We have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the NHL’s online services, you agree to these updated documents and to the arbitration of disputes.
Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
Username or EmailPassword

Injuries, exhaustion finally did in Red Wings

Saturday, 06.13.2009 / 12:23 AM / 2009 Stanley Cup Final: Detroit vs. Pittsburgh

By Phil Coffey - NHL.com Sr. Editorial Director

DETROIT -- When all was said and done, the Detroit Red Wings simply didn't have anything left to give.

While effusive in his praise of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said by Game 7, his team was simply worn out and playing on fumes

"I thought just with the injuries -- everyone has injuries, but I thought with the injuries and then never really getting to the level we'd like to see our team at, I didn't think we did that in the Final at all," Babcock said after the Penguins' 2-1 win in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday night.
"Now give them credit, they played good," Babcock said of the Penguins, "so part of the equation is them. But I just didn't feel that … you know what your individuals can do because you've coached them for so long. The guys that were injured on our team this year never got their game back to the level it could be. And they were significant players for us."

The Red Wings missed center Pavel Datsyuk for the first four games of the Final. Another center, Kris Draper, missed the first three games. Then there were the nebulous "upper- and lower-body injuries," along the way coupled with plenty of bumps and bruises that didn't go on the injury list. Still one could surmise from watching the games that a lot of Wings were playing hurt.

"This group, we've basically been taped together all playoffs," Babcock said. "Our guys did a good job to battle through and do the best they could. We weren't in some situations as good as we normally are. But I think when guys are giving you everything they've got, that's all you can ask from them.

"We've found a way to give ourselves a chance. Any time you win three games in a Final, you have a chance. We just didn't have enough to get it done. Like I said, they (Penguins) played well."

So after winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 and getting all the way to Game 7 of the '09 Final, the Red Wings were gassed. You could see that from a quick glance at the stat sheet and numbers like 19-straight games without a goal from Tomas Holmstrom, 14-straight from Datsyuk and 12 from Jiri Hudler, coupled with the obvious struggles of Marian Hossa.

"I thought we looked out of gas pretty much all series," Babcock said. "I thought we competed, and I thought we tried. But I never thought we got to the level we'd have liked to. We started good tonight (in Game 7), took a penalty. Then they took over, I thought, the rest of the first period.

"Then we had two crucial turnovers in the second period, and they scored. In this type of game, it's always tough to recover and use the minutes like you should when you get behind like we did. And it took us a while to get going. I thought we played all right in the third period. But they competed hard. You've got to give them credit.

"They found a way to win. It's a battle of will. I thought their team played hard."


Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres