The Malik Report
Updated 6x at 3:07 PM:
Jeff Veillette broke the news...
From TSN's Bob McKenzie:
Update: And then things change:
While the hockey world waits for Mike Babcock's decision-making, Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill spoke with Fox 17's Mitch Fick...
And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner about his situation:
Blashill also said, "I don't expect to hear anything" today as the organization waited to learn what current coach Mike Babcock would decide. He said he would make a decision Wednesday. Most reports had him deciding between Detroit, Buffalo and possibly Toronto.
Blashill also said he has not spoken with Babcock, which is unusual. They usually talk regularly, he said.
"I stayed away from talking to Mike," he said. "I usually talk to Mike on a pretty regular basis but I know he's real busy trying to work through his professional and personal situation."
Well, here you go...
Update: Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids...
Two experts, one more connected to the Wings than the other, discussed Mike Babcock's situation this morning, with Nick Kypreos going for the "Toronto angle" on The Fan 590....
TSN's Darren Dreger appeared on TSN 1050 in Toronto to give his take:
Update: And Nicholas J. Costonika:
Ansar Khan of Mlive was just on TSN radio in Toronto...
Khan says Buffalo is his guess for Babock. When the offer is that much more than Detroit's, it is too good to pass up.
Money is a huge factor, a wild amount people did not expect.
The Sabres have some young talent, an aggressive owner who is willing to spend.
Khan was asked if Ilitch would bump the offer of $3.25M for 4 years, he says no, not getting into a bidding war. Wings want him back but know they are comfortable with Blashill if Babcock does leave.
Khan says no question Blashill will be the next coach but no announcement until the Griffins complete their playoff run. It is an ideal fit.
Updated 3x at 11:07 PM with more Babcock stuff: The following stories don't really fit together, but they'll have to do as I'm fading fast and expect Wednesday to be one of the longer days of my professional life.
First, regarding the elephant in the room, this tidbit from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan has me more worried about Mike Babcock (whose "scowls" the Free Press gathered in a photo gallery that feels like a farewell) than anything else said today, because my understanding is that Ken Holland never fails to return a phone call or text:
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland didn't return phone calls Tuesday or respond to text messages.
Babcock met with Holland on Tuesday and, according to ESPN.com, exchanged emails with Sabres general manager Tim Murray.
That's not normal, not abnormal, that's downright weird.
As Paul noted, the Vancouver Sun's Cam Cole at least suggested the obvious while discussing Todd McLellan's hiring by the Edmonton Oilers as Babcock continued to play the field at the World Championships:
The only way Ken Holland can screw this up--and by "this," I mean what appears to be a decently likely probability of Mike Babcock leaving Detroit for Big Money--is by doing what I believe Holland's not going to do on Wednesday in not announcing a head coach to replace Mike Babcock.
Just about everyone who has any sort of connection to the Red Wings believes that Jeff Blashill--a Michigander, the son of a policeman and someone who is both respected and incredibly well-liked by fellow coaches, by players and by "just about everyone" who interacts with him--is going to be the next head coach.
What Wings fans are going to need after THIRTEEN months of, "Where will Babcock go as the MOST IMPORTANT FREE AGENT EVER ZOMG ZOMG ZOMG" fanboying/girling from the press is closure, and we're probably not going to get it, because Ken Holland is nothing if not over-thorough, so we're most likely to go through another 2-4 weeks of the Wings speaking to the various head coaches out there and wondering who exactly IS going to replace Mike Babcock.
That's not what we want, that's not what we need, and while Jeff Blashill is currently quite busy coaching the Grand Rapids Griffins, they're not playing playoff hockey this week. IF Mike Babcock leaves, and it appears he just might do that, naming Jeff Blashill Babcock's immediate replacement would be the wisest course of action for the Wings' GM.
I just don't expect it to go down that way.
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.