Babcock Demands Excellence

Nicholas Cotsonika authored a great piece over at Yahoo today about our very own Babbles and his shiny new contract.  Turns out that our boy used to be a bit of a yeller (who knew?).

When Babcock took over the Wings in 2005-06, he had only two seasons of NHL experience. He was only 42. Even though he was entering a dressing room full of veterans like captain Steve Yzerman and forward Shanahan, he felt he had to establish order.

“I think your first year … there’s no negotiation on anything,” Babcock said. “It’s just, ‘This is how we’re doing it, and this is the way it’s going to be.’ ”

And to do this, he yelled and micromanaged everything.  It is no wonder that people like Shanahan didn’t like him at first.  But like the good coach he is, he learned from his mistakes and learned to use the veterans in the room.

Osgood said Babcock doesn’t yell as much anymore. Babcock said that’s because he doesn’t have to. The veterans have learned what he expects. He has learned to trust them.

“Micromanaging is what employees absolutely hate, and yet what I’ve found is, when people don’t do their job, you micromanage them, but when people do their job, you leave them alone,” Babcock said. “We have a tendency to leave guys alone in here a lot more than probably I did initially, just because they do their job. I know it’s getting looked after.”

And it is from this that the players have gained respect for the young coach. He demands a lot from his players, but at the same time he demands a lot from himself.

“He’ll continue to get better and better,” Osgood said. “He’s not the kind of guy that just wants to stay the same. He always wants to try to improve.”

Sounds like Babcock’s message has gotten through.

“You’re always changing,” Babcock said. “If you’re not changing, you’re not getting better.”

Which is why he’s the best coach in hockey.  We are lucky to have him.