Mike Babcock: Keeping A Coach Behind The Bench


The Detroit Red Wings season is over following their 2-0, game 7 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. Although the Red Wings played very well and battled hard throughout the series, I think this is a team that seriously needs to take a look in the mirror and discover what they need to do to return back to Stanley Cup glory.

It all starts with what happens to current head coach Mike Babcock this off-season. Babcock is somebody who wants to have more control of the team in terms of a general manager role, coaching what he feel is a competitive team is also a must for Babcock

That role is already filled with maybe the best general managers in the National Hockey League right now with Ken Holland.In all reality in needs to be one guy in control of the team rather than the conflicting ideologies.

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Holland has been at the head of the Detroit front office since the summer of 1997 after the franchise won it’s eighth Stanley Cup.

The conflicting ideologies seem to come from where each, Holland and Babcock, want to take the team. Holland seems adamant on maintaining the Red Wings 24 consecutive playoff appearances, where I could see Babcock coming from more of a remodeling standpoint if he takes control of the team.

In all reality it would not be the worst thing in the world for the playoff streak to come to an end next year. This is an organization that will ensure that this team returns to glory and will somehow find success.

The team is not getting much out of their top dollar players, excluding Pavel Datsyuk, and the teams young defensive core looks sub par. Although they have talent in net, the situation seems to be a mess right now as the team really has three number one goaltenders in Jimmy Howard, Petr Mrazek, and Jonas Gustavsson.

The offense as a whole does not need much work as guys like Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist are on their way to becoming stars in the National Hockey League. The Red Wings also have the gritty players every team needs in Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader. From a prospect aspect the team looks fantastic with players such as Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan, and Landon Ferraro. Teemu Pulkkinen and University of Michigan’s Dylan Larkin could also be future young stars for the Red Wings.

The problem lies with the defense.

One of the reasons Detroit could not developing any consistency in goal was because of the defensive mistakes happening in front of the net. I do not see guys such as Kyle Quincey, Jonathan Ericsson, or Jakub Kindl as terrible players but I do not feel they are great fits for this organization. The Red Wings have 10.9 million a year tied into just those three.

So who do you trade and part ways with this off season?

Starting with the players I mentioned above in Quincey, Ericsson, and Kindl you try to snag whatever draft picks you can get by trading them. This is a rich 2015 draft class, and Detroit has always exhibited superb scouting ability especially overseas.

You then try to dump veterans Stephen Weiss (4.9 Million) and Johan Franzen (3.954 Million) for nothing. The return on the investment is the salary cap space you free up to try and grab a defensive free agent such as Cody Franson or Mike Green, who are both under 30 years old.

Looking at the goal tending situation I would not give up Mrazek at all with the talent he exhibited this year.

That leaves you with Howard and Gustavsson

I think you entertain all offers on both players and then do take the best trade offer you get for one and then keep the other. At this point, I really would not care which one to keep because I think Mrazek will be a star.

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  • That then leaves us to the question as to who you part ways with in either Ken Holland or Mike Babcock. Both will be heavily sought out by other organization if let go. I really do not feel that these two will continue to co-exist with the turn the franchise is taking right now.

    Teams such as the Edmonton Oilers,Buffalo Sabres, or Boston Bruins are lucrative locations for both men and will be able to offer money and power.

    Although this will be hard for the organization to do, you cut ties with GM Ken Holland and give Babcock the contract he wants and the power. Babcock’s ability to direct and lead this team on the ice will translate nicely into his promotion. I think he takes any team to the next level with his legendary coaching ability and you really cannot compete with that.

    The time for a defensive rebuild is now and I really do think Babcock will be able to lead the team in a better direction concerning that. I feel he has the mindset this team needs right now and gives us the best chance to return to becoming a dynasty like Detroit fan’s have witnessed in the past.

    Although it will be extremely difficult for owner Mike Illitch to let go of a man that has been with the organization for almost 18 years, it is what needs to be done.

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