DETROIT – Mike Babcock pushes. He always pushes. He was pushing at practice March 14 in Edmonton, when the Detroit Red Wings were coming off a 5-2 loss in Calgary. Rookie defenseman Brendan Smith had struggled against the Flames, so the coach pulled him aside and told him he would be a healthy scratch the next night against the Oilers.
“OK,” Smith said.
“No, that’s not OK,” Babcock snapped.
Smith collected himself. He told Babcock he agreed that it was not OK, that he just didn’t know what to say because he was “shocked and in awe.” They talked about what he needed to work on, and Smith went to sleep that night frustrated and upset.
At the skate the next morning, Babcock told Smith he would be in the lineup after all.
“I don’t know if it was playing with my mind or whatever it was, but I guess that’s a funny story that I have about Babs,” Smith said. “Maybe he wanted some fire out of me and maybe a higher competition level. I’m not sure what the whole thing was, but he wanted me toRead More »from Babcock keeps pushing Red Wings in perhaps his best coaching job ever