- I had a hockey game of my own last night so I missed most of the Wings game...It sounds like playing hockey was the better choice. In the absence of my own deep, reflective, and highly valued (hahaha) thoughts on the game, I'll let the players and coach speak for themselves.
Mike Babcock's thoughts after the game...
"I don’t know if they had their legs in the first period, I thought the first period was pretty even, but I thought they skated way better than we did in the second and third. I was hoping to come in here and steal this game…We’re looking forward to a day off. We did a lot of traveling last series back and forth and I saw us yesterday during practice, and I wasn’t surprised when I saw us today. I didn’t think we were very quick and executed. We’re not trying to take anything away from them, they were better than us. The score tonight was more than fair as far as I’m concerned. They were better."
"He (Jimmy) had to be (fantastic). We weren’t good enough in front of him; we gave up too many opportunities and then made some key mistakes down the stretch. In the second period at times they hemmed us in for extended periods of time. We didn’t execute very good, partly because of their quickness and partly because we didn’t skate well and didn’t move the puck well; so you add the two together and it was a tough night for Howie."
"We have a day off, and then practicing. We have to get up to speed, because we weren’t; we haven’t played like that in a while, so just getting some energy back in us. We knew as a coaching staff right when it happened. We thought we were actually playing last night (Wednesday) and we really felt the break was going to help us, and then the way this series is set up, we have no reason not to be very good in the next game. We have to get playing at a high tempo because obviously they’re playing at a level tonight that we weren’t playing at."
"I thought we had two great looks (on the PP), we had the same look as Hossa when he buried it. Z was right there and didn’t bury it. I thought we had another real good look and it didn’t go in, so we’ll look at what they did. Obviously when you see them play against Minnesota you look at it one way, then when you see them play against yourselves… We have to be dangerous in that area, we can’t give up anything on the kill. We had the puck on our stick on the kill, it should have been 200 feet, we turned it over, and basically it was a 3-1 there when Hossa scored."
"I’m not concerned about that at all (having so many kids and needing vets to take control of the locker room). We’ve got a good disposition in there. Our guys will be disappointed in the way we played. That’s the hardest part. You’re in a series, you lose some, but we didn’t play good enough, we didn’t play at a level that we would be happy with and that’s how our guys are going to feel. They understand what’s going on too. We’ll take tomorrow off, we’ll get regrouped, recharged up, and we’ll come back here and look forward to game 2."
"We didn’t put any pressure on them at all. It was a grinding game from our end because we never got out of our zone. They were way quicker than us, they executed way better, and then as time went on we turned pucks over and made it easier for them. I don’t think we did a bad job of that. I thought we clogged it up in the first period but we didn’t skate good enough to even come close."
"It’s pretty hard to evaluate our 4th line when I just went through everybody and I think we’re all the same. I didn’t think we were very good. They skated better than us one through four, it’s not like we had one line dominate and three let us down. We were all the same."
Some important things get lost when an interview is transcribed, because you can't see body language, hear voice tone etc.. So if you'd like to watch Kronwall's post game interview, the link is here, but he was much more passionate and fired up than usual in his interviews AND HE EVEN SWORE! This illustrates Babcock's statement that the players would be disappointed and will react in the necessary manner.
Kronwall's thoughts about the game
"First period, except for the first shift, we did a fairly good job staying on top of them. Then in the second and third, for some reason, we ended up watching them play hockey instead of just going after them."
"We know that we’re a hell of a much better team than this. The second and third period were not nearly good enough. We know we’re better than this, we have to find a way to get better for game two… We have to come out with a way better effort in Game 2."
Chuck Pleiness posted his quote of the day from Nik commenting on Howard
"I know we’ve let in a lot of goals in the third period," Kronwall said. "Howie can’t stand on his head for the whole game and he saved us in the second period, and it kind of comes natural that pucks will going in the third if we’re not playing better."
and Ansar Khan gives us Jonathan Ericsson's assessment.
"The D’s got to do a better job of getting the pucks up and the forwards have to do a better job at being open,'' defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said.
"They got new bodies in all of the time when they were forechecking. They’re coming in with fresh guys and we’re staying out there because we can’t change. So it’s wearing on us.
"It’s tiring, and then everybody stands still and looking like, ‘What’s going on?’ ''
- Quick thought on Babcock's style and approach to his players. I have a great appreciation for the way he handles the player. Instead of trying to micromanage the players, he puts the responsibility on them, both as individuals and as a team, to do what they need to do, and correct something when its wrong. It facilitates a culture, atmosphere, and work ethic among the players that is beneficial for the team as a whole. Babcock's whole approach helps create and maintain intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic, which almost always produces better results. Back when we played the Blues on February 7th (Petr Mrazek's NHL debut), after the game Hitchcock openly called his team and players out in his post game press conference, saying that some of them were being selfish and thinking of/doing what's best for themselves, rather than the team. That, to me, speaks volumes about the culture and philosophy in the dressing room and from the coaching staff. Calling players out like that may work for some players, but I think it's a largely ineffective and divisive technique. Now compare that approach to Babcock's. Babcock "called out" every player on the team last night (except Jimmy), he said they were slow, didn't work hard enough, didn't get the job done, and deserved the outcome they got. However the way in which he did it was subtle, yet the players know exactly what he expects, and I think this method has a more effective result. Then watch the interview with Kronwall, or Zetterberg, or Ericsson, or anyone else really, and you can see how upset, disappointed, and determined the players are. I'm proud to be a fan of a team with this approach, culture, and integrity. Every other team can suck it.