NHL: Red Wings, Babcock agree to 3-year contract
By LARRY LAGE
By LARRY LAGE
DETROIT — Mike Babcock helped bring the Stanley Cup back to Detroit.
In turn, Red Wings ownership is bringing Babcock back for three more years.
The team announced Wednesday that the Cup-winning coach has agreed to a three-year contract.
"For me, this place has been fantastic," Babcock said during a morning news conference at Joe Louis Arena. "I love where I live. I love coming to work."
Babcock led Detroit to a title in his third season. During that time, the Wings twice have had the most points in the regular season.
Babcock and the team had been expected to reach an agreement shortly after the season ended last week with Detroit's win at Pittsburgh, where the team hoisted the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in 11 seasons.
"Mike's got a tremendous amount of passion, a tremendous work ethic and he loves the game," said Detroit general manager Ken Holland. "I think he's found that fine line between really pushing our players and at the same time having the relationship where he can talk to the players."
Babcock is a finalist for the Adams Award, which goes to the coach recognized as best in the NHL each season.
He was hired from Anaheim to replace Dave Lewis, who was not offered a new contract when NHL play resumed three years ago following the lockout. The third season of Babcock's new deal will coincide with his oldest child's senior year in high school.
Babcock said he appreciates the strong support he's received from the team's owners and front office.
"They care about hockey, they like players, they get you players," Babcock said. "For a coach, your best friend is the people that acquire the players. The better players you have, the better coach you are."
Babcock's coaching style has proven to be a good fit for the Red Wings, who have learned to drive to the net, compete for pucks in the corners and finish checks all over the ice.
The Wings are 162-56-28 under Babcock, who is the first coach in NHL history to lead a team to three consecutive 50-win seasons. Detroit earned 58 victories and a President's Trophy in 2005-06, 50 wins in 2006-07 and 54 wins, a President's Trophy and a Stanley Cup this past season.
Since his first year as an NHL head coach in 2003, Babcock leads all head coaches in postseason wins with 43.
"We've done a lot of winning under Mike's watch," Holland said.