Chase for Stanley invigorates Babcock
Sunday, 05.31.2009 / 1:13 PM ET / Features
By Phil Coffey
There is no place Mike Babcock would rather be.
"No, it's the same thrill," Babcock said of his return trip to the Stanley Cup finals. "I think the most exciting part for me is how excited the players are. I've said this a number of times, that the playoffs are totally different than the final.
"Until you've been to the final in the Stanley Cup you don't realize how exhilarating it is for the players," he said. "Just the scramble, especially this year, to get your family in and to get tickets and all that stuff. Then the extra hype. ... We are a veteran team, a little excitement never hurt anybody.
So, no, a trip to the Stanley Cup finals never gets old.
"I've been real fortunate," Babcock said. "Paul MacLean and myself, we've been in the league six years and we've been here three times and real fortunate to be here. You can go a lifetime and not get here. That means you've coached real good players and you've got a good manager getting you players. And our team is excited."
What has become most apparent to Babcock now with two consecutive trips to the finals under his belt?
"The thing that stands out in my mind being through it before is just how hard it is to win," he said. "Hard to get here, and it's hard to win. One day you're going to feel like a million bucks and the next day you're going to feel like your heart is ripped out of your chest. That's just the way it is. But that's what makes it so much fun."
Fun in a demanding sort of way.
"I think that's what happened this year at playoff time is we've had another opportunity to prove that mental toughness is what toughness is all about." Babcock said. "You come and you bring your game each and every day. You have a chance to be successful. Part of being a Red Wing is that you bring it every day. And that you bring it year after year after year. That's what we've been able to do since the lockout. We've won a ton of hockey games since the lockout, 218 to be exact in the regular-season. You know, that can go a long, long time for you to win that many games. Then just playoffs, we've had a lot of success in the last three years. Ideally, it will keep going.
"One of these teams is going to get the ride of their life. Besides family things, it's the most fun you can ever have in your whole life to win that great trophy, to touch it, to have your name printed on it, to share it with your family and the community and the people that have helped you along the way. So to me that's a great thing, and I don't think a thing you can ever get enough of."