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Notes from Today’s Press Conferences: Coach Babcock (In Pittsburgh)


Coach Babcock:

Q.  A lot of your players were saying after the game last night that they all feel that you can still play a much better game. I’m sure as a coach you probably agree with that. What are some of the things that you can do better?

Well, we haven’t been very smooth. And I thought last night we didn’t have a great amount of energy, and didn’t come out of our zone like we’d like. And you’ve got to give them credit. They did a good job. 

I thought both teams dictated play at times in the game. But both games when we’ve been ahead we haven’t had on our foot on the gas. We’ve been cautious, and careful instead of just going after them. So we’ll have to do a better job coming through the neutral zone and attacking in their zone.

Q.  Can you give us an update on Datsyuk, please? 

Yeah, not really. He had another, I don’t know what they call it, but another look at him. Whether it be an MRI or whatever. And everything seems to be good. So now it’s a matter of when he’s ready.

Q.  I know you’ve been asked about Osgood a lot, but I’m wondering if you had been told in February or January when he was going through some of his struggles that he’d be a leading candidate for the Conn Smythe trophy, would that have surprised you? 

Not really. We were waiting for him to get going, obviously. Ty Conklin, I don’t know how many wins Conk got us, but he got us a lot and did a real good job. We expected him to come in and basically share the duties, and then Ozzie to take over just because we knew what we had been through last year and that’s kind of Ozzie’s not 26, he’s 36. So that was our plan anyway.

We just expected it to be more even as far as the way they were both going to be playing. That wasn’t the case. Conks was better during the year. It took Ozzie a long time to get going. But I think anybody that’s got the track record, and he has, and played as well as he did the previous two years you come to expect big things out of him. He’s done a good job and he’s delivered.

Q. Late in last night’s game there was a face-off in your zone off an icing, and the cameras saw you signaling to Lidstrom asking him, I think it was, if he wanted a timeout. How many players in your career as coach would you let them make the choice as opposed to you making the decision?

Well, I think the big thing is over a period of time here with the quality of players we have, you get this certain level of trust. I don’t know if I’d do that during the regular season, but at this time of the year I didn’t know if we needed it again in 20 seconds. I didn’t want to give them a timeout to let their guys get fresh. And I just thought initially when I talked to Nick right away he needed one. But the time we had talked to the ref and done what you do to buy yourself some time, then that time he gave me the nod that he didn’t need one. So we thought it was an advantage for us not to call that timeout.

So I can’t tell you. I just know Nick’s one of those guys and probably Z’s one of those guys and you just try to get to a point that you have good trust between you. Lots of times during the game I will say to Nick what do you see? And he’ll tell me. Or I’ll say to Z, what do you see? To me you’re all in it together. Especially this time of the year. You’re just trying to find a way to win. Doesn’t matter. In the end if you can win, you all get the credit.