You are the best coach in hockey. That is true right now, and it's been true for about a decade. I don't know how you decide when to keep Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together and when to split them up, but somehow you always manage to get it right. Before this season, a fool could have conceivably argued that your success has been built on the back of experienced veteran players who could have won regardless of who was coaching them. This year, your defense corps was as green as any in the league, and you still managed to turn them into an effective group. Bruce Boudreau admitted how tough it is to coach against you, and it isn't difficult to see why. I cannot believe you've never won the Jack Adams award, and as tough as it is to say now, you deserve it this season more than ever.
When Steve Yzerman retired, it looked like Nicklas Lidstrom had the toughest job in the world. How do you take over the captaincy from a guy like that and still manage to live up to expectations? Turns out, Lidstrom isn't the only guy capable of doing that. So are you. This year's Red Wings team was supposed to be one in transition, easing itself into the post-Lidstrom era. But they said similar things about the post-Yzerman era, and look what happened then. This year, you took control of your team and forced them to win this series. Your timely goal scoring, defensive acumen, and passionate but controlled leadership gave your team the edge it needed, and in the last three games of this series, you owned the ice.
Danny DeKeyser and Carlo Colaiacovo
DeKeyser, you have given Red Wings fans so much to look forward to. In a year of so much uncertainty on the blue line, you exceeded expectations and played well in the first two games of this series. I can't imagine anything harder than sustaining a season-ending injury at the beginning of the playoffs. Remember that you've got your entire career in front of you, and you'll have many more chances to play for the Cup.
Colaiacovo, you were also stuck in a frustrating position for most of the series, watching your team from the press box. But when Babcock called before Game Six, you answered, and you played well enough, I would think, to earn a spot heading into Chicago.