“When you’re really good, you’re just good,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Crosby’s success.
But Babcock was quick to point out that there’s more to Pittsburgh than Crosby, who the Penguins drafted first overall in 2005. They also selected current goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury — who will not be between the pipes tonight — first overall in 2003.
“They had to go through a lot of suffering to end up having (Evgeni) Malkin, Crosby, (Marc-Andre) Fleury, and (Ryan) Malone,” Babcock said. “I can tell you a lot people in Detroit don’t want to put up with the suffering in order to have those guys. It’s a lot of punishment.”
The Red Wings will have to keep their eyes on Jordan Staal, who Babcock said has gained confidence off a strong showing in the playoffs. Staal scored three times in five games against the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The second of the Staal brothers to make the jump to the NHL (older brother Eric plays for the Carolina Hurricanes), Jordan led the entire league in shorthanded tallies and notched 29 goals as an eighteen-year-old last season.
Although Crosby, Malkin and Fleury won’t be able to give Detroit trouble tonight, there will be plenty of young players on the Red Wings end of the ice.
“I’m going to use anybody who’s available,” Babcock said. “(Derek) Meech, (Kyle) Quincey, (Jonathan) Ericsson — those kind of guys that are battling for jobs will be going lots (in the upcoming games).”
Babcock will continue to rotate through his roster. Center Mark Hartigan and goaltender Jimmy Howard
are the only Wings that will be suiting up for the second consecutive night.
“You almost have two teams,” Babcock said.
Detroit lost 3-2 to Minnesota on Thursday after defeating the Wild, 6-1, in Tuesday’s preseason opener.