Sunday Analysis: Mike Babcock's Post-Game Comments

Mike Babcock asks the referee about his preferred proctology methods - Marianne Helm

Mike Babcock in the postgame breaking down his thoughts on the game.

The rundown on the Quotes:

"I thought Stamkos was the best player on the ice today"

This one's hard to argue. Absolutely killer goal to make up for his turnover which led to the Zetterberg goal. 24:26 worth of ice time (2:38 short-handed), had the shift which turned into what very well could have been the game-winning goal, took seven attempts on net (4 SOG, 3 misses), 64% in the faceoff dot and 59% Corsi, despite taking TEN more defensive zone faceoffs than O-zone draws.

"We got a real good matchup out of Helm" (against Filppula)

Helm got a 4/1 offensive-to-defensive start ratio and ended up positive in Corsi and in faceoffs. He didn't record a shot on goal, but overall considering how worrisome this matchup was, Helm did well in his 16:57 against the Bolts' 2nd line.

"We had outstanding penalty kill; our power play wasn't any good. Our goaltender was really good."

Right on the money. All three points. He goes on later to discuss the Lighting PP opportunity after the Stamkos goal as a huge stop for the Wings, which I thought was accurate. While I'm praising Babcock for being right about things, I also agree when he said that the Lightning power play looked much more dangerous than Detroit's.  I thought they had much better looks and a few more near-misses, while Detroit's man advantage didn't achieve nearly as much.

"We lost our composure...Their speed and with our inability to move the puck from the back made us slower"

This has been a consistent problem for the Wings. People talk about team speed a lot and the complaints from people for a while have been that this is something Detroit lacks. Babcock touches on it here in a way that I think is often overlooked. Detroit isn't a slow-skating team. They do have guys who aren't as fleet-of-foot as your average skater, but I don't think the Wings have any downright bad skaters on their roster right now. The issue is that the time it takes to turn in transition is the difference between skating up ice against two defenders or three.

Detroit simply doesn't create enough odd-man rushes, and part of that is how slow puck movement from the back end comes. I think another part of that is systemic though. Detroit doesn't send wingers up ice on cherry-picking expeditions very often, so the defensemen don't often look for those kinds of outlets. When they do see them, they're harder to hit because they don't practice them as often.

"[various words sharing blame for the OT game-winner on Quincey's turnover and Kindl's failure to cover the front of the net]"

Yes. This is what happened.

"We gotta get way more out of more guys"

This one comes on the tail of Babcock agreeing with a Henrik Zetterberg comment about effort not being the problem, but that they need to "play smarter." He also uses this opportunity to hint again that the issue is on the blueline.

When asked about the team's lack of depth scoring, Babcock asks the reporter who should be expected to score other than Datsyuk and Zetterberg out of the lineup the Wings' iced. Franzen's name gets mentioned first, and Babcock shakes his shoulders in disbelief that a guy who hasn't played in a week apparently just got called out for not scoring. Thankfully somebody else comes along before Babcock drills a hole in that poor guy's cranium and mentions Alfredsson, which Babcock agrees with. He then goes on to discuss that the balanced scoring from guys who don't have the year-after-year history of putting up points is what gets you wins, but that in the meantime, the Red Wings simply need to check better.

- - -

All-in-all, I wonder if the team isn't maybe getting mixed messages about what needs to happen in terms of creating offense and making sure you're in position defensively. Detroit's blueline is young and inexperienced, but the Wings need more out of them, not just in terms of puck movement, but also offensive contribution. Detroit's defense has put up five goals this season. For reference, two defensemen (Erik Karlsson and Torey Krug) have put up more goals (six) than the entirety of Detroit's D-corps.

Some of this is just luck, as the average shooting percentage for defensemen hovers around 5% anyway, and the Wings are currently shooting only 3.79% from the blueline (not counting whatever shots are being taken by forwards playing the point on power plays). Some of it comes from making more luck for themselves. Jakub Kindl leads the team's defensemen with 29 shots on goal. That's good enough to tie him for 36th place leaguewide. Kyle Quincey's 25 is barely good enough to keep him in the top 60. Dekeyser (72nd) and Kronwall (86th) make up the next two.

With 30 teams in the league, you'd hope to have at least one guy in the top 30 representing yours in a category like this. Last season, the Red Wings did not have a top-30 defenseman shot producer and they're pacing not to have one again this season. NHL.com's stats engine only goes back to the 1997-98 season, but in the stretch between that year and the 2011-12 league year, Detroit never failed to have a guy in the top-30. In fact, thanks to a certain player, we enjoyed a top-ten player for that stat in the majority of seasons.

The flip-side of having a more-aggressive D-corps is that you're also going to allow odd-man rushes the other way when those D-men get caught pinching. My take on this is that the Red Wings' d-corps is already allowing odd-man rushes. If I'm going to have to clench my butt cheeks several times a game because of a 2-on-1, I'd at least like the play preceding that to involve a decent scoring opportunity from one of our defensemen. Every once in a while, those turn into goals and then we don't have to worry about odd-man rushes.

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