Detroit Red Wings: A closer look at beating Babs and Leafs


The Detroit Red Wings started slow but rallied fast. The Leafs went up 1-0 but the Red Wings roared back with goals from Justin Abdelkader, and Drew Miller. Then this happened.

It would stand as the game winner–which is always fun to see–especially by the guy who didn’t seem to be the biggest fan of Mike Babcock near the end. How many times could Henrik Zetterberg state how refreshing it was that Jeff Blashill was in charge?

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Here’s a few things to ponder as the Wings and Leafs face off again tonight.

Henrik Zetterberg Looks More Relaxed Without Babs

Zetterberg has always been laid back and easy going. That didn’t change with Mike Babcock in charge, but there certainly was a difference over the past few seasons. There were rumors that the Swedes were fed up with Babcock’s stinginess, and while it was never really said, reading between the lines you can see enough. From Puck Daddy: (and the first part from Ansar Khan at MLive).

"Zetterberg clearly felt it was time for a change after 10 years under the hard-driving, abrasive Mike Babcock. “I want to thank Mike for the time he had here, but I think both him and us probably decided it was time,” Zetterberg said.You don’t exactly have to strain your eyes into a Babcockian squint to read between these lines. Jeff Blashill is a new voice. It was probably time for the old voice to go. Hence, for all of their success under one of the best coaches in hockey, playing for Mike Babcock isn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows. (We imagine that’s what it’s like playing for Jon Cooper.)"

Playing for a taskmaster is no picnic. With the success comes the almost Draconian methods to achieve it. Who can forget Babcock kicking the cameras out of the locker room during the 24/7 segment on HBO during the 2014 Winter Classic. Evident there–you cross Babcock it’s going to get ugly.

Zetterberg never fell off from his top performing ways–injuries hampered him. But in just a few preseason games with an offense that is a little quicker and unleashed–instead of a score a couple and then strangle the team defensively.

Even with the always calm demeanor after a goal, you can only wonder if that smile was one of knowing that better things are indeed ahead.

Dylan Larkin’s Audition Sees Its Finale Tonight

This is it tonight. There is something to be said that the Red Wings have continued to throw Larkin out there with the best players and in different combinations. Can he play the wing as effectively as the middle?

I still don’t see that the Red Wings keep him up. I absolutely believe the Wings benefit from having him there, but you have to think like Ken Holland here. He will absolutely do whatever he can to ensure that his prospects get the necessary seasoning before they’re brought into the “man’s league.”

Of course, anyone can point to the success of a once in a generation talents like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Steve Yzerman or Sidney Crosby to show that it’s alright to “rush” them. Is it unfair to call Larkin a generational talent?


And here’s why: If you look at his playing acumen, he’s not only been wildly successful at every level and he sees the game like the generational talents do. His positioning on the ice, decision making, coupled with his skill earns him the chance to remain with the Wings when they open up against Toronto next Friday.

There have been calls for caution and others frantically hoping for Larkin to skip Grand Rapids and don the Winged Wheel.

Inevitably, it’s up to Holland and Blashill. And judging by history, Larkin will most likely be playing his last game in a Wings sweater tonight for a little bit.

Next: Red Wings Roundtable: Will You Miss Mike Babcock?

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