If you are looking for some cheap entertainment as you await Wednesday's Game 7 between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings, look no further. I was sure I was watching a political spin doctor in action as I watched Detroit's head coach Mike Babcock in his postgame presser after his team's 4-3 Game 6 loss to Chicago on Monday night.
You can find the link to the presser here.
Warning: Sarcasm levels are near record highs in this one.
When asked if you had an explanation as to why your team had allowed 20 goals collectively in the third period throughout the playoffs, your response was, "No." That was it, a one-word answer and then you take off on a tangent asking the reporter if he wants you to comment on tonight's game or all the other games too while you're is at the podium. Then you listed all the good things that your team did tonight and then mentioned that "We can't hit the guy in the leg and give up the penalty shot" (see No. 3).
4. "We did a ton of good things tonight; made some young mistakes in the third period..."
Now, let's dissect this one a bit because the double-speak here would make John McCain proud. If "a ton" refers to the 12 giveaways to Chicago's three, then I'm with you, Mike. If you are referring to the too many men on the ice call in the second, that's good, too, Mike, considering you had eight men on the ice in Game 5 that the refs conveniently missed. But that was the second period, not the third, so I digress.
Now, back to these "young mistakes" in the third. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg both had penalties assessed to them in the third. Is that what you're talking about, Mike? But those two aren't young players, are they? Zetterberg has been with you for 10 years and Datsyuk for 11.
Your goaltender, Jimmy Howard, has been your bread and butter for four years now, and he is a Vezina Trophy candidate. You cannot be referring to him as some inexperienced kid who just left mom and dad's house and still doesn't know how to do his own laundry yet. So where are these young mistakes, Mike?
Just as a final stat to throw out there and we'll move on to No. 3: Of the 28 men on your roster, 22 of them are 25 years old or older and nine of those 28 are over the age of 30. You must have a diaper-changing station in the corner of the locker room for intermission.
3. "The worst call of the night was Datsyuk; I thought that was awful."
This was your answer in response to the penalty shot that was given to Michael Frolik after Carlo Colaiacovo interfered with him on a breakaway...in the third period, Mike. Oh, and by the way, Carlo is 30 years old. (Dang these kids grow up so fast!)
It was interesting how you stumbled through, not wanting to address the penalty shot, mumbling, "How do I win? It doesn't matter what I say." Yet you had me rolling with this, Mike, because (see No. 1) you specifically stated, in response to the very first question you were asked at the podium, "We can't hit the guy in the leg and give up the penalty shot." Aren't you saying that it was a good call there?
Oh, and by the way, Mike, your buds at Hockey Night in Canada felt that call had all the components necessary for the penalty shot—it was textbook. You may want to take a look at that clip when you get the chance.
2. "They got what we gave 'em."
This was in response to how you were feeling going into a Game 7 scenario, backs against the wall, etc. You prefaced this comment with, "It's not like they came in here and squashed us."
It's the playoffs, Mike, you don't need to squash a team; you just need to end the night with a W. Also, Mike, isn't that the nature of sports, taking advantage of other people's mistakes and capitalizing on them? Isn't the goal to try and not make mistakes? Do you teach your guys to not take advantage of mistakes that opposing teams make?
So, correct me if I'm wrong, Mike, but isn't the nature of winning the ongoing effort to make as few mistakes as possible? And, since Chicago won 4-3, doesn't that mean they made fewer mistakes than you did?
1. "I love Game 7s. I'm excited about it. We got a chance to push them out of the playoffs. Should be a lot of fun."
This was the tail end of your comment that began with No. 2 above. Well, Mike, I can tell you that Chicago is very excited about a Game 7, too, because, well, it is on their home ice and they play very well at home.
Not to mention, after Game 4, things weren't looking too good for those Blackhawks being down 3-1 and all. But doesn't that mean you were up 3-1, too? Did Chicago maybe figure out that the least effective way to score on Howard was with direct shots to the net? Did they realize that getting rebounds off of Howard and having some bodies at the net might unnerve that kid from upstate N.Y.? Did they come to the realization that maybe some tic-tac-toe shots might be more effective on this young rascal you've got in net?
One final thought, considering the fact that Detroit is leaving the Western Conference: This would be Chicago's last chance to push you out of the playoffs, too. Funny how that works, isn't it?
You did get one thing right, though, Mike—it is going to be a lot of fun.