Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/27/11

DETROIT - JUNE 12: Head coach Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings talks to the media after a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Seven of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
DETROIT -- What a difference a week makes. Seven days ago, the Red Wings were cruising along with a perfect 5-0 record. They had back-to-back shutouts, balanced scoring and a favorable schedule, which put them in their customary spot -- at or near the top of the NHL standings. Two losses later -- to the elite-level Capitals and the hapless Blue Jackets, by a combined score of 11-2 -- Detroit coach Mike Babcock is in a cantankerous mood. This should have been an off day, they shouldve gone for coffee with their wives, Babcock said after Wednesdays up-tempo, physical practice. Ive said this to you guys a million times: Its a real honest and fair game. If you stand on the right side of the puck, the puck comes to you. If you cheat, you never get any offense. You dont work hard, you dont win. Babcock did give credit to the Wings opponents, but you could tell that he was still smarting from two sub-par efforts. He pointed out that the talent discrepancy between NHL teams is minuscule, and if you do not play hard by outworking the opposition, youre going to lose. If there is one thing that Babcock will not tolerate, it's lackadaisical play. It leaves him feeling bitter. I did the sleep test, Babcock said. I went to sleep, I was bitter, and I woke up and I was still bitter. "Normally the sun gets up, Im having a good day. I bounce back real quick. It took me a little longer today. Thats because Babcock does not like what has transpired. Hes a realist and knows that the timeline for his team is short. Nick Lidstrom will eventually retire, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg arent getting any younger, and team defense could still be a problem. This isnt to imply that Babcock has pressed the panic button. He's well aware that each season is different. Sometimes it takes a team a while to figure it out. As much as he would like to see a carryover from season to season, he knows thats not how the NHL works. We had a chance to look after it and have our losing streak be at one," Babcock said. "Instead we let it get a little bigger, and thats the thing about the league. If you let your ups be a lot longer than your downs, lifes good. Life hasnt been as good as Babcock would like it because the Wings have gone into a scoring drought. Theyve scored only two goals in their past two games, and stars Datsyuk and Zetterberg have not been dominating the score sheet. During Wednesdays practice, Datsyuk and Zetterberg were on the same line, but that might not be the case on Friday when San Jose comes to town. Even though his top two forwards have struggled with consistency this season, Babcock believes Detroits offensive woes have plagued his entire forward corps. I had six different line combinations last night (against Columbus), said Babcock. When I looked down at my sheet after the game, I had six sets, so thats a problem. That means nothing is going right. Weve got to figure it out. Weve got to get people playing. Theres a skill set of guys that probably play better together, and theres a group that you consider your top six and theyve got to deliver. The bottom line is, the big guys always drive the bus. Thats how its always been. Unfortunately for the Wings, it appears that the bus has a few flat tires.
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