PITTSBURGH – Have you ever wondered what a coach says to his team prior to a big game? Like, say, Game 6 of the 2008 Stanley Cup final?
Well, it wouldn’t do much good asking Detroit’s Mike Babcock or Pittsburgh’s Michel Therrien for their crib notes, because there is no chance in hell they’d give away any trade secrets.
But here is what I think they might say Wednesday night:
Mike Babcock: OK boys, we live to fight another day. For 82 games in the regular season we proved we were the best team in the NHL. Are we still No. 1? I guess that’s up to you. I know I still have faith in you.
Monday’s loss means absolutely nothing. It was just a hockey game. We have lost before and we bounced back. We came to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4 and beat a team that hadn’t lost on home ice in 17 games. But they didn’t have to play us before, did they?
I told you at the start of the playoffs winning the Stanley Cup is a process. There are no guarantees. But we have worked hard with one goal in mind and we are still on the right path. Win one game and your place in history is guaranteed for all-time.
The Penguins beat us Monday, but we out-played them. To a man, we know that. It will not happen again. We out-shot them and we out-chanced them. Go out tonight and do that again and we win the Cup.
Go get ‘em boys!
Michel Therrien: Two down, two to go. We said at the start of this series it would not be easy and it hasn’t been. But we are alive and we are going to win the Stanley Cup.
People think we are young and all offense, but inside this room each and every one of you know who we really are. We are champions. It doesn’t matter that they out-shot us last game; we won the game.
And now we put that behind us and we go out and win another hockey game. We don’t need to win two games; we need to win one game two times. The Red Wings are a good hockey team, but they are not unbeatable. Nashville proved that and so did Dallas.
So have we.
Tonight we start a new home winning streak. Skate out on the ice with pride, take a look around at the people standing behind you and then go out and play with the same determination and intensity you have displayed all season.
Sixty minutes and one more win.
TUESDAYS WITH MIKEY
Mike Babcock could not contain himself. Asked about the two goaltender interference penalties his team took in the overtime periods of Game 5, he didn’t want to bite.
Media: The goaltender interference calls, the second one in particular, the guy going to the net, your thoughts?
Babcock: I don’t know. What am I supposed to say? I don’t have any idea.
Media: What’s your response to it, though?
Babcock: I don’t have any idea. What do you say? If you were sitting here, tell me, what would you say?
Media: No one cares what I think.
Babcock: I think it’s pretty evident they don’t care what I think either. We talk about scoring goals. I’ll jump on the soapbox. We talk about scoring more goals in the National Hockey League. We want more goals. No they don’t; don’t tell me that. I’ve never seen anything like that in my whole life.
Media: Do you intend on having a conversation with the league?
Babcock: Zero. Just had it. (Laughter) I’m going to try what the other guy has been trying all series.
THN senior writer Mike Brophy is on the road following the Stanley Cup final and will be filing daily reports until a champion is crowned. To read his other entries, click HERE.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.