Archive for the ‘Mike Babcock’ Category

If the Detroit Red Wings were an NBA team, they would be …

March 25, 2009
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The Detroit Red Wings are the NHL’s version of the LA Lakers.

Why?

1. American institutions

When you think of the top teams in their respective sports, the Red Wings and Lakers are among the five team a casual sports fan would blurt out. The New York Knicks and New York Rangers might compare to these teams in terms of value, but neither of those Big Apple franchises can match the dominance of these two storied American sports franchises.

2. Multiple eras of dominance


Although the Red Wings had the “Dead Things” Era, Detroit dominated multiple generations of hockey. From the days of Gordie Howe to the Steve Yzerman age to the current ZetterbergDatsyuk dynasty, Detroit justifies the stupid “We Don’t Rebuild, We Re-Load” slogan on the back of my eight grade football team T-shirt. (Wildcats for life motherfugees)

The LA Lakers might not have as many championships as the Boston Celtics, but even with Kevin Garnett‘s greatness, the Lakers has been more successful in recent years. The Lakers have arguably an even more dominant lineage than the Red Wings as Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain passed the torch to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar who then made way for the Shaq-Kobe three-peat and now the “Europeans plus Kobe” gang.

3. Dominant Coaches

The Lakers had Pat “My hair is a daily Valdez spill” Reilly and now employ the league’s hippie-tastic answer to Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson. Detroit employed Scotty Bowman, almost undoubtedly the greatest coach in hockey history, as well as Mike Babcock (the coach of the decade, according to certain geniuses).

4. Shrewd, heart breaking and borderline unfair moves
The list of amazing players the Detroit Red Wings found in the lower depths of the NHL draft is a thing of mind blowing genius. Just take a look at some examples of their Tom Brady-like bargains: Pavel Datsyuk – 6th round; Henrik Zetterberg – 7th round; Tomas Holmstrom10th round; Nicklas Lidstrom – third round; Sergei Fedorov – fourth round.

While the Red Wings made the rest of the league look stupid with brilliant drafting, the Lakers made their biggest moves mostly through trades. Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul Jabbar came over to the Lakers in lopsided Gretzky-like deals. Kobe was drafted with a pick the Lakers acquired in a trade; Shaq came to LA after starting his career with the Orlando Magic. The deal to bring Pau Gasol to LA was so lopsided that some NBA figures hinted at foul play.

The Lakers and Red Wings are proof that the rich get richer.

5. Infrequent, yet sometimes extreme tragedy
That’s not to say these teams never fell on hard times. Magic Johnson became HIV-positive. Steve Yzerman was forced to retire after a grizzly eye injury. Few hockey fans could forget the awful limo accident that nearly took the life of Vladimir Konstantinov.

6. A bunch of championships
The Red Wings have the third most Stanley Cup championships (behind Montreal and Toronto) with 11 while the Lakes have the second most NBA titles with 14 (behind Boston’s 17).

But just to play the devil’s advocate:

  • The Red Wings lack a polarizing star like Kobe, despite what some Penguins fans will tell you about Marian Hossa.
  • Los Angeles is a West Coast, sun-baked city full of fake breasts and false hopes; Detroit is full of blue-collar workers living in fear for their jobs.
  • The Lakers were awesome in the Eighties while the Red Wings were the Dead Things.
  • To our knowledge, a coked-out Jack Nicholson never showed up to Red Wings games.
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All Decade Team: Deirdre’s Picks

March 2, 2009

So I should have been the first person to whip these out, because I have to admit, while there is a little room for argument…really most of these are blatantly obvious and have already been picked.  So no earth shattering picks on this one.  The Puck Huffers beat me to the wacky picks (nice post by the way).  Plus, nice arguments by everyone on the already chosen players…so that being said here are my picks and my brief explanations.  

First some ground rules.  I personally think to be on the AD Team, you have to have a few qualifying things:

-a Stanley Cup

-an individual award (i.e. Art Ross, Conn Smythe)

-a couple of playoff appearances

-success at the international level

Center:  Peter Forsberg

Alright, since this is basically a fantasy team.  I want to set up my fantasy.  Forsberg is totally healthy: no ankle/spleen/wrist/flu/african sleeping sickness.  He’s also shirtless and bearing a whip, but I suppose that’s a different fantasy.  

The argument is simple: when he’s healthy, he’s a beast.  Of course in reality Forsberg is the poster boy for injured reserve.  But the bottom-line is that he makes the people he plays with better.  My grandmother could score 50 goals on a line with Forsberg.  Stats, facts and figures have been tossed around a lot, but I leave you with this.  

Whoa dudes, I can’t feel my spleen!”


Two Stanley Cups, Art Ross Trophy, Calder Memorial Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, 7 All-Star selections, 2 Olympic Gold Medals, 2 Gold World Championships…all from a guy who is known for being injured.  

Wings: Jaromir Jagr and Martin St. Louis

Really there is not a lot to be said about Jagr.  Yes, he’s had issues with motivation and temperament (as nicely as I can put it).  But he’s a legend in this sport.  I know his glory years were mainly in the early 90’s, but he also was among the best players in this decade too.  I think that’s more reason to put him on this team.  

I don’t feel the need to list all of his accomplishments, but multiple cups, multiple personal awards, multiple NHL records….he’s a no brainer.

St. Louis is a slightly different story.  I almost picked Iggy, but I had to give the nod to St. Louis. Statistically, the two have similar points to game totals, but Marty’s got the cup.  Plain and simple.

The Pearson is taller than St. Louis


He was a standout college player.  He’s got the Hart, the Art Ross and a Lester B. Pearson Award and an Olympic medal.

Defense: Nik Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer

I refuse to even make the case for Lidstrom because if you don’t think he belongs on this team, you are plum crazy.  The only question is will the league rename the Norris trophy the “Lidstrom-wins-this-every-year trophy.”  In fact, Lid is the captain of my AD Team.  He’s also the guy who visits children in the hospital and kisses the babies.

Niedermayer is nearly as much of a no-brainer as Lidstrom.  Pronger is left out in the cold for the same reason as Iginla: hasn’t won the big one yet.

Goalie: Marty Brodeur

Seriously, no competition on this one.  As of this writing, Brody has put in the books his 100th career shutout.

I think that Brody may actually be made of metal


Coach: Mike Babcock

Hasn’t been fired in the decade and won the big prize.  His teams end up in the playoffs.

Fighter: Chris Simon

This is a weird one, but go with me on it.  I am lumping fighter/goon/pest into this and I think for my money it’s Chris Simon.  The man is pure evil.  In fact, he’s anti-Lidstrom.  He’s drop kicking babies and unplugging the IV’s of children in the hospital.  Would I want him on my team: no.  Do I think he could kill Sid the Kid: yes.  This guy has a cup!  Can you believe that?  Iggy’s got nothing.  Proof we live in an imperfect world.  

So why is he winning this category in my mind.  8 Suspensions totaling 65 games missed.  He’s missed nearly a full season in suspensions and to my knowledge all the suspensions have occurred in this decade.  So maybe he doesn’t win the fighter award, but he does win the horrible human being award.

Loudmouth: Jeremy Roenick

I *heart* JR.

So that’s the AD Team.  Hope you enjoy them!

–Dre

All-Decade Team: Joe Pelletier’s picks

February 19, 2009

(Cycle like the Sedins asked some of the hockey blogosphere’s best and brightest to help choose the All-Decade team. During the next few days, we’ll post each response until it’s time to decide the final roster.

First up: the venerable Joe Pelletier. Pelletier runs the fantastic hockey history blog Greatest Hockey Legends and also is the go-to source for hockey book reviews. Of all the great sources of information in the blogosphere, Pelletier’s blog might teach you the most about our favorite sport.)
Goaltender –

Martin Brodeur. I do believe that a couple of goalies reached higher zeniths during the past 10 years – Roberto Luongo most notably, maybe Jose Theodore and Miikka Kiprusoff too. But Brodeur was great all decade. The others were great for one or two years.

Brodeur does benefit from a generational change that saw the old timers leave him be, and the new comers come along a little to late for true consideration for this decade.

Defense –

#1. Nicklas Lidstrom. D’uh.

#2. Scott Niedermayer. Chris Pronger may have won a Hart, but Niedermayer won a Conn Smythe, evening out that debate. He also was a key player for Canada at the Olympics, whereas Pronger was quiet in 2002 and horrible in 2006.

Center –

Joe Sakic. I have to go with Sakic. Joe Thornton may be the highest scoring center by far, but he has failed in the playoffs and at the Olympics. Sakic thrived in both situations time and again.

Wings –

#1. Jarome Iginla – The ultimate power forward of the decade, his offensive numbers are right up there. He was a key member of the 2002 Olympic gold medal team, and remains a key member years later. And he willed Calgary to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Hockey’s ultimate warrior also is known as hockey’s ultimate nice guy.

#2 – Jaromir Jagr – His offensive numbers are undeniable.

Fighter –

Derek Boogaard – I’m scared of him when I’m on my couch watching him on tv.

Coach –

Mike Babcock – His success rate sets him apart. And he encourages a beautiful form of hockey.

Loudmouth –

Don Cherry – Gotta go with Grapes on that one. Loudmouth of the past three decades.

(Good stuff, Joe! Stop by any time you’d like. We’ll keep the seat warm for you.)

Coach of the Decade: whom to consider

February 3, 2009
Mike Babcock
Record: 231 W – 118 L – 19 T – 42 OTL
Best years: Three division titles; 2002-03 (his lemons to lemonade year: coached an 8th 7th seed who beat Detroit and came within a game of a Cup) and 2007-08 (dominant Stanley Cup year – no team ever put the Red Wings at risk of elimination in the entire playoffs)
Fired?: No, but he left the Ducks for the Red Wings

Babcock is a quality over quantity guy. He’s made the playoffs four out of five years as a head coach. He won one Cup and came within a game of another. His teams usually perform very well in the playoffs. Rarely will you ever find a loss pinned on Babcock.

Lindy Ruff
Record: 340 W – 252 L – 44 T – 47 OTL
Best years: One division title, 05-06 and 06-07 – both seasons ended with Conference finals losses.

Fired?: No

Lindy Ruff is the closest thing the NHL has to a Terminator or cockroach when it comes to being unkillable. As the longest tenured coach in the NHL, Ruff has been with the team since the 1997-98 season. In the last decade, he kept the Sabres from imploding while the club was in financial trouble and helped lead what might be a short-lived return to glory for the franchise.

What hurts him the most is that the team has missed the playoffs four times this decade.

Barry Trotz
Record: 296 W – 261 L – 53 T – 46 OTL
Best years: 05-06 (106 pts, lost in first round) and 06-07 (110 points, lost in first round)
Fired?: No

Barry Trotz is the only coach in the history of the Nashville Predators. Behind the bench since 1998-99, Trotz often made something out of nothing. In fact, with only a few big name guys over the last few years like Paul Kariya and Jason Arnott, the Predators have been remarkably competitive.

They’ve also made it to the playoffs for the last four seasons.

Unfortunately, they’ve also been kicked out before ever seeing the second round. As great a coach as Trotz is, it might be hard to overcome that hurdle.

Ken Hitchcock
Record: 307 W – 202 L – 52 T – 51 OTL
Best years: Three division titles, 99-00 (lost in SCF) and 03-04 (lost in Game 7 of Conference finals)
Fired?: twice

Hitchcock is a bit of a victim of timing in this case. He won his only Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1998-99, the season before “the decade” began. Indeed, the three years before 99-00 were the best years of his coaching career.

That being said, Hithcock still has had an impressive decade. He took two different teams to the Conference Finals and brought the Stars to the Cup finals against the New Jersey Devils.

Perhaps the biggest knocks are that he’s been fired twice and missed the playoffs twice in a row as the coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Still, the Stars hit their highest level under his tutelage. And the Flyers were one game away from the SCF because of Hitchcock. Finally, the Blue Jackets are in the mix for this year’s playoffs which would be the first in the club’s history.

Jacques Lemaire
Record: 277 W – 242 L – 55 T – 47 OTL
Best years: One division title, 02-03 (lost in Conf. finals)
Fired?: No

Even if his name will forever be associated with the neutral zone trap, Lemaire is still one of the most respected coaches in the NHL. While his teams have missed the playoffs four times, he’s been able to coax some very successful seasons out of some minimally talented teams.

Ron Wilson
Record: 344 W – 228 L – 52 T – 46 OTL
Best years: four division titles, 03-04 (lost in Conf. finals) and 07-08 (108 pts)
Fired?: Twice

One of the best personalities in the NHL is also one of the best coaches. He lead both the Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks from basement teams to perennial contenders. Along with being consistently quotable, Wilson’s claim to fame is being ahead of the pack when it comes to technology.

Wilson shares the unfortunate distinction with Hitchcock of being fired twice in this decade. However, it’s always a sign that you’re probably a worthwhile coach when you barely blink and a new offer is on the table. Both Wilson and Hitchcock barely wasted a month before being chosen as the coach of a different team.

Other possible contenders: Dave Tippett, Claude Julien, Randy Carlyle (too brief), Scotty Bowman (only three years, but did win a Cup) and Joel Quenneville. Maybe even Pat Burns or Pat Quinn?