DETROIT — Detroit coach Mike Babcock knows the Red Wings better than others do, and is in position to help correct the mistakes his team made in Chicago in a 4-1 Game 1 loss on Wednesday.
Although the Blackhawks proved to be the best team during the regular season and dominated the series opener, Babcock still believes in his team.
“I’ve seen us play before, so that’s what I base it on,” Babcock said after Friday’s practice at Joe Louis Arena. “That’s why I try not to go on all these theories that I keep hearing about.
“The key for me is, I’ll make up my own mind. I’ll watch it and make decisions based on that.
“… When we do what we do, then we can evaluate our game. We can’t even evaluate our team until we play.”
Babcock made sure to emphasize that his young defensemen weren’t the only problem in the first game.
“I heard this all about the D, and this guy turned it over and that guy turned it over,” Babcock said. “Who would you have passed it to? There was no one there for you to pass it to. That’s my point.”
Captain Henrik Zetterberg agreed that the responsibility of getting the puck out of their own zone lies as much with the forwards as it does with the defensemen.
“We weren’t really in the right spot for them to give us the puck,” Zetterberg said. “And when we were, they weren’t really making the good first pass, either.
“It was kind of like those games when you come home from the West Coast — the first home game — and that’s how it kind of felt like. We were there but we weren’t really there.
“So it’s nice to have a few extra days here, and now we feel ready to go.”
Kyle Quincey said the team is focused on coming back from Chicago tied 1-1 in the series.
“We’re looking at it as do or die,” Quincey said. “We don’t want to come back here with our backs against the wall. If we can get a split, then it’s a best-of-five (series), and I think we feel good about getting a couple in our barn.”
As for those people who don’t believe the Wings have a chance, Johan Franzen said, “Let them think that. That’s awesome. Who cares?”
Drew Miller has been practicing with the team and said Friday he feels ready to go.
“If Drew Miller’s in a position to help our team (Saturday), he’ll play,” Babcock said.
Miller has been out since breaking his right hand in Vancouver on April 20.
“It’s up to the coaches,” Miller said, “but I feel that I’m an option right now.”
Miller would certainly help out on the penalty kill. Since Darren Helm and Miller have been out, Babcock has had to play Pavel Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and others in that role, which takes away from their energy on offense.
“He looks good now on the ice, so we’re happy to see that,” Zetterberg. “He’s definitely a big part of our PK. He plays in all situations. If he can go, it’s a plus for us.”
Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser isn’t going to play because of a broken right thumb, but he was on the ice with his teammates during Friday’s practice.
“The surgery was a week and a half ago now, so I was just waiting to see the doctor, see what he said,” DeKeyser said. “He checked it out and said I could at least get on the ice and keep the legs going.”
DeKeyser hasn’t been able to do much and still won’t be able to for a while, but at least it was something.
“Basically skate,” DeKeyser said. “I couldn’t really handle the puck too well. It’s hard to even hold my stick right now, so I know I can’t pass the puck and for sure can’t shoot right now.”
DeKeyser said he was told the timetable for his injury is six to eight weeks.