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Constructive Suggestion for Babcock


Guest SpikeDDS
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Don't get me wrong. I like Mike Babcock. I like him a lot, actually. I think he's one of the best coaches in the league.

What is interesting about him is that players want to play for him, but at the same time they also say he is one of the more demanding coaches. I respect that a lot. I want that in a coach.

However, what's interesting--and to some degree a little disturbing--is that it's hard to see from a fan's point of view. The Wings have had a number of defensive lapses and even some groups of games where that aspect of their game was almost absent. Where was the discipline? I'm not saying it's not there at all, but I AM saying that I can't see it, and if it is being meted out, whatever is being done doesn't appear to be working.

First, look back and contrast Babcock with Scotty Bowman. When Bowman didn't like what he saw, even if it was a player with as much stature as, say, Brendan Shanahan or even Sergei Federov IIRC, he'd bench them to make his point. Heck, in Shanahan's case he actually scratched him healthy a time or two or three, and whenever her did, Shanny would come back in and light the lamp! I just don't see Babs doing anything like that. The closest was with Hudler at the end of last season (loooong overdue that year for sure).

Now look at Tortorella. He benches Gaborik--very arguably the Rangers' best offensive player and considered widely as one of the top two skaters in the league--for most of the third period in the conference final, because he wasn't careful to get the puck out of his end during a PK, resulting in a goal against.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=632074&navid=DL|NHL|home

Now I'm not saying Torts is a better overall coach than Babcock. But what I am saying is that Torts does this, and look where his guys are and look where the Wings are not. Look where Bowman took the Wings, and look where we are. I'm saying these are not coincidental. I think when you show your team that you mean business about staying true to your system--whatever it might be--with enough conviction that you are willing to bench your BEST player in an important game, that motivates players, and motivated players tend to play more in Conference Finals, and not just the first round.

I'd like to see a little more of this kind of discipline from Babs. I think the Wings need motivation at times. This is good coaching.

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@SpikeDDS

Now I'm not saying Torts is a better overall coach than Babcock. But what I am saying is that Torts does this, and look where his guys are and look where the Wings are not. Look where Bowman took the Wings, and look where we are. I'm saying these are not coincidental. I think when you show your team that you mean business about staying true to your system--whatever it might be--with enough conviction that you are willing to bench your BEST player in an important game, that motivates players, and motivated players tend to play more in Conference Finals, and not just the first round.

I'd like to see a little more of this kind of discipline from Babs. I think the Wings need motivation at times. This is good coaching.

But is it? During the regular season, sure bench the player. But during the playoffs? I don't know. I would think a discussion in the office the next day could get the message across just as well. Basically after Gaborik was benched the Rangers continued to falter. Coincidence? Or did the players start to tune Torts out? Benching a player like Gaborik messes with the lines at a critical time. I think it can affect the whole team from taking their foot off the pedal.

No doubt Torts can motivate his players, but he can alienate them too. I wouldn't be surprised if he only lasts another year in NY.

Respected coaches as Babcock imo, are the winners in the long run.

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The Wings need Smith and Nyquist to develop quickly and sign Parise and or Suter, or at the least Parenteau and a solid d-man. That will make Babcock a genious again.

Fact is, the wings had obvious holes and millions of cap space, as well as pieces to move. The Wings have nobody to blame except Holland for having everything in place to make a move or two and he starved the team. Holland cost the wings a deep playoff run, pure and simple. Love the guy, feel he is a great GM but wow I dont understand why he left everyone high and dry.

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@SpikeDDS

But is it? During the regular season, sure bench the player. But during the playoffs? I don't know. I would think a discussion in the office the next day could get the message across just as well. Basically after Gaborik was benched the Rangers continued to falter. Coincidence? Or did the players start to tune Torts out? Benching a player like Gaborik messes with the lines at a critical time. I think it can affect the whole team from taking their foot off the pedal.

No doubt Torts can motivate his players, but he can alienate them too. I wouldn't be surprised if he only lasts another year in NY.

Respected coaches as Babcock imo, are the winners in the long run.

I'm not suggesting that Babs use it like Torts does. I'm suggesting that he actually use it at all! If you are going to emulate a coach, emulate Scotty Bowman. Benching/scratching players was a tool that Bowman used repeatedly and effectively.

And if you look again at my entry, I'm NOT saying Babs isn't a great coach. He is. Using this tool would make him even better. He'd get performances from his players that were closer to their potential. One of the things the Wings have seemed to lack these past couple of seasons is motivation. They come out and just don't skate! Babcock, himself, has blamed himself for not fixing this problem. I'm simply asking that at some point he put the fear of God into his players by letting them know--even the "star" players--that if you don't play how we expect you to play, we'll let you watch someone else play their role instead.

It works. It's part of the reason Torts has been as successful as he has. But I would not say that Tortorella is the coach Babcock is. I don't believe that's true at all, particularly--as you pointed out--for the long run.

@yave1964

I agree that a majority of the Wings' problem is not Babcock's fault right now. It is up to Kenny Holland to get Babcock the players he needs to be serious Cup contenders. Babs is trying to do the best he can with what he's been given. I think he could do a little better if he used the pine more than he does to get his players focused on what they need to do to win, though.

Despite that shortcoming, I wouldn't know what coach to replace Babcock with. I'm not calling for his head. He's one of the best. I'd just like to see him get to the next level. He's a great coach, but he's not yet in Scotty's league.

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