The Red Wings had just skated through an emotional overtime loss to the Predators on Tuesday, a fourth consecutive defeat — albeit one in overtime that produced an all important point in the tight Western Conference.

Mike Babcock said he was pleased with many things the Red Wings did.

He might have reacted differently in his previous seven seasons with the Red Wings. The famously intense Babcock might have furrowed his brow and appeared ready to pounce.

The coach is the same. But his emphasis has changed, amid his toughest season in the NHL. Expectations remain high, but the change in talent was considerable for the hard-charging 49-year-old.

"I thought we did a lot of good things," Babcock asserted. "I thought we really battled our way back. I thought we had an excellent penalty kill.

"We're not getting enough points, and if you want to be in the playoffs, you have to get points on a nightly basis. We had a real courageous effort from some guys and some other guys obviously were not as good."

It was typical of Babcock this season. He accentuates the positive, provides a candid assessment of the team and a personal challenge to some players, while grappling with a condensed, abbreviated schedule.

Whether drilling the team or persuading the denizens of Hockeytown their concerns are shared, Babcock realizes in addition to uncompromising toughness and high standards, his job requires some nurturing, too.

It is not as though hard-boiled has become soft. It is just that in a less certain situation, support and explanation are more necessary.

"I think it's important every day to show them what we're doing well and what we've got to get to," Babcock said in a recent interview. "We're on a journey, here. No question about it.

"I'm not trying to tell you that we've got all the people slotted right or we're playing with the best people. We don't know. We're just as we go, here.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130221/SPORTS0103/302210342#ixzz2LYTz2AXU