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Babcock: Win and walk together forever

by Larry Wigge / Detroit Red Wings
PITTSBURGH -- Here we are now. One team can raise the Stanley Cup in victory tonight. The other team can avoid elimination and push the Stanley Cup Final to Game 7 Friday night.


Whether you are in the Detroit Red Wings dressing room up three games to two and ready to capture your second straight Stanley Cup or if you are in the Pittsburgh Penguins room, do or die, backs against the wall, you can still feel the potential of greatness.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has been on both sides, winning last year in Detroit after losing in seven games to New Jersey in 2003 when he was behind the bench in Anaheim.

"Every guy in that room wants to win for a whole bunch of different reasons. But to have success, you have to want to do it for the guy next to you, and the guy across from you," Babcock explained so eloquently the other day. "Winning together, paying the price, on every shift, in every game. It's all about sacrificing individually to win as a team.

"You win together today, you walk together forever. I'm a big believer in that. You never forget the guys you've won with."

More, Marian?

Last year, Marian Hossa was playing for Pittsburgh against Detroit in Game 6 at Mellon Arena. This year, he's with the Red Wings and his team is up 3-2 with a chance to win the Cup.

"I've never been this close," Hossa said. "Last year I was two games away. Now, I'm only one away.

"I came to Detroit to have a good experience. I wanted to play and learn from veterans like Nick Lidstrom and Chris Chelios and I did."

"I learned that last year was not a fond memory, being so close ... having my shot go just wide at the buzzer and we lost in Game 6, 3-2," he said. "Most of all, I learned that the last step, win No. 4, is always the hardest."

Light at the end of the tunnel -- Nicklas Lidstrom wouldn't jinx the Wings by talking about winning one for the thumb -- five Stanley Cups -- along with teammates Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom and Darren McCarty. But he did discuss how close the Cup is for both teams.

"When you're in the first, second or third round, you're looking to advance. You're looking to move up and play in the next round or you're getting ready for the next round," he observed. "When you're in the Final, you know you can see the end. You know when you're close to the end. You know you almost reached the ultimate goal.

"You're happy with advancing in the playoffs, but when you're in the Final you want to win those four games to win the Stanley Cup."

Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Final GearThe power of positive thinking -- Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood has heard all the negatives. But, one game away from leading Detroit to backstopping Detroit to a third Stanley Cup, Ozzie is philosophical about his place in history.

He'll have no talk about the past.

"That's a good word, past," he said matter of factly Tuesday. "I don't look at the past. I look ahead. To me, I look at positives in the past. I take negatives and I use them as positives. That's why I'm still playing. That's why I'm still here.  I don't dwell on things that happened. I don't beat myself up over something that's happened during the regular season.

"I think about all the things that I've done and I take things that haven't worked out so well and I use them to my advantage. I try to use everything to make myself better on the ice."

Going into Game 6, Osgood had an 11-4 career record in 16 Stanley Cup Final games for a .733 winning percentage -- fourth behind Ken Dryden (24-8, .750), Billy Smith (17-6, .739) and Grant Fuhr (14-5, .737).

But a win would put Ozzie in a first-place tie with Dryden at .750.

Author: Larry Wigge | NHL.com Columnist

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