It may only be the end of June, but Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is already starting to think about line combinations for training camp and next season. Specifically, Babcock is certain that Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will be on the same line, as he wants both to play better than they did this past season.â†µ
"I'm going to start Pav and Z together, for sure," Babcock said while in Los Angeles for the NHL entry draft. "I think they both need more confidence. I think they need to be the dominant players they were. Now, don't get me wrong, they're great players, but I didn't think neither one was as great as they've been in the past. By putting them together and getting their confidence to a level, I think that will help our team.â†µ
"I think Pavel had a good year, but I didn't think they were as dominant. Neither one had 90 points. I think you'll see them really be back next year."â†µ
It looks like Tomas Holmstrom will be on the first line with Zetterberg and Datsyuk. That would leave Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi for the second line; Justin Abdelkader, Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler for the third line; and Darren Helm and two others for the fourth line.â†µ
I have to say, although we're still quite some time away from the season, these lines look very promising. If everybody can stay healthy, I think the Wings will be back up at the top of the standings like they usually are.