock said. “We liked him all along when we were recruiting him. We had no idea that when he came to the National Hockey League he’d be able to do the things he’s done for us. Basically, it’s allowed us to move the puck better, to get back and get pucks. If you improve your D zone play, it improves your offense and makes you a much quicker team. Obviously, we had deep growth amongst the group we had already and we added him, it made us all that much better.”

The Wings beat out a number of teams to get the services of the prized free agent defenseman out of Western Michigan.

“I’m really impressed,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “I didn’t know much about him before he arrived. Coming from college hockey to playing at this level and the way he’s been playing is impressive and we’re happy for him and hopefully it’ll continue.”

DeKeyser, a De La Salle graduate, made his NHL appearance on April 5 in Colorado and has not left the lineup while others, Ian White, Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey, Carlo Colaiacovo and Brian Lashoff, have been a healthy scratch a time or two during that stretch.

“I think we’ve done a real good job to rebuild our D on the fly here,” Babcock said. “We’ve had great growth on the back end. Getting DeKeyser to come has made a huge difference to our team. If we don’t’ get (him) we don’t make the playoffs.”

DeKeyser, who is still waiting on his first NHL goal, had one assist, 15 shots on goal and was a plus-4 over those 11 games.

“He’s been solid,” Smith said. “It’s been quite impressive actually coming right out of college and stepping in and playing a lot of minutes. We’re really impressed with him and happy that he can help our team as much as he has. We’ve needed that speed on the back end and he’s got a lot of speed and a great reach and a great first pass. He’s been really good for us.”

DeKeyser is averaging about 18 minutes of ice time.

“It seems like he’s been around for a while the way he’s been playing,” Smith said. “I’m impressed. I think a lot of people are impressed. I know the coaches are. We all knew he was a good player. Anytime you grab a player who’s so highly touted who was undrafted and there are 20-plus teams going after him, like Justin Schultz was last year, you see there’s a lot of talent, but you don’t know how he’s going to defend when he gets a chance to play. Obviously, he’s done it. He’s been awesome. Hopefully he can keep it up because we need him more than ever now.”

Johan Franzen has been anointed to replace Tomas Holmstrom on Detroit’s first power play unit

PLYMOUTH – The Wings think they’ve found their new net-front presence on the power play.

Johan Franzen has been anointed to replace Tomas Holmstrom on Detroit’s first power play unit.

“Mule has been waiting to be out on the first unit since he got here,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after day two of training camp at Compuware Arena in Plymouth. “He thinks he should be. We think he should be too. So it’s a natural fit.”

Holmstrom, who will have his retirement officially announced at a press conference Thursday or Friday at Joe Louis Arena, spent 15 seasons providing that service with the Wings.

Detroit is also dealing with the retirement of the power play’s quarterback, Nicklas Lidstrom.

“Homer was a star at what he did,” Babcock said. “He was the best in the National Hockey League in my opinion. And Nick Lidstrom was the best defenseman, so you’re not getting Homer and you’re not getting Nick. But Mule, net-front, is as good as anybody. Now I’m telling you, Kronner is a hell of a player, but I’m not trying to tell you that he’s Nick Lidstrom. So I don’t know what we do about that.”

The cancellation of NHL regular season games have begun

The league has announced the cancellation of regular season games through Oct. 24.

That means six games lost for the Wings — two at home (Nashville, Oct. 12) and (Vancouver, Oct. 22) — and four on the road — (Buffalo, Oct. 16), (St. Louis, Oct. 18), (Chicago, Oct. 20) and (Columbus, Oct. 23).

Here is the press release from the NHL.


NEW YORK (October 4, 2012) – The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through October 24. A total of 82 regular-season games were scheduled for Oct. 11 through Oct. 24.

The cancellation was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL.

NHL cancels preseason games through Sept. 30

The cancellation of NHL preseason games has begun.

The league just sent out this press release.

NEW YORK (September 19, 2012) – The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012 preseason schedule through Sept. 30. In addition, the 2012 Kraft Hockeyville preseason game, scheduled for Oct. 3 in Belleville, Ontario, has been postponed to 2013.

The cancellation of the schedule was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL.

While the Kraft Hockeyville game has been postponed, many of the scheduled celebrations in the winning community of Stirling-Rawdon, Ontario, will proceed as planned beginning on September 30.