TUESDAY TIDBITS...LEARN FROM DETROIT

Jason Gregor
November 05 2013 07:40AM

Mike Babcock has been coaching hockey for over 25 years. He started his coaching career with Red Deer College in 1988. Since then he's coached in Moose Jaw and Spokane of the WHL, the University of Lethbridge, the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the AHL, the Anaheim Ducks and he's currently in his ninth season with the Detroit Red Wings.

He's also guided Canada to gold medals at the 1997 world junior championships, the 2004 world hockey championships and the 2010 Olympics.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Babcock on my radio show recently, and he had some excellent insight into what makes him a successful head coach.

Babcock is one of the most intense men I've ever interviewed. He's never turned down a request for my show, of course we are smart enough to only ask once or twice a season, and I've learned I need to be prepared just to interview him. If you ask a stupid question, he isn't afraid to tell you about it. I learned that four years ago when we chatted in the bowels of Rexall Place.

It was a great learning experience for me, and every since then, every time I try to think of an angle that we haven't discussed before. 

Here is our conversation, with my thoughts in italics. 

Gregor: When you came into the NHL, how did you adapt to NHL players after being an American League coach. Was there a certain adjustment in dealing with an NHL player compared to an American League player and if so, what was the main one?  

Babcock: You know that’s a great question. This is what I would tell you, when I was a college coach and I went to junior, I was a college coach. When I was a junior coach and I went back to college, I was a junior coach. When I was a college coach going back to junior, I was a college coach. Then when I was in the American League I was a junior coach. When I got to the NHL I was an American League coach.  

I don’t know if it makes any difference, this is what I do know. If you know what you are talking about and you make players accountable and you help them to get better, it doesn’t matter what league you played in or coached in, but you’ve got to be able to help them. And so for me, to tell you the truth, it wasn’t a big transition. I never thought much about it, I just did my job.  

**I asked this question because recently I've heard many people suggest Dallas Eakins was only an AHL coach, and that he's been overwhelmed. Every coach was a rookie NHL head coach at some point, and Eakins spent time in the NHL as an assistant prior to coming here, so I doubt he's completely overwhelmed. Is he learning things the hard way, you bet, but he hasn't incorporated any systems that the NHL hasn't seen before.**

Gregor: How do you make players accountable?  

Babcock: Well how do you make anyone accountable? When you’re family, I think that accountability starts at your family. When you sit down at the kitchen table and you talk to one another and someone says something stupid, everyone in the family jumps all over them and doesn’t let them get away with it.

The same thing has to happen in your business. You have to be able to have hard meetings. Lots of times when in companies what you do is you talk behind each other’s back, you go to the meeting and no one calls each other out and you continue to talk behind each other’s back.
 

If someone would just talk about the big elephant in the room, have a hard meeting for two seconds, tell people what needs to get done, everyone would be much happier. But those are hard decisions and those are hard meetings to have. I just think if you’re honest with people and you are straight forward and hold them accountable but treat them with respect, that’s not an issue.

**I like interviewing Babcock because often he uses scenarios that the audience can relate to. None of us have been NHL head coaches, but we all have families and we can relate to his response. Eakins biggest challenge moving forward is going to be to finding a way to make his players accountable. It likely isn't going to be a comfortable conversation, but it has to happen. It will be interesting to see how he goes about trying to get his players to become competitive every game.***

  Gregor: Last year you told me that you loved the challenge of not having Nick Lidstrom and you thought that it would make you a better coach. What’s your approach, what’s your new challenge this year that you didn’t have last year?

Babcock: I think that each and every year it’s different and what you’re trying to do, just like in any job, is lifelong learning, continue to evolve. If you did what you did last year, you can’t be successful. If you continue to push the envelope and get better, you have a chance.  

How do you get better? Well you find new ideas, you’re innovative, you come up with something new, you talk to different people, and you try to get better.  

For Pavel Datsyuk it’s the same thing. He wants to be the best player in the world, and so we have to continue to work on his game. When Pavel plays well, we tell him, when Pavel doesn’t play good, we talk about it. I talked to Pavel Datsyuk every day. He’s the last guy in the dressing room on the way to practise. I walk out right behind him, anything he needs to tell me, anything I need to tell him, I tell him. It’s pretty straight forward relationship. He’s not shy to tell me if he doesn’t like what’s going on, and I’m not very shy either.

LEARNING FROM PLAYERS...

Gregor: When you bring in a player like Daniel Alfredsson, do you teach a veteran differently from how you would teach a guy coming up from the American League or juniors?  

Babcock:  I think the whole key is that you have a way that your whole team has to play to be successful. In other words, you have to come up with a blueprint and your blueprint is different each and every year because your team is different. So what you try to do is ask those players to find their game within our game. But to be honest with you, Daniel Afredsson for me, it’s like a coach’s dream. He’s been in different organizations, he’s been coached by different people.  

Today I actually met with Alfredsson, I said ‘do you have a few minutes for me; I have a lot of questions’ he said sure. So we sat down, I said ‘I want to go through our program. I want you to talk and me to listen. I want to know about how we teach, how our meetings are, how are travel has been, how our practices are, how our bench practices are. I have thick skin; I just want to get better. Tell me what you think.’ And that way I think you build a relationship with a guy who has a lot to offer. I don’t mind trying to help him get better; I’m hoping that he isn’t going to mind trying to help me to get better. In the end it just helps the Red Wings be successful.

Gregor: Without giving away any secrets, was there anything that he told you that you could share with us?

Babcock: Well there is nothing that I would share with you, but there are definitely things that he told me and so what you do is that you try to take that to heart and go from there.  

When I met with Pavel the other day, he didn’t like a few things that were going on in the neutral zone. We tried what he suggested that day in practise. Did it help our team be better? I don’t know but he didn’t like the way that we were doing it. I tried to focus on it.

He identified something that I hadn’t thought of; I tried to focus on it. Are you doing that with all players? Absolutely not. But there are guys who have put in the time and done things well enough and have enough experience and are all about winning that when they give you an opportunity to get better, it would probably help you to listen.

***Babcock is always striving to learn something new, and having veterans like Datsyuk and Alfredsson around makes his job much easier. Eakins has said he's open to listening to his players, and even fans who give him ideas at the gas station, but right now he doesn't have the luxury of bending the ears of two potential Hall of Fame players. A smart coach or business leader should always be open to learning from his peers, and it doesn't surprise me that Babcock approached Alfredsson to get his views on the Red Wings.***

Gregor: Two of your assistant coaches went on to be successful in Ottawa and San Jose. What type of responsibilities do you put on your coaches so that they are ready to move on when that next opportunity comes along?

Babcock: I think that that’s a huge part of successful organizations is that people have opportunities to move on. If you think about the Red Wings since I’ve been there, Steve Yzerman, who played for us and then worked with us, is the general manager in Tampa and the head of our [Canadian] Olympic team. That for me was a key guy in acquiring pro players. Todd McLellan is in San Jose, Paul MacLean, who else do we have out there? We just lost Jim Nill.  

So we’re building staffs for the rest of the league. I don’t know if that’s what we want, but in saying that unless you give people opportunity, how do you get better? I had a great young coach in Jeff Blashill; he’s now coaching our American League team. I have Tom Renney, a veteran coach who is really helpful. Bill Peters is one of my assistant coaches; he’ll be a head coach in the NHL just because of his relationship with players, his work ethic and his knowledge of the game. You want those people to continue to grow and get new jobs because you also have to change your staff. If they don’t move on, you don’t get to change.

***I didn't like Eakins kept two coaches he'd never worked with before. Eakins said it was his choice, but I have a hard time believing that. One of the biggest issues for the Edmonton Oilers right now is that they don't do simple things like letting the coach choose his own coaching staff. There is no way that Pat Quinn, Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger and Dallas Eakins all chose to retain Kelly Buchberger. I truly don't understand why the Oilers believed it would work for them, when history has proven it didn't work for other teams. Coaches need to pick their assistant coaches.***  

Gregor:  Mike you mentioned how every year is different, you don’t do the same thing. How often do you tweak your system? Do you wait 20 games, or is it 2 games or 5 games if something isn’t working?  

Babcock: I guess what I would tell you is that the more you win, and the more confidence you have sometimes the steadier you are on the rudder when you know that something is going to work. On the other side of that, when something isn’t going to work, why would you beat a dead horse? You evolve it and you change it, especially if it’s not working for the group that you are coaching this time around.  

I’m a big believer that each year you got to find a way to play that’s going to get that group successful. And so you’re constantly, I’d call it R&D. You’re watching everybody else and you rob and you do. You take anything you can see that forms a new idea and you try to evolve and get better. And when someone is doing something better than you, you try to work it into your game.

For me, there’s a fine line. Hockey is hockey and in saying all that though, the game constantly evolves as the player evolves and you have to keep them interested. I’ve been in Detroit, this is my 9th year, there is no way that you can bring the same program every year, they would be bored stiff with that.

 ***Eakins has already tweaked his defensive zone coverage, and it improved, because teams haven't been getting five-star chances in the slot regularly like they were through the first seven games. The problem is many other aspects of their game have fallen apart.***

QUICK HITS....

  • Babcock is a great coach, but he's told me on many occasions that he is only as good as his players. He's had the luxury of having great players who were also great leaders. Eakins has to hope that a few of his young players emerge as solid leaders quickly.
     
  • Ryan Smyth is currently tied with Claude Lemieux and Ted Lindsay for 102nd overall in goals scored, 379, in NHL history. He needs five goals to move into the top-100 of all-time. I understand that Smyth isn't the player he once was, but he knows how to score ugly, gritty goals. The young Oilers should be asking Smyth about how he was able to be competitive every shift for many years. Smyth paid a price to score goals, and currently none of the Oilers forwards have shown a willingness to do that on a nightly basis. Scoring goals is hard, and the young Oilers must realize they won't be able to score pretty goals every night.
     
  • The Oilers have allowed 10 more goals than every other team. If the players don't realize they must improve their defensive play this team is never going to improve.
     
  • What are the Minnesota Wild and Chuck Fletcher thinking? They've played 15 games, but Matt Dumba has only dressed in 9 of them. Dumba has been a healthy scratch for a week, while the Wild decide if they want to waste the first year of his ELC and keep him in Minnesota. He's only averaging 12 minutes a night, and he's only dressed for 60% of their games. Why is this decision difficult? Send him back to Red Deer. I'm sure Brent Sutter can help with his development.
     
  • Get your tickets for the 2nd annual DJ Suitcase (Strudwick) party. It will be a great night, and it doesn't cost you actually make money when you buy a ticket. Details here. Only 150 tickets left. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 JJ
November 05 2013, 08:31AM
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Keeping The Faith wrote:

Gregor,

Just wanted to say your interviewing skills are outstanding. You always ask very good questions, which makes the interview even better.

This was another beauty. I hope every boss/leader reads this. His answers, especially about accountability, could be used in any work space.

Hopefully the Oilers read it.

You kidding? Gregor always asks the soft and easy questions.. Often times repeating over and over what's been asked before. I recall back in Summer he'd ask Hall about center over and over and get the same answers (expecting anything else is insanity).

Asking the kind of softballs Gregor throws is not having "outstanding" interview skills. A grade school student could do that.

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#2 JJ
November 05 2013, 09:17AM
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Benny Botts wrote:

Then move on man...Whats the point of coming on here and taking shots at a guy that is trying to give us some insight to one of the best coaches in the NHL. It's guys like you that wreck these comment sections. If you have a problem with Gregor then don't read his post's...simple and easy. Move on troll.

Are you kidding me? I'm not taking shots at the writer, I'm taking shots at the nonsense his shill in the comment board said. Get that through your head? It's guys like you with no intellect whatsoever that wreck society. If you have a problem with what I point out, then don't read it and move along. Take your own advice there buddy.

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#3 JJ
November 05 2013, 11:17AM
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David S wrote:

@ JJ

If you were half as smart as you're trying to make us believe, you'd know that

boysonthebus.com

lowetide.ca

mc79hockey.com

are where the fancystats/"Critical thinkers" hang out. You'd also know the difference between light-hearted fan sites that don't take themselves too serously and the three examples mentioned above.

So either you're not that bright or just a DB.

BTW - Gregor is well known to be the best sports interviewer in Edmonton. It's not apple polishing or butt kissing, it's a fact. If you don't like his style that's cool but whining about it is rather...wait for it...unintelligent.

And lastly, I'll say that I have a bachelor's degree in science. So I think I know a thing or two about having intelligence, if there's ever a concern.

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#4 rubbertrout
November 05 2013, 08:55AM
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Good grief this feature needs a new title. "Tidbits"? Come on.

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#5 Keeping The Faith
November 05 2013, 08:03AM
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Gregor,

Just wanted to say your interviewing skills are outstanding. You always ask very good questions, which makes the interview even better.

This was another beauty. I hope every boss/leader reads this. His answers, especially about accountability, could be used in any work space.

Hopefully the Oilers read it.

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#6 EricOG
November 05 2013, 08:29AM
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Watching the NHL Network over here. just saw Daren Dreger. Says that McT is working the phones like a madman. Looking for help on defense.

You know, things may go from zero to WOW!! in a hurry around these parts.

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#7 Benny Botts
November 05 2013, 09:02AM
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JJ wrote:

You kidding? Gregor always asks the soft and easy questions.. Often times repeating over and over what's been asked before. I recall back in Summer he'd ask Hall about center over and over and get the same answers (expecting anything else is insanity).

Asking the kind of softballs Gregor throws is not having "outstanding" interview skills. A grade school student could do that.

Then move on man...Whats the point of coming on here and taking shots at a guy that is trying to give us some insight to one of the best coaches in the NHL. It's guys like you that wreck these comment sections. If you have a problem with Gregor then don't read his post's...simple and easy. Move on troll.

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#8 pkam
November 05 2013, 11:30AM
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JJ wrote:

And lastly, I'll say that I have a bachelor's degree in science. So I think I know a thing or two about having intelligence, if there's ever a concern.

I don't like Lowe'c comment regarding his 6 SC rings, but to compare his 6 SC rings to academic success, it would be like 6 PHD from Yale or Harvard.

About 25% of NA has a bachelor's degree of some discipline. And you can even get one from a correspondence programs. Hate to discourage you, but making the Juniors is harder than getting a bachelor's degree in NA.

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#9 Cynic
November 05 2013, 08:42AM
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Just got my prop bet down for tonight: Oiler fan suicides > Total goals scored in tonight's EDM v FLA game.

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#10 S cottV
November 05 2013, 10:08AM
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Excellent interview. Eakins may have tweaked (actually scrapped) the swarm, but in large part - the swarm wiped out what should have been a serious run at playoff contention this year. It gave up glaring scoring chances, unneccesarily exposing / demoralizing our goaltenders and created a lot of player doubt about the credibility of the new Coach. Surely - the players were thinking "this guy is an American League Coach." NHL - speed, skill, and coaching, makes it very very difficult to press and out man an attacking puck carrier with any regularity. Occasional use in certain areas, under certain conditions with the element of surprise - maybe. As the default way to defend - no way. Arrogant rookie Coach "will have to win my way" move - for sure...

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#11 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 08:00AM
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Malin Ackerman, I believe? Meow.

I haven't lost faith in Eakins yet, but I think he really needs to read this interview.

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#12 15w40
November 05 2013, 08:21AM
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Some good insight from a good coach.

As long as the Edmonton franchise is run like a tree house club where only the boys on the bus are admitted indefinitely just by virtue of being the boys on the bus, then there is a pretty good chance the results going forward will be representative of that.

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#13 Jakethesnake
November 05 2013, 07:45AM
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Even though there is nothing good about the Oilers every once in a while you see a WOMAN like that on this site and that's why I keep coming back to this site. Thanks

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#14 HardBoiledOil
November 05 2013, 07:46AM
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the problem with the Oilers is that they aren't learning anything from anyone, let alone Detroit!

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#15 Benny Botts
November 05 2013, 08:18AM
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@Gregor

Jason, I saw an article by Larry Brooks today that the Rangers are kicking tires on Hemmer and seeing what the price tag would be for Yak. Judging by each teams players, do you see the rangers and oilers being trading partners?

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#16 David S
November 05 2013, 08:31AM
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The Tidbit Tuesday babe. WHOAH!

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#17 Bloodsweatandoil
November 05 2013, 08:34AM
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No slight to Mike, but this year sucks for watching and reading about the successes of most of the other NHL teams and what it takes to be competitive. Good luck to the Oilers on this road trip, but for the first time, I will not be watching for a few games, just don't have the heart right now.

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#18 Benny Botts
November 05 2013, 09:25AM
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JJ wrote:

Are you kidding me? I'm not taking shots at the writer, I'm taking shots at the nonsense his shill in the comment board said. Get that through your head? It's guys like you with no intellect whatsoever that wreck society. If you have a problem with what I point out, then don't read it and move along. Take your own advice there buddy.

HA!! Way to take it to the extreme bud, step back from the ledge.

And thanks for the laughs

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#19 Rheal1
November 05 2013, 09:39AM
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From Bob Stauffer's twitter: Ryan Smyth practised on first line this am. From Darren Dreger's twitter: Mac T, Lowe and Messier were seen together at MSG scouting the NYR-Anaheim game.

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#20 D
November 05 2013, 09:59AM
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Now there's a man who doesn't think he's the smartest person in the room. Hope that rubs off on some of the Oilers' management someday.

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#21 DSF
November 05 2013, 10:11AM
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Matheson weighs in on the NYR-EDM trade talks:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/05/could-ales-hemsky-or-nail-yakupov-be-in-play-on-broadway/

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#22 Zack
November 05 2013, 12:24PM
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JJ wrote:

And lastly, I'll say that I have a bachelor's degree in science. So I think I know a thing or two about having intelligence, if there's ever a concern.

B's and C's get degrees champ, if you were so intelligent you'd at least post your GPA. As well, in the current education system, I don't think a basic bachelors degree tests creativity all that well but hey what do I know I'm just a U of A alumni.

Jokes aside though, that was an awesome interview, a few things to learn from here. Keep up the good work Gregor!

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#23 Hair bag
November 05 2013, 05:19PM
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JJ wrote:

And lastly, I'll say that I have a bachelor's degree in science. So I think I know a thing or two about having intelligence, if there's ever a concern.

Being educated and being intelligent are two different things - your comment shows that you obviously don't know the difference....

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#24 NsxZero
November 05 2013, 08:15AM
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Gregor,

The thought of asking veteran players of their opinion came up in my head the other day. We've brought Ference in and he's been on a Stanley cup winning team. Do you think Eakins has been asking / getting feedback from him?

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#25 Cameron
November 05 2013, 08:23AM
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In terms of winning or losing, tonight's game against Florida puts the Oil in a tough spot. If they win, the expected comments will not be jubilation, but "Florida..meh....poor team, proves nothing." But if they lose.......yikes

For me, with the playoffs out of reach, I am more interested in them giving 60 minutes of hockey on this road trip.....

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#26 rubbertrout
November 05 2013, 09:15AM
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@Bloodsweatandoil

Your avatar will haunt my dreams.

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#27 hallthetime
November 05 2013, 10:17AM
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Florida 4-3

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#28 Clarko
November 05 2013, 10:20AM
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JJ wrote:

You kidding? Gregor always asks the soft and easy questions.. Often times repeating over and over what's been asked before. I recall back in Summer he'd ask Hall about center over and over and get the same answers (expecting anything else is insanity).

Asking the kind of softballs Gregor throws is not having "outstanding" interview skills. A grade school student could do that.

It all depends on the context of the interview. It isn't always appropriate to ask the person you are interviewing "tough" questions. In this case, the point of the interviewer is to make his guest feel welcome and ask questions that will get the individual (in this case Babcock) to give as much information as possible.

I think you are confusing an interview with an interrogation...

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#29 David S
November 05 2013, 10:21AM
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@ JJ

If you were half as smart as you're trying to make us believe, you'd know that

boysonthebus.com

lowetide.ca

mc79hockey.com

are where the fancystats/"Critical thinkers" hang out. You'd also know the difference between light-hearted fan sites that don't take themselves too serously and the three examples mentioned above.

So either you're not that bright or just a DB.

BTW - Gregor is well known to be the best sports interviewer in Edmonton. It's not apple polishing or butt kissing, it's a fact. If you don't like his style that's cool but whining about it is rather...wait for it...unintelligent.

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#30 Zarny
November 05 2013, 10:39AM
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S cottV wrote:

Excellent interview. Eakins may have tweaked (actually scrapped) the swarm, but in large part - the swarm wiped out what should have been a serious run at playoff contention this year. It gave up glaring scoring chances, unneccesarily exposing / demoralizing our goaltenders and created a lot of player doubt about the credibility of the new Coach. Surely - the players were thinking "this guy is an American League Coach." NHL - speed, skill, and coaching, makes it very very difficult to press and out man an attacking puck carrier with any regularity. Occasional use in certain areas, under certain conditions with the element of surprise - maybe. As the default way to defend - no way. Arrogant rookie Coach "will have to win my way" move - for sure...

That's ridiculous.

Starting the season with the top 2 C injured and having a complete lack of depth is what wiped out chance are playoffs this year.

Not utilizing the "swarm" defense scheme.

I think it's a guarantee the players were not thinking "this guy is an American League Coach".

Pit wasn't thinking that when Bylsma was hired.

Ott did fine under both Clouston and McLean...both were "AHL" coaches with no NHL experience.

Like Babcock says he is only as good as his players. The players Eakins has lack a top pairing D, have questions in G and when Pit rolled through town with Crosby and Malkin Eakins had to play Mark Arcobello for 21 minutes.

Now I like how Arcobello filled in but he is not a #2 C in the NHL or capable of playing Crosby or Malkin for 21 min a night.

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#31 The Real Gongshow
November 05 2013, 10:43AM
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I wonder if Babcock would play his top goal scorer out of position thus helping him attain "Iceberg" status.

I wonder if Babcock would constantly start the 4th line after a "lil bit of sustained offensive pressure" the shift before.

I wonder if Babcock would play a 5'7" hobbit (@sporkabella) on the wing. He might be good at face offs but since he was moved from center has he done anything noticeable, besides constantly losing puck battles.

I wonder if Babcock would sit in the stands at practice and watch a couple of (proven) loser asst. coaches run practice.

The wonders don't stop here... I'm just tired of pointing out the obvious!

On second thought... I don't wonder !

I barely even care anymore.

The problems with this team are much greater than ever imagined. Well played KLowe. Did u wanna make Burkie look like he was right all along, or is it something you stumbled upon.

Mr. Lowe. You are in fact Loser #1. I think that you indeed know NOTHING about winning and the proof is in the pudding. It's your mess but we are stuck with it.

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#32 Reg Dunlop
November 05 2013, 11:05AM
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Zarny wrote:

Good interview. Babcock is always insightful. There were a few points I thought really applied to the Oilers.

- Babcock is bang on about NHL vs AHL coaches etc. There are only hockey coaches and Eakins has proven he can teach players the habits they need to win. It simply doesn't happen overnight

- Regarding accountability it starts in the dressing room and ultimately it's about players holding each other accountable.

- Regarding his conversations with Alfredsson and Datsyuk that kind of knowledge and experience is exactly what is lacking in Edm other than Ference.

It's great that Lowe and MacT know about winning which they do. They learned by losing to LA as heavy favorites. They learned by losing to NYI despite being a more talented team.

However, they aren't in the dressing room everyday. They aren't in a position to pass on that knowledge. They aren't in a position to hold players accountable.

For many reasons, the complete lack of depth and experience on the Oilers is killing them.

Just how did MacT learn anything when the oil lost to the Kings in '82? He was a Bruin at the time. How did he learn anything when the Isles won in '83? He was still 2 years away from being an Oiler.

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#33 oilerjed
November 05 2013, 11:16AM
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The Real Gongshow wrote:

I wonder if Babcock would play his top goal scorer out of position thus helping him attain "Iceberg" status.

I wonder if Babcock would constantly start the 4th line after a "lil bit of sustained offensive pressure" the shift before.

I wonder if Babcock would play a 5'7" hobbit (@sporkabella) on the wing. He might be good at face offs but since he was moved from center has he done anything noticeable, besides constantly losing puck battles.

I wonder if Babcock would sit in the stands at practice and watch a couple of (proven) loser asst. coaches run practice.

The wonders don't stop here... I'm just tired of pointing out the obvious!

On second thought... I don't wonder !

I barely even care anymore.

The problems with this team are much greater than ever imagined. Well played KLowe. Did u wanna make Burkie look like he was right all along, or is it something you stumbled upon.

Mr. Lowe. You are in fact Loser #1. I think that you indeed know NOTHING about winning and the proof is in the pudding. It's your mess but we are stuck with it.

@ The Real Gong Show

"I wonder if Babcock would sit in the stands at practice and watch a couple of (proven) loser asst. coaches run practice. "

Funny thing is that Babcock was shown doing that exact thing on HNIC this last Saturday.

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#34 JJ
November 05 2013, 09:16PM
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Hair bag wrote:

Being educated and being intelligent are two different things - your comment shows that you obviously don't know the difference....

Jesus you people really can't take some good fun. Also, good luck trying to have academic success with your head. I think that'll prove my point you must have one to have the other.

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#35 Bloodsweatandoil
November 05 2013, 09:35AM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Your avatar will haunt my dreams.

Probably time to change it to something a little more positive lol. A couple years ago, a flood wiped out our basement, the flood wiped out all my hockey collections, cards, rookie cards, posters programs etc that I have had since the 80's, I had every Oiler rookie card with some duplicates, signed programs from all the Oiler greats. I wish I had some of those memorabilia left to use as avatars!

Biggest lesson to all you fans, if you own priceless collections etc, it does you no good for insurance purposes if you just leave them in boxes and never get it appraised! That experience will haunt me until I die!

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#36 ubermiguel
November 05 2013, 09:40AM
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Bloodsweatandoil wrote:

Probably time to change it to something a little more positive lol. A couple years ago, a flood wiped out our basement, the flood wiped out all my hockey collections, cards, rookie cards, posters programs etc that I have had since the 80's, I had every Oiler rookie card with some duplicates, signed programs from all the Oiler greats. I wish I had some of those memorabilia left to use as avatars!

Biggest lesson to all you fans, if you own priceless collections etc, it does you no good for insurance purposes if you just leave them in boxes and never get it appraised! That experience will haunt me until I die!

Agreed: get it all appraised, photographed and documented. But also, plastic bins (e.g.: Rubbermaid) are the best for storing collections in basements. They're nearly water-tight and rodent proof.

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#37 madjam
November 05 2013, 09:54AM
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Wonder how many will go to the beach party after the game ?

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#38 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 10:08AM
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@JJ

*shakes with mirth*

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#39 pkam
November 05 2013, 10:17AM
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S cottV wrote:

Excellent interview. Eakins may have tweaked (actually scrapped) the swarm, but in large part - the swarm wiped out what should have been a serious run at playoff contention this year. It gave up glaring scoring chances, unneccesarily exposing / demoralizing our goaltenders and created a lot of player doubt about the credibility of the new Coach. Surely - the players were thinking "this guy is an American League Coach." NHL - speed, skill, and coaching, makes it very very difficult to press and out man an attacking puck carrier with any regularity. Occasional use in certain areas, under certain conditions with the element of surprise - maybe. As the default way to defend - no way. Arrogant rookie Coach "will have to win my way" move - for sure...

Eakins explained his Swarm system in a presser after a practice about a week ago.

Quoted from what I remember. "Basically we played a standard D zone coverage. But when one of our player pinch the opponent puck carrier along the board, a 2nd player will jump right in to take the puck away.".

To me, it is his solution to our inability to win the 1 on 1 puck battle along the board 80% of the time.

If you have a better solution to deal with the problem, bring it here before criticizing his solution.

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#41 pkam
November 05 2013, 10:22AM
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@Jason Gregor

"The Rangers can't score"

But neither can we. I don't think 2 goals in the last 4 games is any better than the NYR.

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#42 Zarny
November 05 2013, 10:27AM
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Good interview. Babcock is always insightful. There were a few points I thought really applied to the Oilers.

- Babcock is bang on about NHL vs AHL coaches etc. There are only hockey coaches and Eakins has proven he can teach players the habits they need to win. It simply doesn't happen overnight

- Regarding accountability it starts in the dressing room and ultimately it's about players holding each other accountable.

- Regarding his conversations with Alfredsson and Datsyuk that kind of knowledge and experience is exactly what is lacking in Edm other than Ference.

It's great that Lowe and MacT know about winning which they do. They learned by losing to LA as heavy favorites. They learned by losing to NYI despite being a more talented team.

However, they aren't in the dressing room everyday. They aren't in a position to pass on that knowledge. They aren't in a position to hold players accountable.

For many reasons, the complete lack of depth and experience on the Oilers is killing them.

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#43 Taylor Gang
November 05 2013, 10:27AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

If the deal was just for Hemsky, the Oilers would need to take some salary in return. If the deal was Hemsky and Yak, then you'd be looking a bigger deal. If the Oilers dealt Yak they'd be looking at one of McDonagh or Girardi coming back. I'd lean to McDonagh due to age and that he has a contract until 2019.

The Rangers can't score, and with Rick Nash out indefinitely they might get antsy and make a move.

Would McDonagh and Boyle for Hemsky and Yak make sense. Both Hemsky and Boyle or pending UFAs, although Boyle has a much smaller cap. Oilers likely would have to eat some of Hemsky's salary.

I'd consider that deal, because McDonagh is a hell of a player.

I'd do that deal in a heartbeat, contingent on Boyle resigning.

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#44 Dave
November 05 2013, 10:27AM
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Yes, Gregor's interviews are excellent especially with the coaches.

If I may make small suggestion. Gregor should have a jar in his studio and every time he says Hell or "Hell of a" , he should put a buck in the jar for Stollery.

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#45 David S
November 05 2013, 10:37AM
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Dave wrote:

Yes, Gregor's interviews are excellent especially with the coaches.

If I may make small suggestion. Gregor should have a jar in his studio and every time he says Hell or "Hell of a" , he should put a buck in the jar for Stollery.

That's one helluva an idea!

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#46 15w40
November 05 2013, 10:39AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

If the deal was just for Hemsky, the Oilers would need to take some salary in return. If the deal was Hemsky and Yak, then you'd be looking a bigger deal. If the Oilers dealt Yak they'd be looking at one of McDonagh or Girardi coming back. I'd lean to McDonagh due to age and that he has a contract until 2019.

The Rangers can't score, and with Rick Nash out indefinitely they might get antsy and make a move.

Would McDonagh and Boyle for Hemsky and Yak make sense. Both Hemsky and Boyle or pending UFAs, although Boyle has a much smaller cap. Oilers likely would have to eat some of Hemsky's salary.

I'd consider that deal, because McDonagh is a hell of a player.

So in addition to McDonagh & Boyle for Hemsky & YAK, how about swapping Arcobello for either Asham or Dorsett and also Fedun & Marincin for Dylan McIlrath.

(I don't really know what would be appropriate for McIlrath as he definitely has the mean streak but I don't know if he can skate in the NHL)

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#47 VK63
November 05 2013, 10:40AM
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Im a big fan of Bill Peters but somehow he didn't have enough cache' for the Oilers brass. And likely received zero consideration.

Too bad.

Hes a beauty.

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#48 vetinari
November 05 2013, 10:44AM
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Babcock is a first class, quality NHL coach and obviously approaches the game with a drive to get better and to learn as much from his players as they learn from him.

As an aside, Babcock also contributes to a lot of charities around Saskatoon and his time and donations are always appreciated.

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#49 Gordie Wayne
November 05 2013, 10:48AM
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@Jason Gregor

Off topic a bit, but I wanted to post here to get your thoughts. You have consistently mentioned that that mix of the team is off and how it's lacking (and I completely agree).

Basically, it has been mentioned over and over and over again that the following is needed:

1. First-pairing D-man

2. Top nine gritty/banging winger

3. Big 2nd line C

4. Veteran presence who brings some leadership and outstanding work ethic

5. Goaltending (optional if you think Dubnyk is the answer playing in front of an improved defense) - although I would like to see improved organizational depth in this area.

What I would like to see is an article where Gregor, Brownlee, Willis, Lowetide and Wanye all come up with potential solutions to these problems (would be nice to see some realistic trades documented outside of the regular garbage+ for Shea Weber deals). Essentially you would play GM and provide potential trades/signings that would address these issues before the start of next season.

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#50 David S
November 05 2013, 10:49AM
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Zarny wrote:

That's ridiculous.

Starting the season with the top 2 C injured and having a complete lack of depth is what wiped out chance are playoffs this year.

Not utilizing the "swarm" defense scheme.

I think it's a guarantee the players were not thinking "this guy is an American League Coach".

Pit wasn't thinking that when Bylsma was hired.

Ott did fine under both Clouston and McLean...both were "AHL" coaches with no NHL experience.

Like Babcock says he is only as good as his players. The players Eakins has lack a top pairing D, have questions in G and when Pit rolled through town with Crosby and Malkin Eakins had to play Mark Arcobello for 21 minutes.

Now I like how Arcobello filled in but he is not a #2 C in the NHL or capable of playing Crosby or Malkin for 21 min a night.

^ THIS.

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