Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has spent the summer doing what he always does -- jotting down line combinations and defense pairings on napkins while enjoying time with his family at their lake house in Saskatchewan. And, as always, Babcock's stomach churns with nervous energy and excitement when he thinks about the upcoming NHL season.

"I'm scared to death," he told "I'm always scared to death in the summer."

He has more reason to be scared this summer than any other since he took over in Detroit. For the first time in seven years, Babcock can't write down the name Nicklas Lidstrom on his array of napkins.