Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s final preseason game, a 5-0 win over Detroit on Saturday night.
On whether this is an indication the club is set up well for Wednesday’s opener:
Well, we’re healthy, and that’s important, besides Dermy and Hyms. I thought we made some progress here in exhibition if not for more than just getting to know the players and getting the handle on the bench and how to use certain guys. I learned a lot more about Barrie and Ceci and Kerfoot and Mikheyev and Korshkov and all of the people we’ve never seen before. It is time to get at her.
On the team’s depth:
What I’ve learned is we made some real good additions, obviously, this summer. Mikheyev, I think, has a chance. He looks like a real hockey player. The trades we’ve made on the backend — ideally, we take a step on the backend. I think the growth of a guy like Sandin is real. Mooresy looks like a hockey player now, which is positive. I think Goat is way better — that’s positive. All of the main pieces that you have been thinking are good for a long time are better, so that’s positive, too — and they’re more confident. We are like every team. There are 31 teams. We’ve all got hope right now.
On the power play:
There are some things we need to do better, but there are lots of good things about it. It’s just a matter of time. I think we’ve got good scheme. We’ve got good players. Ideally, it will work. Sometimes, it doesn’t go as good as you’d like and you just got to keep doing good things and it’ll happen. I thought we had good tenacity tonight. Our group last night had unbelievable tenacity and we asked this group to do the same. I thought we did a pretty good job.
On Justin Holl’s odds of making the team:
What we’ve got basically is about ten guys there. We’ve got four, and we’ve got Sandin, and then we’ve got to figure out what to do. We’re in there doing that right now and grinding away and debating. The good thing about is we have a new person running the back in [Hakstol] who was a minor-league defenseman and has been a head coach in the NHL that didn’t have an opinion on any guy. To think any of your past is affecting what is going on here — it’s not. It’s what you’ve done here. The great thing about waivers and Marlies is that you still have recourse. You try to make the best decision you can and go from there.
On potentially going down to six preseason games:
The problem is our big guys are playing the same amount of games. They played four games. The guys that you are giving a chance to try out don’t get as good of a tryout. It is easy to say you want to do that. The trainers and coaches are going to each one. The players are only going to four. They’re going to four whether we have six or eight or ten, so…