Paul Sancya/Associated Press
The Red Wings have some great players in their lineup that are capable of putting up scoring chances and goals when given the puck often enough.
Having said that, some of these players—namely Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Daniel Alfredsson—are aging quickly. With Henrik Zetterberg out until the start of the playoffs—assuming the Red Wings qualify, which is still a big if—Detroit will need to keep its big guns firing on all cylinders.
That can only happen on a consistent basis if Datsyuk, Franzen and Alfredsson are getting appropriate amounts of ice time in each game and not being overtaxed in any given game.
Same goes for Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson.
Although both are younger than the aforementioned forwards, both of them are coming off a taxing Olympic hockey tournament and could likely do with some reduced ice time going down the stretch.
Then there is the fact that the bulk of the lineup has not played NHL-level hockey in over two weeks. While some Red Wings went to the Olympics, the players who didn't should be well-rested for the stretch run.
Babcock must get all of his players in on the action and preserve his top players for situations when he really needs them.