DETROIT -- They go back.
"He got 20 goals as a 16-year-old in Moose Jaw and said I didn't play him enough," laughed Mike Babcock of Ryan Smyth.
"I got fired that summer. Maybe I didn't."
The Detroit Red Wings coach goes way back with the Smyth family.
He got his first break in the business when he was hired by Red Deer College, where the Smyth family resides.
"My wife tutored him in school. I coached his older brother Kevin and younger brother Jared," he said.
"Ryan was as good, as hard on the puck as he is now in relation to the skill level. He's always been a competitor," said Babcock.
"I hardly played at all," said Smyth of that year in Moose Jaw.
He said Babcock hasn't changed since then.
"He's always been intense," he said.
Babcock has a pretty good handle on several Oilers.
"I know lots of those guys. I coached Smyth, Steve Staios and Shawn Horcoff at the World Hockey Championships.
"We won a gold medal together. I know Jarret Stoll from the Western League. They have a lot of good players."
Babcock has another connection with the Oilers - assistant coach Billy Moores.
"He helped me a lot when he was coaching the University of Alberta," he said.