Kukla's Korner Hockey
Coaching the Leafs will require an inordinate amount of patience, until the player talent matches the organization’s Stanley Cup ambitions. This then will be the ultimate test for Babcock who, 13 years and 950 games into his NHL coaching career, has never quite faced the challenge that Toronto will pose. There are not many coaches more competitive than Babcock. How he handles the challenge of those early dark days will be a sight to behold.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail on Mike Babcock in Toronto. Read more on this topic.
MLSE President Tim Leiweke talks about his pride for Brendan Shanahan, who he says with the Babcock signing proved he’s a great president.
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
Brendan Shanahan, President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced today that Mike Babcock has been named the 30th head coach in the club’s history. Babcock, 52, joins the Leafs after serving as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings for the past 10 seasons.
babcock to Tor
8 years, maybe an out after five.
Front-loaded deal...high salary in first two years
May also have discussed Shanahan taking GM role, or Babcock/Shanahan having final say over personnel decisions.
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
The organization is also going about its search in an unconventional manner at the urging of Shanahan, content to hire coach before general manager if need be. There’s also the prospect of the front office (save the general manager) already in place and the looming voice of Shanahan above whatever power said general manager will hold.
These are huge hires that need to align with Shanahan, his unconventional methods and philosophy and the patient build he intends for the club moving forward.
Such a future may or may not include the team’s current captain, long-time leading scorer and a flawed and financially-inflated core that flamed out once again in 2014-15. What will the Leafs opt to do with Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel, both of whom have pricey long-term contracts extending beyond 2020? And maybe more curiously, what can the club reap in potential trades involving the pair, not to mention other core assets like Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul?
Beyond the current roster lie future pieces. The Leafs have two first round selections – including the fourth overall pick – at the second draft of the Shanahan era next month. Last year the team selected promising Swedish talent William Nylander with the eighth overall pick. These two days in June are critical to an organization seeking to rebuild internally.
from David Alter of TorontoMapleLeafs.com,
In early December, the Maple Leafs made some to moves to shore up their player development. One of those was bringing in Darryl Belfry as a consultant.
Belfry’s specialty is working with some of hockey’s top talent to improve the way they tackle the game.
“During the year we track the clients and build the development model for them and to track what their success rates are in certain area,” said Belfry when he signed on. “In the off-season we now have a clear path as to what they are doing.”
With the Maple Leafs and Marlies regular season now complete, every prospect on the roster now has Belfry at their disposal.
As part of the build, Belfry’s methods will be put to the ultimate test. Players like Patrick Kane have sworn by his methods. In some ways, it’s the analytics of body movement.
“What I do is I analyze players’ game habits and then problem solve from a skill development prospective to open up new pathways for them to perform.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Brendan Shanahan’s ultra-secretive search for a general manager meanders on with a large portion of the hockey world left wondering exactly where the wealthiest team in the National Hockey League is headed.
Whatever the Shanaplan involves — and that seems to include the hiring or wooing of a Maple Leafs coach before he hires the next Leafs general manager — it does not centre around anything resembling conventional hockey thinking or order.
Clearly, Shanahan has chosen to look the other way on well-regarded general managers with winning records and impressive resumes. He passed on Peter Chiarelli, hired quickly by Bob Nicholson in Edmonton after being fired in Boston. He passed on Ray Shero, hired quickly by the experienced Lou Lamoriello in New Jersey, when Lamoriello was pushed upstairs. He hasn’t spoken to George McPhee, architect of the Washington Capitals.
Shanahan is doing things his way. Whether that’s the right way will be determined in time.
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
... Jeff Blashill, hired a night before the draft that previous summer, was their first-year head coach. An assistant for nearly a decade in the U.S. college ranks, Blashill had never been a head coach before. Success came quick, as it did a few years later when he captured the Calder Cup in his very first season with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Two championships in two leagues in his first four seasons behind a bench of any kind.
There will certainly be more experienced candidates for Brendan Shanahan and the Maple Leafs to pursue in their search for a new head coach – Mike Babcock, perhaps, above all – but if they want to look outside the box just a little, they'd be wise to consider the 41-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, currently coaching against the organization in the first round of the AHL playoffs.
"He doesn't have [NHL] experience, but if you look at his resume, he just wins," Skjodt said of Blashill in an interview. "Has he been a coach before in the NHL? No. But he's certainly ready. If there's anyone in this country that's ready right now, it'd be Jeff Blashill."
Blashill may just be next in a line of fresh faces to emerge onto the NHL landscape, a movement fronted at the moment by Jon Cooper, who hadn't coached a day in the league when Steve Yzerman promoted him to coach the Lightning a few years back.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Two weeks ago, Brendan Shanahan said he didn't want to rush selection of a new general manager and coach until seeing what changes came elsewhere in the NHL.
With the first round still underway, names such as Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan came on the market. Chiarelli quickly moved from being fired as Boston's top exec to GM and president of hockey operations in Edmonton. Philadelphia and Buffalo joined McLellan's Sharks in firing their coaches.
Attention shifts now to St. Louis and Detroit, where Blues coach Ken Hitchcock might not be back, and the Mike Babcock jockeying will be underway if the Red Wings lose Game 7 in Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Whether Leafs president Shanahan already has made up his mind or continues to see what else shakes out in coming days is not known.
He and interim GMs Mark Hunter and Kyle Dubas just returned from the world under-18 championships in Switzerland, where they scouted draft talent, but likely also tuned into industry gossip.
One of the rising names in management circles is Toronto native Mike Futa, vice-president of hockey operations with the Kings, who was at the same junior tournament as the Leafs' brass. Paul Fenton, an ex-Leaf working with Nashville's hockey office under David Poile, has been getting mentions for NHL jobs for a couple of years.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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