Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s third consecutive defeat on Friday night, a 3-1 loss in Detroit.
On how the game played out:
Started good. Controlled the first period. I thought even things in the second were going fine. When they scored, I thought we came unravelled a little bit and turned too many pucks over. In the end, we ended up chasing the game. When they scored on that power play on a sort-out going to our net, that was probably the end of us for sure.
I mean, we’ve had a tough schedule and all of that stuff, but in saying all of that, good teams find ways no matter if you’ve played five in seven or any of that stuff. Good teams find ways to dig in and win this game, and they do it on not necessarily skill but just determination and good composure and knowing how to play right. We’ve got some work to do. We understand that. We’ll go home, get regrouped, and get back at her again.
On how to get the team’s offensively-talented players to turn the corner:
I think the first thing you do is just go home and have a day off. That’s what I’d do. And breathe. And then just come back to work. Whether you are a scorer or a checker, you just come each day and you put in an honest day’s work. If you’re a scorer, how many shots are you getting? How many scoring chances are you getting? How hard are you working? If you work hard, everything turns your way. If you don’t, it takes longer to get back to what you want to be. But the league is a good league. It’s a challenge for everybody. You’ve just got to believe in yourself and keep on grinding.
On whether he’s seeing enough hard work from his team that suggests they’ll fight their way out of it:
I think our team comes to play most every night. Just even on this trip, every game has been a real hockey game. In saying all of that, the other teams are trying, too. It is the National Hockey League. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. I also think one of the privileges of playing in the league is it’s not supposed to be easy, is it? If you’re good in the league, you’re good. And if you’re good in the league like Marleau has been for a long, long time — or Zetterberg — then you’re really good. The rest of us are just trying to be good.
On Kasperi Kapanen’s performance on the fourth line:
I thought our fourth line was our best line. I thought Kapanen had real good speed and tenacity. I don’t know if that [goal] went off his foot or didn’t go off his foot, but good for him. We know he’s a good player. He played for us in the playoffs last year.
From the pregame, on the production of Marner and Nylander:
Our production, when you talk about our young guys, for Willy it’s not even down and for Mitch it is maybe a little bit. The reality is we play a real game every night against a real team that knows who we are. I think that’s a privilege. You want to play against the best and you want them to play as hard as they can and you want them to deliver when it matters. I think the first year is kind of like you’re on a camping trip. You’re going through the league, you’re checking things out. Everything is cool. It’s great. It’s fun. And then the next 20 years of your life, if you’re a star, it’s a grind. But that’s what you enjoy. You enjoy it and you embrace it and you get after it. You’ve got to learn to perform in the biggest moments under the most pressure. That’s when you’re good.