Friday, July 15, 2005

Welcome Aboard

Ken Holland and Mike Ilitch introduced the Wings' new head coach Mike Babcock at a 10 am press conference this morning. Says Babcock:
"I believe in leadership. I believe in being the best in the world at what I do...When you don't make people accountable, it leads to a superstar mentality where not everyone on the team is important...Maybe the most exciting thing is that I'm coming here to join a family in Detroit that's philosophy is based totally on a passion for winning."
Though listed on the team website as coaching staff on Monday, Barry Smith and Joey Kocur have since been erased. The Wings then added a bio for Babcock on the site. Babcock will likely bring his assistants from Anaheim to replace Joe and Barry. Meet Lorne Henning, committed Islander player and long-time assistant coach, and Paul MacLean, who actually played for the Wings during the 1988-89 season. Babcock has some experience with the Wings. He coached the Mighty Ducks to a 2003 playoff sweep of the Red Wings, with Conn Smythe winner J.S. Giguere leading the way. Before that, he coached the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, then Red Wings affiliate, from 2000-02, where he met Jiri Fischer and Jason Williams. In the 2004 World Championships, Babcock coached Team Canada, including Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby, to a gold medal. Says Fischer:
"He was a good communicator, from what I saw when I was there, he treated everyone equally and demanded the best. He always was giving 100 percent, and he wanted everyone to do the same."
Babcock is coming off an extremely disappointing 12th place finish with the Ducks in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs with a team bolstered with acquisitions of Sergei Fedorov and Vaclav Prospal. It will be interesting to see how his vision for the Wings affects player buyouts/signings in the coming weeks. Is it possible that Fedorov wants to come back to Hockeytown with Babcock? What about Ozzie? Let the rumors begin!


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