Yesterday, Xavier Ouellet was shipped out of Detroit and to Grand Rapids, at least to start the season. Shortly beforehand, coach Mike Babcock stated that he liked the way Ouellet played and thought he had a great pre-season, and made a good case for making the lineup on opening night. He obviously was not happy about the move, and put the blame on the shoulders of GM Ken Holland in a few statements he made to the media. Today, he clarified on those statements, reassuring that his and Holland's relationship is perfectly fine. Via CBSLocal.com:
“We go through this every single year at this time, so if it’s controversy today, it’d be 10 straight years,” Babcock said. “The bottom line is I’m a coach, so I’m an immediate gratification guy. I’ve got to win tomorrow. Ken Holland’s job is to look at the big picture. I think that’s why you balance each other out. But we’re real comfortable here. We’re both allowed to have an opinion. In the end, though, he makes that decision. That’s his call. In the end, I decide who goes on the ice during the game; that’s my call. So that’s just part of the process.
“People on the outside can make what they want of it,” Babcock continued. “This is what we go through each and every year. He’s got a business to run, and that’s what he’s doing, and I’ve got a team to coach, and I want the guys that are ready to go right away. We always get through this. [Gustav] Nyquist never started on our team last year. We’ve been going through this, like I said, for 10 years.”
It's good to know that their relationship isn't much, if any, different than it has been over the last decade. Babcock has stated that he desires to stay in Detroit after his contract expires, and that he believe the organization wants him to stay as well.
“I think they’d like me to stay, and I’d like to stay,” Babcock said. “Ken Holland and I sit next to each other on the plane, we’re around each other all the time, I heard him describe to someone the other day, we’re like an old married couple. The reality is we’ve got lots of time. I’m not spending much time worrying about it.These things all find a way to work out. If you do a good job, good things happen.”
So it appears for the time being that affairs in Detroit are still in order. The Red Wings are apparently currently shopping Jakub Kindl around looking for a trade, which indicates that they really would like to have Ouellet up within their ranks, at least to start the season. While it probably won't occur before the start of the season, we can hope that it happens soon.