Babcock Named Jack Adams Award Finalist

Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock was named a 2014 finalist for the Jack Adams Award on Tuesday.

The award, presented to the coach who “contributed the most to his team’s success,” is voted on by members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association.

Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche were the other finalists.

Babcock led the Red Wings to their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance and a 39-28-15 record despite the long-term losses of forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. The team faced a franchise-record 421 man-games lost due to injury and was forced to use 38 different players in the regular season. Nine Red Wings players made their NHL debut in filling in on the depleted lineup.

It is the second time Babcock has been named a finalist for the award after placing third in voting in 2008.

Cooper’s Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division with a 46-27-9 record in his first full season behind the bench. Their youth-heavy roster featured eight rookies who played in forty games or more and spent much of the year without star forward and eventual captain Steven Stamkos.

Former Detroit nemisis Roy helped the Avalanche to a 52-22-8 record in his first year behind the bench. Colorado became the first team since the NHL absorbed four WHA teams in 1979 to go from a finish in the bottom three to the top three in the league in a single season.

The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards show on Tuesday, June 24.

Three Red Wings’ coaches have won the Jack Adams Award: Scotty Bowman (1996), Jacques Demers (1987, 1988), and Bobby Kromm (1978).

Postgame: Red Wings @ Maple Leafs – 3/29

Well, with the late penalty the Red Wings certainly didn’t make it easy on themselves, but for once a one-goal lead heading into the third period didn’t herald a collapse as they actually padded the lead for a 4-2 win in Toronto.

With his first career hat trick, Darren Helm is easily the game’s number one star and top story. I joke a lot about how he can’t finish (in fact, he was stoned on a breakaway just seconds before scoring his first goal of the night off a steal and feed from Joakim Andersson) but his backhand was good tonight, accounting for his first and third goals. The second was a right-place-right-time deflection of a Jakub Kindl shot that actually broke his stick.

Second star of the night I’m going with Jimmy Howard. He made some fantastic stops to keep his team both in it and out front, depending on the time. I know he’s played a ton lately but with how crucial points are right now and how well he’s been playing, I think you have to give him the nod again tomorrow.

Third star normally would be Gustav Nyquist with a goal in seven of the last eight games. Instead I’m looking at Brendan Smith. How different is this game if he doesn’t clear the puck off the goal line on that goofy-ass play when Nyquist sent it back to Howard and it slipped through him? Three or four months ago, Smith watches that go in because he’s not paying enough attention to make the jump in that he did tonight.

Huge two points, as the Wings retain the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed. Columbus beat Carolina in OT and Washington fell to Boston so the four-way tie has become a two-way tie and the Blue Jackets have the tiebreaker against Detroit.

Not to be forgotten (though I’ve been harping about it on Twitter so that’s not likely), the win gives Mike Babcock 410 regular season wins as head coach of Detroit, tying him for second-most overall with Scotty Bowman, just three back of Jack Adams for first.

Assorted Monday Notes

I don’t usually do daily notebook-style posts but there were a few items of note worth mentioning today.

Roster Moves
After demoting center Landon Ferraro to the Grand Rapids Griffins overnight last night, the Red Wings called up forward Mitch Callahan today. It’s still unclear whether or not Callahan will play on Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. If he does, he’ll be the first Red Wing to wear number 57.

The Wings also assigned defenseman Max Nicastro to the Griffins from the Toledo Walleye and the Griffins signed Detroit prospect MarcMcNulty to a try-out contract.

Nyquist Named First Star
The NHL named Detroit forward Gustav Nyquist its first star of the week. Nyquist scored six goals and added an assist as the Red Wings went 3-0-1 over the week.

Babcock Approaching Record
Detroit head coach Mike Babcock is approaching a record and I’m not seeing anyone making note of it. Babcock currently sits at 409 regular-season wins as head coach of the Red Wings, only one behind Scotty Bowman‘s 410 for second-most in franchise history. Jack Adams sits at first overall with 413. With five more wins, Babcock becomes the all-time winningest coach in Detroit history.

Former Red Wings Chelios, Shanahan Named to Hockey Hall of Fame

Two longtime Red Wings were named as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2013 class on Tuesday afternoon.

Defenseman Chris Chelios and forward Brendan Shanahan are joined by Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney and Fred Shero in receiving the honor. Chelios and Niedermayer were selected in their first year of eligibility.

Chelios and Shanahan were both part of Detroit’s 2002 Stanley Cup Championship team that included Hall of Fame players Igor Larionov, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Steve Yzerman, and was coached by the legendary Scotty Bowman in his final season behind the bench.

At 1,651 career games, Chelios sits fifth in all-time regular season games played. His 26-season NHL career saw him play for the Montreal Canadians, Chicago Black Hawks, Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers. Now a part of the Detroit front office, he played in nine NHL All-Star Games and represented the United States in three Olympic Games, two Canada Cups and the inaugural World Cup of Hockey. He won a silver medal in the 2002 Olympics and won the Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1986 and Detroit in 2002 and 2008.

Shanahan won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit – 1997, 1998 and 2002. He played 1524 games across 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Red Wings and New York Rangers. He was a two-time Olympian for Team Canada – claiming the gold medal with them in 2002 – and played in the Canada Cup twice and the World Cup once. Now the NHL’s Director of Player Safety, he scored 656 goals and 698 assists throughout his career.

This year’s class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on November 11, 2013.

Four of “Russian Five” to Appear at Alumni Showdown

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday that four members of the famous “Russian Five” will appear at the Alumni Showdown on December 31 at Comerica Park.

The Russian Five was the first group of five Soviet-trained players to play as a unit in the NHL.  Assembeled by coach Scotty Bowman – who will be behind the bench at the Alumni Showdown – in 1995, the line consisted of Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov and Viacheslav Fetisov.

All but Kozlov will be at the outdoor game against alumni from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In addition to the four Russians, the Maple Leafs announced six new players who will appear: Gary Leeman, Russ Courtnall, Bill Derlago, Bob McGill, Vincent Damphousse, and Dave Ellett.

Confirmed participants for the two teams are now as follows, with more to be announced:

Detroit
Chris Chelios, Dino Ciccarelli, Alex Delvecchio, Kris Draper, Sergei Fedorov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Mark Howe, Joe Kocur, Vladimir Konstantinov, Igor Larionov, Ted Lindsay, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Larry Murphy, John Ogrodnick, Chris Osgood, Mickey Redmond, Luc Robitaille, Mike Vernon

Toronto
Dave Andreychuk, Johnny Bower, Wendel Clark, Russ Courtnall, Vincent Damphousse, Bill Derlago, Dave Ellett, Ron Ellis, Doug Gilmour, Curtis Joseph, Gary Leeman, Kevin Maguire, Bob McGill, Jim McKenny, Mike Palmateer, Felix Potvin, Darryl Sittler, Darcy Tucker, Rick Vaive

Operation: Bobblehead – The Larry Aurie Write-In Campaign

The Red Wings announced today that, following the success of last year’s fan voting to determine what players would be made available as bobbleheads during the 2011-12 season, they would do it again for the coming year.  The twist this time around is that voting will be for Red Wings alumni, with an impressive list of players on the ballot.

From the press release…

The first bobblehead to be distributed as part of this special Edition will depict former captain and three-time Stanley Cup champion Steve Yzerman. As part of Operation: Bobblehead – Alumni Edition, the remaining five former Wings to be featured in the promotion will be determined by an impending multi-week online voting campaign, which will be conducted through a formspring page accessible via DetroitRedWings.com.

Hockeytown Heroes appearing on the ballot for Operation: Bobblehead – Alumni Edition include Sid Abel, Alex Delvecchio, Terry Sawchuck, Ted Lindsay, Darren McCarty, Kris Draper, Joe Kocur, Kirk Maltby, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mark Howe, Igor Larionov, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull, Chris Osgood, Scotty Bowman and more. Write-in candidates are also encouraged. Voting will begin on Tuesday, July 31, at one minute past noon and will be conducted on a week-by-week basis, closing at noon every Sunday. The following day (Tuesday) at 12:01 p.m., voting will begin anew with the winning player being removed form the ballot. No votes cast the previous week will count towards each player’s total. There is no limit on how many votes fans are able to cast each week. Twitter users, meanwhile, are invited to champion their favorite player’s bobblehead by using the hashtag #HockeytownHero throughout the duration of this campaign.

As seemingly always, when it comes to the Detroit organization acknowleding the team’s history, an important name is missing from that list: Larry Aurie.

I’ve ranted about lack of recognition for Aurie before.  It’s a shame that his number isn’t in the rafters and it’s even more of a shame that the Red Wings organization won’t explain why.

That said, the Wings control those rafters and they can do what they want there.  If Operation: Bobblehead really is about letting the fans decide, then this is the opportunity to get the team’s first real star honored.

The Wings say they encourage write-in votes.  When voting opens on Tuesday, cast yours for Larry Aurie.  It won’t get his #6 to the rafters where it belongs but it’s a start.

Update, 7/31: Voting is now open on the Red Wings’ web site.

Partial Rosters Announced for Red Wings – Maple Leafs Alumni Game

In a Comerica Park press conference on Wednesday, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs announced a handful of the players who will participate in the Alumni Showdown in December.

The Alumni Showdown will consist of two games to accommodate all of the players interested in appearing.  No details on how the games will be broken down are known at this time.

The confirmed Red Wings’ alumni are as follows:

Chris Osgood
Mike Vernon
Dino Ciccarelli
Alex Delvecchio
Ted Lindsay
Joe Kocur
Kirk Maltby
Kris Draper
Darren McCarty
Mickey Redmond
John Ogrodnick
Luc Robitaille
Larry Murphy
Mark Howe

The team will be coached by Scotty Bowman.

Among the confirmed Maple Leafs players are former Red Wings Curtis Joseph and Wendel Clark, Felix Potvin, Darcy Tucker, Doug Gilmour and Dave Andreychuk.

Bowman to the Blackhawks?

Kukla and Bill say that the Chicago Blackhawks will annouce Scotty Bowman as Senior Advisor, Hockey Operations, at a press conference this afternoon.

After months of rumors that he was headed to Toronto, another O6 rival picks him up.

I was under the impression that he was under contract with the Wings so I don’t know what happened with that but Chicago makes the most sense for Bowman as his son Stan is with the organization.

Not entirely happy about this, of course. Very susprised so I don’t have much more reaction.

Wings Front Office Headed to Toronto

… or so the Canadian media might have you believe.

TSN has a bit today about what top executives might be headed to Toronto. Of the thirteen names mentioned, four are currently in the Detroit organization.

The selection of the man to be tasked with rebuilding the Maple Leafs is big news up there and big names are being thrown around. The thirteen names?

Ken Holland, Jim Rutherford, Brian Burke, Scotty Bowman, John Muckler, Doug Armstrong, Neil Smith, Craig Patrick, Rick Dudley, Colin Campbell, Jim Nill, Steve Yzerman and Glenn Healy.

Holland, Bowman, Nill and Yzerman are all with the Wings in various capacities.

Why would any of them leave the Detroit organization? The answer seems to come down to “Because it’s Toronto.”

I say that answer applies to a different question. The question of why they wouldn’t want the job.

Notes on “Masterminds of Hockeytown”

The Detroit News has a great piece in today’s paper called Masterminds of Hockeytown. The News got to sit down with Mike Ilitch, Jimmy Devellano, Ken Holland, Jim Nill and Scotty Bowman and talk about the past 25 years of the Red Wings and a little bit of the future.

The full transcript of the session is also available. A lot of the history has been told before but there are a few notes about the future that find important.

News: Do you have any assurances from the league, if there’s expansion, which they’re talking about again, about getting back to the Eastern Conference?

Ilitch: Well, (NHL commissioner Gary) Bettman has told Jimmy and I on two or three occasions that we’re next.

Devellano: I’d just like to add one more thing about expansion. There’s little doubt that Vegas is coming in (as an expansion franchise) — it’s about four years from now. And I truly believe Gary Bettman will move us East at that time.

Ilitch: Oh, I’m not selling anything, that’s for sure.

The first confirms what’s been rumored for years. The Wings belong in the Eastern Conference and they’ll get there someday.

The second terrifies me. I still contend that NHL talent is diluted. Expansion will not help this league.

The third puts to rest a rumor that apparently started during a Tigers broadcast this summer.