Despite Looming NHL Lockout, Red Wings Start Preparation
Despite a looming NHL lockout, it was business as usual for Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, overseeing the team's informal practice at Joe Louis Arena.
Babcock was joined by general manager Ken Holland as they watched several Red Wings practice, including alternate captain Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller.
Babcock said the practice was part of their normal preparation for the upcoming season, despite the possibility of an NHL lockout after talks broke down between the league and players' union.
The two sides have until Sept. 15 to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement or a lockout is inevitable.
Babcock said he and his coaching staff, including new assistant Tom Renney, will get together to formulate the best way for the group to play this year.
"We'll do that this week and next week and get our training camp planned like we always do," said Babcok.
The Red Wings practiced for the first time without captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who retired after 20 seasons with the team.
"Today, I don't think you even notice it," Babcock said. "There's lots of guys not in the dressing room. I think when you're going to notice is when you get the guys back and he's not there and the puck drops the first game, you'll probably really notice."
"Happy to see everyone and hopefully things can get started here pretty soon," said Kronwall, who said he tried to avoid thinking about hockey without Lidstrom.
"He felt like he was ready to quit," Kronwall said. "We can only thank him for all the things he's done for not only Red Wings hockey but also hockey and the NHL."
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