Once again Detroit Red Wings’ head coach Mike Babcock proved to be the right man for the job leading Team Canada to back-to-back gold medals in the 2014 Winter Olympics. More on this and other Detroit Red Wings’ news coming out of Sochi in my final Olympics edition of the Red Wings weekly as the two week NHL hiatus comes to an end.
Hockeytown Headlines in Russia
Toews, Crosby, and Kunitz each scored in the 3-0 victory over Sweden. The game was in complete control by the Canadians from start to finish. From a coaching perspective, Mike Babcock didn’t have to do much. He was given a team full of superstars and he watched them go to work. This isn’t a knock against Babcock because he is a tactical genius when it comes to pairing up lines, but it seemed that this gold was a lot easier to achieve than the struggle they had to go through in Vancouver.
Regardless, the Wings can take pride in having a championship caliber head coach back behind their bench even though he won’t have the same amount of talent to work with like he had with Canada.
Sliver for Sweden
A disappointing end to what was a rather successful tournament for Sweden. The silver medal should be taken as a great achievement when everyone assumed Canada, Russia, and the United States would take the medals. It was a mixed bag of Red Wings’ performances in the elimination round. Certain Red Wings shined: Alfredsson and Kronwall. Some Red Wings were inconsistent: Nyquist and Ericsson. While the other Red Wings didn’t get to play: Zetterberg and Gustavsson.
What’s going to hurt the most is losing the bragging rights to Babcock again for the next four years.
Henrik Zetterberg has to undergo back surgery and will likely miss the rest of the NHL regular season. Which Wings have to step up in his absence? After all the concern about keeping Pavel Datsyuk healthy throughout the Olympics, I find it quite ironic that it’s Zetterberg we end up losing.
3rd Daniel Alfredsson (Sweden) – 2nd Nikolas Kronwall (Sweden) – 1st Pavel Datsyuk (Russia)
The Red Wings’ players had a rather quiet 2nd week of the tournament after a fantastic preliminary showing. Secondary honors go to Alfredsson and Kronwall for leading Sweden to the gold medal game. While Pavel Datsyuk gets the first star in both weeks of the Olympic competition as he dished out four assists in the two elimination games Russia had to face.
That concludes the Olympic coverage, so onward to the Red Wings upcoming schedule for next week.
February 26: @ Montreal Canadians
7:30PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit (or TSN)
Standings: (32-21-6) 3rd Atlantic Division, 4th Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Jan. 24, 2014 at Detroit/Red Wings 4 – Canadians 1
Prediction: I have no idea how the Wings are going to come out after two weeks off. This prediction is a shot in the dark. Go Wings! Canadians 2 – Red Wings 3.
February 27: @ Ottawa Senators
7:30PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit (or NHL Network)
Standings: (26-22-11) 6th Atlantic Division, 10th Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Dec. 1, 2013 at Ottawa/Senators 2 – Red Wings 4
Prediction: Depending on how the game Wednesday goes will impact this contest. A win is going to be hard to build on with games in consecutive days and a lost against the Canadians will make it tough to refocus for this game. Senators 2 – Red Wings 0.
Hockeytown rise up, our team needs us more than ever now. The playoffs aren’t a given. Let’s get back to Red Wings’ hockey!
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