Babcock needs ‘a beer’ to decide on goalies

Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock talks with his team during a timeout during last season's playoffs. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

The Detroit Red Wings may have clinched their 24th straight playoff spot Thursday after losing 4-3 in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens, but head coach Mike Babcock needs a beer to think about his current predicament regarding his goaltenders.

After another shaky night by the Detroit netminders — this time by Jimmy Howard — Babcock was asked whether he needed more stability between the pipes.

“No question,” Babcock said to reporters. “I’m going to have a beer and I’m going to think about (who starts Saturday.)”

It seems the biggest issue troubling the 51-year-old is all the soft goals that Howard and Petr Mrázek are letting in lately.

“They can’t go in, period,” Babcock said. “It’s the National Hockey League. They can’t go in.”

Babcock’s unhappiness has led to him switching back and forth between the netminders as the Red Wings struggled with a 5-10-3 record since March 6, with neither of them able to claim the starter role. As a result the club needed Game 81 to finally clinch a playoff spot that seemed assured not that long ago.