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Babcock Very Upset By Ouellet’s Demotion From Red Wings

The Red Wings needed to cut two players from their roster by 5pm ET Tuesday to have it compliant to start the season Thursday night. Petr Mrazek was an obvious choice with Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson taking the reins in net. So the decision was whether to risk a veteran defenseman to waivers to keep Xavier Ouellet, (presumably Jakub Kindl or Brian Lashoff), or go with the set roster from last season.

It seems that coach Mike Babcock was planning on the former.

When asked what he thought about the demotion for Ouellet, Babcock practically threw GM Ken Holland under the bus for the decision. Via the Windsor Star:

“What did I say yesterday?” Babcock snapped when asked about the decision to ship defenceman Xavier Ouellet to AHL Grand Rapids. “You’re talking to the wrong guy. What’s next?”

Queried as to whether Ouellet would be in the Detroit lineup for Thursday’s regular-season opener against the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena if it was solely his call, Babcock played it more coyly.

“Well, that’s a great question to have,” Babcock said. “I don’t have to answer that one, though. I just said I’d ask the other guy and then I’ll support everything he’s decided.”

At Monday’s practice, Babcock deployed Ouellet in his third defensive pairing with Kyle Quincey. After the skate, Babcock stated that this season, the best players would play, regardless of whether they were youngsters or veterans.

He then stated that in terms of roster decisions, he himself gets one vote. Holland gets two, so that if he makes a decision otherwise, Babcock “would lose 2-1”.

“I got my two cents in, so I get one vote,” Babcock said. “He (Holland) gets two, so he can win, 2-1.

“It’s almost exactly like at home. I get one vote and my wife gets two, and I lose 2-1 lots.”

So we know where Babcock’s loyalties lie in terms of the players. He firmly believed that Ouellet was the better player and wanted him on the ice, which only reaffirms his claims that ties no longer go to the veterans, and that he wants to ice the best team possible. Another possible “what if” from this decision is what kind of possible impact this tiff between Babcock and Holland could have on the contract negotiations down the line when they resume talks for Babcock’s extension. We have to think that neither of them would be that petty, but you never know.

What do you think of all this? Let us know!

-Nathan Webb

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