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Red Wings' Mike Babcock explains Doughty's scoring woes

December 17, 2011 |  9:22 am

Mike3Greetings from Detroit, where snowflakes are swirling but not much snow is sticking on the ground.

The Red Wings held an optional morning skate at Joe Louis Arena before Saturday’s game against the Kings and only a few players took advantage of the ice time. Afterward, Detroit Coach Mike Babcock, who coached Kings defenseman Drew Doughty on the triumphant Canadian Olympic team at Vancouver, had an interesting take on Doughty’s low production this season.

Babcock admires Doughty and once said the young defenseman was “touched by God.” But Babcock said he’s not surprised that Doughty has only two goals and nine points in 26 games this season.

“Well, if I didn’t know he wasn’t at training camp — wasn’t he not at training camp — that would surprise me. But this league’s too good not to be ready to go when everybody else is ready to go,” Babcock said, referring to Doughty having missed most of the preseason while negotiating a new contract.

“Whether you’re a player here that got hurt and didn’t play in training camp, and you wonder why 15 games in you got no stats, all you’ve got to do is look around the league. It’s not by accident. Players are too good. They’re too ready. They come in early. It’s a short training camp but they’re there two weeks in advance skating 10 times just to be ready to start training camp and you can do that on your own, but you’re not as good by yourself. That’s the facts.”

Babcock also said he had empathy for former Montreal Canadiens Coach Jacques Martin, who was fired Saturday and replaced by Randy Cunneyworth. Martin was the sixth NHL coach dismissed this season, following Davis Payne (St. Louis), Paul Maurice (Carolina), Bruce Boudreau (Washington), Randy Carlyle (Ducks) and Terry Murray (Kings).

“It’s a hard business. Terry Murray did a great job here,” Babcock said. “There’s a lot of coaches that have done excellent jobs but everybody in today’s NHL — owners and management — thinks they have a team that can make the playoffs and win the Cup and I hate to break the news to them but for lots of teams it’s not true.

“Until you’ve been there and you know how good you have to be to win the Cup you don’t realize how far you are away. In saying that, there are a ton of teams that think they should be playoff teams and I don’t blame them. It’s so tight. This is what they do.

“One thing about it is, if you’re a coach, you get to move. You get a new house. You get a different place to live. It won’t be the end of the world for most of these guys. They’ll bounce back.”

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Photo: Detroit Coach Mike Babcock. Credit: Julian H. Gonzalez / MCT