Wings coach Babcock questions officiating, takes shot at Pens coach Therrien
PITTSBURGH -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock faced very little resistance, or obstruction for that matter, in taking some shots at the officials and Pittsburgh Penguins counterpart Michel Therrien.
He did play a real solid game, real well for him ...
Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, on Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury
One day after the Red Wings absorbed as tough a loss in the Stanley Cup finals as possible, outside of an elimination game, Babcock took exception to a pair of goalie interference calls assessed to his team during overtime on Monday night.
Neither led to the deciding goal in the 4-3 defeat in triple overtime, but that didn't mean Babcock wasn't still burning on Tuesday after his team returned to Pittsburgh in advance of Game 6 on Wednesday.
Henrik Zetterberg was called for interfering with Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the first overtime and Dan Cleary was whistled in the second -- a call that clearly didn't sit well with Babcock.
He passed up a chance to comment when first asked Tuesday, but he opened up when pressed a little more.
"I don't know what I'm supposed to say here. I don't have any idea," Babcock said. "If you were me sitting here, tell me, what would you say?"
After the Penguins dropped the first two games of the series at Detroit by a combined 7-0 score, Therrien constantly complained that the Red Wings were limiting Pittsburgh's scoring chances through obstruction.
It was a campaign he harped on through Game 4 when Detroit took a 3-1 series lead.
Now that Detroit has had its lead cut to 3-2 after being 34.3 seconds away from winning the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in 11 seasons, Babcock is firing back.
"I think it's pretty evident they don't care what I think, either," he said. "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."
Cleary bumped Fleury after a hard rush to the net 3:41 into the second overtime. Babcock doesn't plan to take his gripes to the league, instead using the media session to air his displeasure.
"I'm going to try what the other guy has been trying all series," he said in reference to Therrien.
Pittsburgh eventually won Game 5 on Petr Sykora's power-play goal 9:57 into the third extra session. No one took issue with that advantage, created when Jiri Hudler drew blood with a high-stick to the face of Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi.
"The disappointment phase ends about 15 minutes when you're out of the room," Babcock said. "For me it was when I got home. I talked to my wife for a second, and she was disappointed, too. When you get up in the morning, the sun gets up, and so do we and we're up 3-2, let's play.
"I'm a real big believer, if you do good things, good things happen. Just keep doing them," he said.
The numbers, as they have all season, suggested that the Red Wings have carried the play. The Penguins didn't have more than eight shots in any of the six periods Monday night and were outshot 13-2 in the first overtime.
If not for the three Red Wings penalties, Pittsburgh's shot total likely would have been even smaller. As it was, Detroit held a 55-32 shots edge -- including 24-14 in 49:57 of overtime play.
Fleury was the difference in saving the Penguins' season and could be getting into the heads of the Red Wings. Detroit has scored six goals in three games after outscoring Pittsburgh 7-0 at home in the first two contests at home.
"We had some great chances to score," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "He did play a real solid game, real well for him, but I think we can do a better job of creating traffic in front of him. Be there for second chances.
"That's how we're eventually going to win, by continuing to shoot the puck," he said. "We had a lot of shots, a lot of scoring chances come off, too. But when you have traffic, that will make his job a lot more tougher, too."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press