Babcock. King of Analogies. The ones that don’t make sense that is. I think we need to start compiling a list eventually here. I mean, it’s just getting out of hand. Piano’s, pies, cakes, hats, banana’s, the things he’s used never ends, or makes sense when referring to hockey. It’s at least more imaginative than his nicknaming system. I mean…”Clears” instead of “Cleary”? That’s the same length. Just shorten that guy up and add a “y” or “s” to the end. Unless you’re super awesome and get “Pasha” or “Z” or “Kronner”.
We’ll get back to Babcock in a minute. Monday night, I had a fantastic night out with friends. First real time I got almost all my friends together and got stupid since I started my 3rd shift job in July. Being the hardcore person I am, I was of course decked out in Red Wings gear. I managed to run into some fellow hockey fans while I was out, but most were the typical “My team can do no wrong” type. However, I did meet one nice lady that shared my view of professional sports – Support the crap out of your team, but appreciate the fact that there are things they can, and do, do wrong. Our conversation was short, but enlightening. Who would’ve thought you could get that from a female Blackhawks fan? Blew my mind.
During this conversation, she of course brought up the preseason (therefore not as meaningful) spankings that Chicago has bestowed upon the Wings. She questioned the readiness of the team. We were not prepared. Babcock admitted this, fans admitted, this, players admitted this. I’ve heard this all before. In fact, I’ve heard it so many times the last 3 seasons, I can’t count the number of times. I’m sure we’re near 82 games of the last 3 regular seasons where the team has admitted that they were flat. Didn’t play 60 minutes of hockey. Or 50, or 40. In fact, it seems we’re lucky go get 30 minutes of good hockey a game. That is terrible. It’s switched all over the board. Can’t start the game well, can’t finish, lose it in the second, start of periods, ends of them.
We have motivation issues. Everyone knows Franzen has issues. Filppula never reached expectations but is so-far playing better than he ever did for Detroit now he’s somewhere else. Brunner took games off. Our top 6 has struggled hard the last 3 seasons with only Zetterberg and Datsyuk never taking a night off, and Helm when he’s there. Babcock keeps saying he doesn’t know why we weren’t ready to play.
Can we stop and think about this for a second. Arguably the best coach in the NHL, Mike Babcock, does not know why his team is flat. Unmotivated. I can understand if this is an occasional occurrence, but when it’s becoming a regular occurrence, but it’s not understandable anymore. Where are these issues coming from? What’s going on? Could it be Babcock’s distance from the team? He’s been detatched from the players for a while now. Letting players take time off for the birth of their child, then a month later, doing it again saying “He didn’t realize before he just wanted to go visit his wife”. Saying the press he hasn’t talked to his players that are injured, doesn’t know their status, just says “I didn’t see him in practice, so I guess he’s not ready”. List goes on. I’m not an NHL coach, so maybe that is the norm, but when I coached I had much more of an idea what’s going on with my players. He only has 23 players, and he is their ultimate leader.
Maybe it’s his hands off coaching style. What hands off coaching style? He stated many times at how these guys are professionals and should know what is expected of them, he doesn’t need to tell them. He does. That’s why he’s one of the highest paid coaches ever. He relied on his veterans to coach the team so much, I’m not sure what he’s done. We’ve all seen him call a time out and then have the players run the huddle while he stands back.
It is the job of the head coach of a professional NHL team to instruct his players on what to do, what is expected of them, and most importantly, get them motivated and prepared for game day. That is the sole purpose of their job. Motivated and prepared for game day. Motivate. Why do the Wings constantly come out flat and unmotivated? It can be reasoned (but not proven) that Babcock is not performing his job well enough.
From my elitist, spoiled Red Wings fan, outside point of view, I think Babcock has lost control of his team. He needs to get involved, lay down the ban-hammer, and earn the respect of his players back. They have clearly lost respect for him. I do think Babcock is one of the best coaches in the world today, but I think he has gotten complacent. How long will we let his trend continue? In my lowly opinion, for the good of the Red Wings, if we continue to play flat on a semi-consistent basis…we need a change behind the bench.
I hope I put these thoughts together semi-coherently and in a way that makes this a viable argument instead of just a ranting. It is 5:30am. I welcome your thoughts and discussion here and on Twitter @motownmayhem13
Oh, Disciple has a pretty beard. Ask him to show you sometime.