Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

What Happens If Mike Babcock Says No?

Most of us are aware Ken Holland will be talking to Mike Babcock about a contract extension once the Wings arrive in Traverse City for training camp.

Babcock has one year left on his contract and will be considered a "lame-duck" coach if he enters the season without an extension.

Babcock has stated he will not discuss an extension once the regular season starts which means Holland will have about a two week window to sign him.

If an agreement cannot be reached, I feel it leaves the Wings with some unanswered questions.

How will the players feel about playing for a coach on his final year of a contract?

How will ownership feel about having a coach who may be on his last leg in Detroit?

Will the Wings even think about discussing a new contract with him after the season?

Does the organization say, well, you don't want to coach here, leave now?

It could get nasty, it could be status quo or it could be a "we will deal with it when the time comes" thing.

Your feelings ahd I hope your summer is going well.

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink



I don’t think it should matter for the players. Their desire should be to win regardless of the contract situation of their coach. But of course that would be the case in a perfect world.
I also don’t understand the seemingly hard-ass attitude Babcock seems to be taking with this. It was reported that he already is the highest paid coach in the league and I’m sure he would get a decent raise with the extension. So maybe he really is ready to move on, in which case, good luck to you

Posted by George0211 on 08/19/14 at 03:21 PM ET

awould's avatar

I think it will be a simple thing either way. At this point, Babcock has to know if he wants to stay or not. It isn’t going to be about the money because he’s getting paid someplace, either way.

If he’s ready to move on, I imagine he’ll tell Holland that and both will agree this is his final season and the team will probably suffer a little from it. If that’s the case, I’d prefer to see the Wings let him go and replace him now, assuming they have a back-up on deck already.

Or he’ll sign for 2-3 years and everyone will yawn.

Posted by awould on 08/19/14 at 03:33 PM ET

perfection's avatar

How will the players feel about playing for a coach on his final year of a contract?

I think the young guys will take cues from the old guys who will keep the focus on winning and improving. These guys play with expiring contracts all the time. These guys play with the knowledge that a big enough losing streak to start a season often results in midseason coaching changes. Most of these guys play knowing they could be traded at any time. My point is there is always some level of uncertainty from year to year. The team that starts the year on the ice this will likely not be the team that finishes it and will definitely not be the team the starts on the ice next season. So I really think the effect of this is totally negligible. If Babs’ contract ended in the middle of the season, well then I could see it being an issue. But there’s hockey to play. Sure the guys may discuss it, but it would take a whole bunch of losing before Babs’ contract status suddenly became the scapegoat. 

How will ownership feel about having a coach who may be on his last leg in Detroit?

I don’t think this will be the assumption from ownership. I think if anything Babs will tell them he’ll deal with it after the season as opposed to he for sure won’t be coming back next year. They will approach it that he has clearly earned his right to do what he wants, we have a clear and obvious successor in the AHL, so there’s nothing to stress about. 

Will the Wings even think about discussing a new contract with him after the season?

uh… is this rhetorical? of course they will

Does the organization say, well, you don’t want to coach here, leave now?

wait… THIS has to be rhetorical. Are you suggesting there’s even a possibility they would totally implode this entire season (both in the AHL and NHL assuming Blash is promoted) over a contract squabble… one that technically doesn’t even apply to this season? There is a less than 0% chance of this happening

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 08/19/14 at 03:38 PM ET

Paul's avatar

perfection, who mentioned implode or anything like that?

Just trying to get a handle on how some fans feel about this moving forward.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/19/14 at 04:00 PM ET

bigdee89's avatar

People are making too much of this story.  Players only really care when they are losing games because the coaching system doesn’t work.  Sure Babcock is known as a hardass but that will help weed out players we don’t need anyways .

Because the Wings are still winning games and making the playoffs I doubt the players will let any of this distract them.

Even if Babcock doesn’t resign I don’t think the players bring less effort. Everyone wants to win.

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 08/19/14 at 04:00 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’d peg the odds of Babcock saying “no” to a contract extension prior to the regular season at 60/40 because I fully believe that Babcock wants to a) jerk the press around and enjoy the mayhem that results and b) that he’s going to squeeze Ken Holland for as much $$ as he possibly can.

I don’t believe that Babcock’s lying when he says that he wants to remain in Detroit long-term, and I don’t believe that the players will view him as a lame duck. It’s pretty difficult to view a coach who gets to the rink by 6 AM every morning and stays until midnight on game nights as someone who’s less than 100% committed to doing his job.

For all the horror stories about Babcock from jilted players, the vast majority of players who work with him insist that yes, he is an uber-aggressive hardass, but they also insist that he’s actually an accessible, honest and dedicated coach who wants nothing less than to empower his players to succeed via on-ice instruction, off-ice video work and constructive meetings.

So I don’t think he’s going to re-sign before the regular season begins, but I do believe that he’ll remain here, and I do believe that he’s far more respected than we’re led to believe.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/19/14 at 04:05 PM ET

perfection's avatar

perfection, who mentioned implode or anything like that?

All I’m saying Paul is if the team suddenly and without warning (or actual cause for that matter) fired their coach right before camp and replaced him with Blash, all of the offseason preparations for both teams would essentially be scrapped, there’d be a scramble to replace Blash on the Griffs and both teams would likely suffer immensely because of it. The implosion would be a byproduct of the senseless (and impossible IMO) firing. 

I realize in the past coaches have come to teams midseason and righted a sinking ship, but starting a season off fresh with total and abrupt chaos seems infinitely more likely to cause strife or result in losing hockey than this whole “lame duck” coach concept. 

George - I just don’t get the same sense as you get that Babs isn’t “respected” (I realize you are saying he’s actually more respected than he seems… I just don’t think he seems all that disrespected). Sure, there’s a handful of guys who have talked trash and the media has latched onto some of that at times, but I pretty much get the explicit sense from everyone else besides those few that he’s one of the most highly respected coaches in the game.

I mean, that’s really why none of this matters all that much and why neither Babs, Holland, or the players seem all that worried. It’s just a known fact he’s one of the best in the game and therefore certain “rules” don’t apply here. He knows he can get a job anywhere he wants. The team knows they have one of the best and he’s earned his right to do what he wants. The players also know they are privileged to play for him, even if it’s just for one more year… so really nobody but the fans and pundits have much to be concerned about, for now

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 08/19/14 at 04:34 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Or he’ll sign for 2-3 years and everyone will yawn.

That’s what I assume, and he will sign before the regular seasons begins.

Posted by bigfrog on 08/19/14 at 09:28 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

Even if Babcock doesn’t resign I don’t think the players bring less effort. Everyone wants to win.

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 08/19/14 at 04:00 PM ET

Exactly. We have some of the best players on the planet wearing the Winged Wheel. They are used to the high expectations and thrive on them. That’s quite an advantage right from the get.

The bar is set very high for anyone that is going to coach this group, and within the ranks of the players themselves.

Now, Drop.The. Puck!  I’m all in. Always.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!


Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 08/19/14 at 10:43 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

I have a vivid imagination, but I can’t imagine this becoming nasty.

Nor can I imagine it affecting the locker room negatively.

Hmmph, maybe I’m an optimist.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 08/20/14 at 11:00 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I won’t lie:  I’m not really concerned about who is coaching.  I’m far more concerned about who is on/going to be one the ice.

Posted by Primis on 08/21/14 at 09:54 AM ET

wedge56's avatar

I had thought at a fan base we already decided Babcock is leaving and Blashill will be behind the bench in 2016.  Didn’t you guys get that memo?

Posted by wedge56 on 08/26/14 at 07:02 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Could it be about personnel control the main division between Babcock’s signing or otherwise?

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 08/26/14 at 07:49 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Babcock says no?  Huh?  Screw em. Cut him loose and move on. 

WTH, if he hesitates, fire him and move on.

It’s a business, you don’t want to be here…piss off.

Next question?


Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, Czech out my recliner..... on 09/14/14 at 01:44 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com