Penguins notebook: Babcock aware of Kunitz performance
DETROIT — Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who will coach Team Canada in the 2014 Winter Olympics, mentioned three Penguins players by name when describing Saturday's opponent.
He specifically referenced Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, which is pretty common around the league. Babcock, however, also chose to mention left wing Chris Kunitz, whose possible inclusion on the Canadian Olympic team has sparked a significant debate north of the border.
Some believe Kunitz, while a good player, is on pace to score 42 goals this season only because he skates on a line with Crosby. Others maintain Kunitz should be a lock for the team because of his production and the reality that Crosby loves playing with him, which would give Canada instant chemistry in a two-week tournament that often sees players on the ice with unfamiliar linemates.
“When you look at (the Penguins), they do a lot of good things and have quality players,” Babcock said. “They have two of the best centers in the league, maybe one and two. And Kunitz is obviously having a real good year.”
Babcock refused to elaborate on Kunitz's chances of making the Canadian team, though he acknowledged he will get a glimpse of Crosby and Kunitz playing together.
“Let's take Team Canada out of it,” Babcock said. “Who would you watch if you were playing Pittsburgh? I'll get a chance to watch them (Crosby and Kunitz).
“In order for us (the Red Wings) to have success, we need to know the good players on other teams and their nuances.”
Impressed by the student
Babcock continues to be impressed with Bylsma, his former player in Anaheim. They matched wits in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final and will coach against one another in the Olympics. Bylsma will coach Team USA against Babcock's Canadian squad.
Babcock said Bylsma hasn't changed much over the years.
“He was always a student of the game,” Babcock said. “He put his time in.
“He was real smart about the way he played. Maximized his potential. He's been no different as a coach. He's a smart guy, talks with people. He works hard.”
Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson, the face of the Ottawa Senators for more than a decade, finally is feeling comfortable in Detroit.
Alfredsson signed with the Red Wings during the summer and has produced seven goals and 23 points in 28 games with Detroit.
“It's been a change, a challenge,” Alfredsson said. “But it's kind of rejuvenating, too. It's been fun.”
The Penguins canceled their morning skate in Detroit because they had played the previous night.
Still, a few Penguins hit the ice Saturday morning at Joe Louis Arena.
Goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff, defenseman Brian Dumoulin, suspended right wing James Neal and injured left wing Tanner Glass took part in a workout.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins’ Scuderi offers honest assessment of his 2013-14 performance
- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby says aching wrist doing better
- Penguins backup goaltender Zatkoff eyes new challenge with team