Archive for Babcock

Izzo best coach in Michigan History? Try John MacInnes…

Posted in General Hockey, General Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/01/2010 by Ben Gilbert

In the interest of full disclosure on this one, I am a proud Michigan Wolverine so everything that follows in this post should probably be taken with that in mind…but I digress.

Jemele Hill recently posted this very, shall we say, provoking piece on ESPN.

In this piece she claims that Tom Izzo is the greatest sports coach in Michigan history.  Without dredging up too many stats and other general figures, I thought I would offer a brief response to Jemele.

Michigan is a hockey state.  In my opinion four coaches that have to be considered some of the best to ever teach and lead teams in this state are the Wings own Scotty Bowman, Michigan’s Red Berenson, MSU’s Ron Mason and Tech’s John MacInnes.

Allegiances aside, therefore taking out Berenson who I love and Mason who I dislike but have the utmost respect for, I think it can be argued that John MacInnes is the greatest Michigan coach there ever was.

As Wings fans it is certainly fair to argue for Scotty.  No Scotty means No Hockeytown.  No Hockeytown means no established culture of winning.  This means no cups, no 19 straight playoff runs etc.  I understand all this, but I want to counter Jemele on her level.  We’ll exclude Bowman because he was already “Great” before he got to Detroit.

John MacInnes played in goal for U of M during his college career and then in the 1950’s took the one and only coaching job he would ever have, Head hockey coach at Michigan Tech.

For those of you unaware, Michigan Tech is located in Houghton, MI.  That’s in the Keewenaw area of the Upper Peninsula, approximately 10 hours from the metro Detroit region.  It’s isolated, and there is not much of a recruiting base up there.  Yet, despite the remoteness and lack of resources on both an institutional and local level, MacInnes coached MTU to 3 NCAA titles from 1956-1982.  He took the team to countless other WCHA championships and NCAA tournament appearances. Given the location of the school and the academic quality expected from the players (top-notch engineering students) it can be argued that no coach in Michigan history did more with less.  Sure Tony Esposito came through the school, but honestly, almost no other NHL talent came through during MacInnes’ run.  He took more or less no-name recruits and turned a school with a student body of roughly 5,000-6,000 students into a national powerhouse year-in and year-out.

To put in perspective what a great coach John MacInnes was, USA hockey offered him the coaching job for the 1980 olympic team.  He turned them down because of his health.  It was only after MacInnes’ withdrew his name from consideration that the committee went with Herb Brooks. (And we all know the outcome of that decision…)

In summary, I can respect Tom Izzo for the great coach that he is.  He’s easily top 5 in the state, maybe even top 3 once all is said and done.  However, Michigan is a hockey state.  In regards to a “Michigan man” who lived in Michigan, played for Michigan, did more with less and preached a true all-in team style, there is no greater coach in the history of our fine state than John MacInnes.

Feel free to comment/dispute/offer your ideas.  Also, I know this post has been a relatively big aside from all things Wings, but where do you think Scotty and/or even Uncle Mike should rank when considering “Michigan” coaches?


Preview: Atlanta Thrashers

Posted in General Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/25/2009 by Ben Gilbert

Atlanta Thrashers vs. Detroit Red Wings

November 25th 7:30pm, Joe Louis Arena

Game Notes:

  1. Khan is reporting that Patrick Eaves will be out of the lineup tonight. This is an interesting decision since Eaves has the best +/- of any Red Wing forward and is 2nd on the team to Lidstrom.  Perhaps Babcock thinks that May might have to get in a scrap tonight, otherwise I would have figured Eaves stays in.
  2. On the flip-side of Eaves watching from the press-box for a night is Kirk Maltby being in the lineup and Drew Miller being bumped up to the 3rd line.  Tonight we’ll get to see what a Draper/Helm/Miller line can do.  I’m ok with this and I think rewarding Drew Miller for being one of the only Red Wings to fully show up on monday is a good thing.  It lets the whole team know where things stand and that the players that work hard are going to get the better playing time.  Congrats to Drew, maybe he’ll even work up to a scoring line if he keeps this up.  Can we all smile a bit and say once again, what a great pick up by Ken Holland as usual…
  3. The Thrashers have the 2nd best Power-Play in the East.  The Wings have the 3rd worst Penalty-Kill in the league.  Special teams will be key.  C’mon Brad McCrimmon, earn your freaking paycheck.
  4. Ilya Kovalchuk is ridiculously good.  I wish the Red Wings could have him on the wing of Datsyuk.  Seriously though.  14 games and 21Pts is mighty nice.  He’s also +1, so he’s not a total defensive liability.
  5. Rumors continue to swirl about Atlanta being a team that could be re-located relatively soon if things do not turn around there.  Considering their play this season, if they continue to have strong outings and make a run at the playoffs, my guess is these rumors die down.  I don’t think Atlanta should necessarily have a team, but now that they are there, I think the Thrashers can have success in Georgia.  Even if the entire state probably has 2 snow-plows.
  6. Jimmy Howard is back in net.  Almost time-share status with Ozzie at this point.  It’s good experience for the kid though, and for the most part right now, he’s earning the time as much as Ozzie is.

Bold and Stupid Predictions:

  1. The Red Wings power-play gets back on track and they score 2 on the man-advantage.
  2. Ilya Kovalchuk scores a hat-trick.  Yes.  He hasn’t scored in 2 games and he is definitely due.
  3. Darren Helm is finally able to have a big night with a goal and an assist.  2 points, count it.
  4. As you can tell, it will be an offensive battle-royale.  Which probably means it will be a 1-0 slug-fest.
  5. Final Score Red Wings Win 6-4.

Asininity at Its Finest

Posted in General Hockey, General Thoughts with tags , , , , , on 11/19/2009 by Ben Gilbert

(If you don’t know what Asininity is, it’s the noun form of asinine)

What to say…

There are countless recaps of the atrocity that occurred last night.  Here are a few: NOHS, A2Y, TPL, and TTD.

I’m not sure what there is left to write about what occurred to the Red Wings last night.  You, me, Gary Bettman, Toronto officials, Stars fans, even LaRue himself knows that what transpired last night with 13:36 left in the 3rd period was a goal.  It was.  Brad May put in his first as a Red Wing.

Congratulations Brad, good reaction time on the backhand and it snuck in for you somehow.  It’s a 2-2 game, and the Wings are on the way to earning some points in the standings.

Wait?  No?  What’s that? We intended to blow the play dead before the goal was scored…

There comes a time when asininity, complete and sheer stupidity, is too much to take.  I don’t demand that the NHL refereeing be perfect.  I understand that penalty calls are subjective, I understand that Refs can’t see everything all the time.  Yet, I cannot bring myself to “accept” or “understand” when gross incompetence and idiocy is promulgated by the NHL time after time.

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. At 13:39 of the 3rd period Brad May backhands a shot towards the net.
  2. By the time the clock reads 13:38, the puck is in the net and the whistle has not blown.
  3. The whistle is blown as the clock reads 13:36.  That is a full 2 seconds after the puck was in the net.

That’s right.  2 seconds after the shot went in, the whistle went.  Also note, that the time difference from the shot to the whole puck being across the goal line is less than 1 second.  How could this goal not stand?  You asked, so Mr. LaRue answers:

“There is no goal on the play.  The whistle had blown to kill the play.”


The whistle had blown to kill the play…2 whole seconds after the puck was in the net.  LaRue doesn’t even mention intent to blow the whistle here.  What is he basing this decision on?  It can only be fabricated lies and the pride of a man more worried about himself than the integrity of the game he officiates.

Did you blow the play dead as Brad May was taking a shot?  You know, that thing players do when they are trying to score in that game we sometimes call Ice Hockey.  Or did you blow the play dead as the puck was traveling towards the net because you thought: “Oh whatever, I think this play isn’t going anywhere.  Brad May can’t shoot well anyways.”  Or did you blow the play dead when the puck was across the goal line…and then somehow still decide that this was not a goal?

The facts are above for you to read.  This is Negligence and Incompetence.  I’m still furious.  The game should have been 2-2, this would have changed the complexion of play, and thus the whole outcome of the game.

What I can’t stand is the way the NHL allows it’s referee’s to stand behind obviously incorrect calls.  There is no subjectivity involved here.  Watch the replay above for yourself.  This is absurdity at its finest.

Babcock said it very succinctly after the game:

“The guy never meant to blow the whistle. It was a shot, it was in on the shot,” Babcock said. “It’s as dumb as I’ve ever seen.”

Asininity.  (I just wanted to write that word again)