The Past Week
Despite dropping games against Columbus and Montreal, the incredible weekend wins made the week an overall success. In a must win game at Toronto, Darren Helm used his speed to take the game over offensively. Gus Nyquist also scored in the game, but it was his goal against Tampa on Sunday that you’ll be seeing all over the highlight reels this week. ‘Goose’ continues to defy the odds with his near 20% shooting percentage. He’s bound to cool off, but watching him on his current ride is a real treat.
The yearly award for best NHL coach has never been won by Mike Babcock. He’s certainly been deserving multiple times, and is widely regarded as the best coach in the game today. In the past he has been overlooked for having a team overloaded with talent. The only other obvious candidate for the award this year is rookie coach Patrick Roy. As much as I loathe him, he’s done a tremendous job with the Avs this year. Really amazing… And it’s painful for me to give that guy any kind of praise. That said, the way Babcock has essentially taken an AHL team, and has them in the playoffs, is something even more special. He’s got this team playing systems that he doesn’t want to use, but he knows that it’s the key to winning games with the players in the lineup. I know the olympics aren’t part of consideration here, but by contrast, you can really see the diversity of his abilities, and how successful he is regardless. This weekend Babcock passed the legendary Scotty Bowman on the list for all-time wins behind the Red Wings bench, and is set to top the list before the regular season ends. Who is the final name that he will pass to become #1 on that list? …. Jack Adams. How fitting.
Coming Up This Week
The Wings have what might be a playoff preview against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, and back-to-back games with Buffalo and Montreal the end the week. Pavel Datsyuk skated with the team today and says there’s a chance he could play tomorrow. His biggest concern seems to be his conditioning.
With how good the team has been playing, it’s tough to know how to shape the lines around Pavel’s return. Thinking even further ahead, imagine Zetterberg and Weiss also returning and try to make your own lineup combinations… It suddenly feels like an embarrassment of riches. These Red Wings are quickly becoming the team that no one wants to face in the first round of the playoffs.