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Babcock one away from 200 career wins

Thursday, 12.13.2007 / 5:57 PM ET / Features
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor |
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Babcock one away from 200 career wins
DETROIT – History can be made tonight at Joe Louis Arena.

A Red Wings’ victory over the visiting Edmonton Oilers on Thursday will solidify Mike Babcock in the pages of the franchise’s record book.

Babcock is one win shy of reaching career-coaching win No. 200, which will make him the second fastest coach to reach the milestone in club history.

Former Wings coach Tommy Ivan needed 353 games to reach 200 wins. Babcock has coached 358 games in less than 4 ½ NHL seasons.

“The first thing I want to do is win, let’s get that straight,” said Babcock, who has a 199-103-56 career record. “It means that you’ve lasted in the league a little bit, and you’ve been real fortunate to coach really good players.”

Last season, Babcock became the second-fastest NHL coach to win 100 games with a team. He also became the first Wings’ coach to lead the club to back-to-back 50-win seasons.
This season he can become the first coach in NHL history to guide a team to three consecutive 50-win seasons in his first three seasons with a team.

“We’ve been on a good run here since I’ve been in Detroit and we’ve won a lot of games with a lot of high-end players who play real hard and play real well,” Babcock said. “It’s great to be part of a franchise that’s doing good things on a consistent basis. And obviously, when the team does well there’s lots of individual successes a long the way.”

The feeling about Babcock has been mutual for the players in the locker room.

“It helped when he took over right after the lockout,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We still had some of the faces that have been here for a while, but we needed someone new, someone fresh. So he was a good fit for the team when he came here.”

Prior to picking Babcock for the coaching gig in Hockeytown, general manager Ken Holland sought a tougher game manager.

“Coming out of the work-stoppage when we made the decision that we were going to go in a different direction behind the bench,” Holland said. “I was looking for somebody who was going to be a little bit more demanding. The things I knew about Mike before coming here is that he had tremendous passion. He loves hockey and he has a real good work ethic. I know he’s demanding. He’s strong in his beliefs and nobody’s going to come in and push him over.”

Babcock has had the Midas touch wherever he’s been. He led the senior Canadian team to the World Championship in 2004, and he’s the only Canadian coach to lead both the senior and junior teams to World Championship tourneys.

Prior to accepting the Wings’ post, Babcock coached Anaheim to its first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 2003.

“He brings intensity and he really pays attention to details whether it’s our systems or if we’re getting too sloppy out there,” Lidstrom said. “It’s not different than other coaches, but he really pays attention to the little details all of the time.”

Under Babcock, no stone is left unturned, which is why the NHL-leading Red Wings haven’t endured a four-game stretch without getting a single point in two-plus seasons.
It’s been a perfect storm.

“What we were getting was younger, quicker and harder, so it kind of arrived at the same time,” Babcock said. “I think timing is everything in coaching, and I think it’s the same way in playing; you have to arrive at the right time. If you’re a shortstop and you arrive in Baltimore when Cal Ripken is in his second year, you’re probably not going to get to play. The same thing with coaching, you have to arrive at the right time. The talent has to be there and I’ve been fortunate.”

Currently, the team is on a seven game winning streak. They lead the league with 46 points – 12 points ahead of St. Louis and Columbus in the Central Division.

The Wings’ power play and penalty-kill units have been among the league-best under Babcock and his assistants Paul MacLean and Todd McLellan.

This season, the Wings’ power play is fourth best, scoring 33 goals on 149 chances. The penalty-kill is equally stellar, holding opponents to 20 goals on 150 man-advantages.

Babcock’s philosophy coupled with the abundance of talent at his disposal has created a perfect storm.

“He made some changes and he put his touch on the way we play and it’s been working good,” said Henrik Zetterberg, the Wings’ leading scorer. “The team that we’ve had here since he’s been coaching is pretty good, too.

“It’s a real good mix, the pace of the game. We skate a lot and we work a lot. We try to do everything at a high pace, and we’ve got the skill in this room to do that, and he brings the fastest game out of us. It’s a fun way to play.”

For Babcock, he says coaching success is all about being consistent.

“If you never had to make hard decisions, or keep people accountable, anybody could be the coach,” Babcock said. “I’ve learned a lot from Scotty (Bowman). It’s not about being there friend. It’s not about being social with them. It’s about getting them to play at the top of their game as much as you possibly can . . . without grinding on them. That’s the fine line. How do you do it over 82 games, every year without grinding them to death?”

Is Babcock’s methodology always viewed positively in the locker room?

“Not always,” Zetterbreg said. “His way of playing is a little different. But we always have a discussion if there’s something that we don’t like and want to change a bit. I think that’s real important to have. . . . He has an open approach.”




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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