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Babcock isn't feeling any Game 7 pressure

Thursday, 06.11.2009 / 12:23 PM ET / News
By Dave Lozo
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Babcock isn\'t feeling any Game 7 pressure

If you didn't know any better, you might have thought the Red Wings were the ones who forced Game 7 in this year's Stanley Cup finals based on the coach's demeanor at a news conference Wednesday morning. Less than 24 hours after his team failed to close out the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6, Babcock was garnering more laughs from the assembled media than you'd get at your average night at the House of Comedy on Jefferson Avenue.

Coach, how about a cute story involving your daughter?

"We all had our families fly home, and I got home before them," Babcock said. "So my kids are walking in the door and they're a little tired. I said, 'It might've been a little more fun last year, wasn't it?' And my youngest girl said, 'Yeah, it was more fun.' "

Babs, anyone asking you for tickets?

"My phone's ringing off the hook. Everybody wants a ticket. I don't know where they think we're getting those from."

How was the offseason after your Mighty Ducks of Anaheim lost to the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2003?

"Oh, it was a great summer."

Maybe the reason why Babcock was so loose Wednesday was because of the knowledge he gained from that painful loss six years ago.

In 2003, Babcock was the coach of the Mighty Ducks -- and as is the case in this year's Final, the home team won every game in the series. Unfortunately for Babcock back then, Game 7 was in New Jersey, and the Mighty Ducks fell one win short of hockey's ultimate prize.

"If you look at it, I've been in a series exactly like this and we went to Jersey for Game 7 and lost," Babcock recalled. "It was the same thing. Couldn't win on the road. Couldn't touch the puck on the road.

"You know what, in that (Game 7), the game was tied 0-0 after one period, and it was our best start in the series in their building. I thought, 'This is going to go our way,' and it didn't. I can remember (Mike Rupp's game-winning goal) banging off four different people and going through (Jean-Sebastien) Giguere's legs. It was unbelievable."

The Ducks weren't close to winning a game on the road in that series, as the Devils posted back-to-back 3-0 wins at home to open the series and outscored the Ducks 15-3 overall in New Jersey. With the exception of a 5-0 blowout loss in Game 5, the Penguins  have been far more competitive at Joe Louis Arena than Babcock's former team was away from home.

"I think every game in the series, with the exception of Game 5 in here and Game 4 there, could have gone either way," Babcock said of this year's Final. "Those two games the teams just flat-out won the games. Other than that, it's been real close."

This time, Babcock has Game 7 in his building, where the Red Wings are 11-1 this postseason. The Penguins are just 6-6 away from Mellon Arena in these playoffs. But with the series being so competitive, does fear of losing creep into the minds of his players?

"I don't know. I never thought like that," Babcock said. "I guess I don't think like you do. You know, half-full, half-empty, whatever you want to look at it. I never thought about that. I thought about opportunity.

"You've got a chance, and that's when you ask the question about fear. I don't understand that thinking at all. To me, you spend your whole life when you're a kid, at least in Canada, when you don't have a net, you've got little snow piles on the street. You're dreaming of scoring the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Now you've got it. Play and have some fun.

"I think our players should really enjoy the next couple of days in their preparation so that words like 'fear' and what you're talking about to me don't enter the picture one bit. Not even close."

With history, home ice and experience on their side, the Red Wings have every reason to be confident. The affable Babcock doesn't want his team to think about pressure of the bright spotlight of Game 7 (Friday, 8 p.m. EDT).

"Just come out, play hard, play our best, be loose, driving and enjoy it and get it done," Babcock said.

If the players follow their coach's lead, staying loose certainly won't be a problem.




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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 153 146 64
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11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 53 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 54 10 27 4 37
T. Tatar 53 16 17 0 33
G. Nyquist 54 14 16 0 30
P. Datsyuk 39 8 21 13 29
J. Abdelkader 54 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 40 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 50 7 8 13 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 4 .934 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89