Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Like A Death Stare, Only With Words

"We've got to have a discussion as a group," Babcock said. "Do we want to be a good team or not? Like, life just doesn't go on good for you. You make a decision it's going to go good for you. You decide for yourself that you're going to be successful; you decide for yourself that you're going to make a difference; you decide for yourself that you're going to have a good career.
"No one just gives you stuff. Actually, the other team is trying, too. So we've got to make some decisions."
From Helene St. James' Freep article on the SJ-Det game.
Well it's about damn time. Thursday night's postgame press conference provided what seems like the first interesting quote from a Red Wings coach or player in the past three years.

Mike Babcock sent as direct a message as he could to his team, and we can only hope that it's the right message at the right time. The Wings have looked great in their wins and fragile in their losses, too polarizing for comfort and too talented to falter completely.

All we ever seem to hear is CoachSpeak and AthleteSpeak from the Wings, and you can only listen to "we just have to work harder" and "we're going to stay positive" so many times before someone needs to stand up and hold others accountable.

Enter Mike Babcock. There's been too much Death Staring going on lately in Hockeytown (well, mostly away from Hockeytown but I digress). Statistics are a huge part of the game and are growing in importance, but resiliency and mental toughness, these are things that carry teams deep into the playoffs.

I truly believe that this team has the right mix to win the Cup. I'm putting aside my obviously gargantuan bias when I say that too. The last two years, you could tell it wasn't going to happen. Sure, the teams were good enough to go deep into the playoffs, but they weren't good enough to win it all.

If this year's version of the nuWings can find any semblance of consistency then I think we'll be very happy come June. There's the right balance of talent and tenacity, offensive firepower and defensive skill, and a goaltender who's playing elite hockey (insert subtle nod to Nightmare on Helm Street here).

There's a game to be played today, and the Wings have said all the right things leading up to it. They talked about staying positive when things don't go their way and believing in each other as a team. We'll soon see what the actual on ice response is, and subsequently whether everything will be happy in Hockeytown or if Ken Holland is going to have to make some moves and abuse that cap space like it's a Buffalo cab driver and he's Patrick Kane.

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