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Toronto Star’s Feschuk’s suggestion that Babcock wants out stuffs words into coach’s mouth

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock seems to have at least taken some amusement from the media's suggestions that his end-of-season comments about his contract status hinted that he "wants out," but Babcock--who will be named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year in a couple hours--generally reserves his meanest, zap-holes-through-you death stares for members of the media who attempt to put words in his mouth. He hates the practice with a passion.

You can hear the near-growl in Babcock's voice when he responds to a question with, "I didn't say that" or, "I never said that." Regrettably, the coach's repeated radio appearances stating that he's happy in Detroit, that he wants to remain with the Red Wings after his contract expires next summer, and that he feels his relationship with his general manager and ownership are productive two-way streets...

Have done absolutely nothing to quell the coaching rumor mill from turning. This morning, the Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk's declared that the, "Maple Leafs should go big with Babcock," suggesting the following...

In a curious development in Detroit, Babcock has said it’s doubtful he will talk with the Red Wings about a contract extension this summer. There have been suggestions that he’s waiting to see what the Red Wings will do to upgrade their roster; that he’s of the mind Detroit’s Stanley Cup window may have already closed in the waning days of the Datsyuk-Zetterberg era; that the man who’s won pretty much everything at age 51 might be intrigued by the idea of new challenges. He might enjoy working in a place where playoff games aren’t taken as a ho-hum given.

We all saw Babcock lapping up the spotlight in Sochi earlier this year: he relished his time at the centre of the hubbub created by Canada’s national team. His stellar work at the Olympics, on the bench and on the podium, is only proof he’d be the perfect daily spokesman for the country’s most fussed-over NHL team.

But this isn’t simply about media savvy. Babcock is a better fit for this Leafs roster than [coach Randy] Carlyle ever will be. For two-plus seasons Carlyle’s been trying to get a speed and finesse team to play a power game. It would be intriguing to see Babcock, a believer in the power of puck possession, trying to flip Toronto’s notoriously hopeless shot differential on its head.

What else could the Leafs offer Babcock other than a possibly impossible task? Well, he’s making a reported $2 million in Detroit; the Leafs, who have money above all things, could heap far more on his annual pay stub.

And this is baffling as baffling can be--it's patently false, too...

Those who know him say he’d also like more say in organizational decisions, which can’t happen in a Detroit hierarchy in which the accomplished Ken Holland runs the show. Shanahan, a self-professed consensus builder who’s heading into in his rookie season running an NHL franchise and played a season under Babcock in Detroit, could woo his former coach with the promise of input and influence.

While this is just dumb:

[If] Holland and Babcock see their relationship heading for a mutually agreeable end — and the lack of an extension suggests this is likely — maybe Holland doesn’t put up much of a fight. Maybe the Red Wings don’t relish the idea of spending the next year with Babcock in limbo and musing publicly about the direction of the franchise. And even if it might give Holland pause to envision Babcock coaching a division rival, maybe the Red Wings are of the belief they, too, are in need of a change.

Feschuk continues, but in doing so, he proves that the "Leaf Media" has no grasp on the situation at all, and that any sort of situation in which Babcock would leave the Red Wings to join Toronto or any other Canadian team would involve significant every-day dealings with a media corps in which words were shoved into the coach's mouth.

Babcock made the Red Wings' interns print out and highlight EVERY instance of his name being mentioned by the media during the 2009 Stanley Cup Final so he could keep tabs on those who were misquoting him, and that's all you need to know about the concept of money buying happiness for a coach who's going to remain in Detroit for a long time to come.

You can't have him, Toronto. He's our slightly loony, slightly paranoid, slightly innervating genius, and in Detroit, Babcock's repeatedly stated that he's happy, he's working for an organization with "ultracompetitive" people and a general manager who lets the coach speak his mind regarding the player personnel decisions, and he's probably going to get a big, fat raise to continue coaching here over the next six to eight months.

It's not gonna happen, especially if you keep stuffing words into his mouth, because he hates that.

Quickie update: And let's not forget that Brendan Shanahan was one of the three or four players who LEFT DETROIT because he and Babcock didn't get along (Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider and Mike Commodore are the other confirmed cases)--and that Babcock's stubborn bull-headedness didn't mesh well with Shanahan's personality at all...

Quickie update #2: FYI:

Mr. Richard Peddie was the CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

Let's just go with, "Not gonna happen" here.

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Comments

Avatar

Hilarious, why would Babcock want to ruin his life and coach the Maple Leafs?  Everyone else knows that the Leaf organization is the end of the road.  There are guys like Shanahan who look at a challenge,  success in Toronto would make you the “man of the decade” .  Media is like watching the movie “Piranha” lots of blood and guts.

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 05/06/14 at 09:05 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

I just love how Leafs fans and media just assume anyone who has every strapped on skates, or knows the difference between a puck and a Zamboni, is someone who greatly desires to be a part of the Leafs organization at some point.

99% of the time it proves untrue, but still they keep on keepin’ on

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 05/06/14 at 09:24 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Richard Peddie’s Tweet is telling. He was Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s head honcho for over a decade, and he reminds us that the Red Wings can—and will—protect Babcock from being poached.

Coaches and managers aren’t like players. They don’t have to be made available to other teams. If the Wings don’t want to let Babcock be wooed by Toronto, they won’t let him be wooed by Toronto.

Just as Ken Holland reminds us that he isn’t running a fantasy hockey team in terms of its player personnel decisions, the coaching and managerial personnel aren’t suddenly and magically given away.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/06/14 at 09:36 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

What else could the Leafs offer Babcock other than a possibly impossible task? Well, he’s making a reported $2 million in Detroit; the Leafs, who have money above all things, could heap far more on his annual pay stub.

When the idea of Babcock taking over for Red Berenson was being discussed, I thought Babs could make as much, if not more, coaching hockey at the U of M as he makes in Detroit. Well, I was way off.

With salary plus “additional compensation,” Berenson makes about $440,000 a year – far less than the $2M Babcock makes in Detroit. And the highest paid college hockey coach (at, of all places, the Univ. of New Hampshire) gets a salary of only $382,000 a year.

So if Babcock leaves Detroit for a college job, it won’t be because of the money. And I’m guessing the same would hold true if he takes another NHL job.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/06/14 at 09:47 AM ET

calquake's avatar

I’ve been a little sad since the Wings were eliminated but this article just makes me shake my head and chuckle.

Posted by calquake on 05/06/14 at 09:52 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Tronna’s press need to get going on Barry Trotz before they lose him to places like FLA or WAS.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 05/06/14 at 10:41 AM ET

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Then why are the Wings holding onto Blashill?  If Babs is staying for the near future and then some, why keep Blashill?  I don’t think Babcock wants out, but I do think he could be intrigued by an offer and maybe wants to bask in the glow of the spotlight, considering that ken Holland seems to get all the credit and none of the blame from the media

Posted by bababooey on 05/06/14 at 11:14 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

The Wings are “holding onto Blashill” because he likes his job for the present moment and they like the job he’s doing. Holland also made the comment that he’s not happy with the concept of continuing to be a school for other teams’ coaches and managers, either.

Blashill is *happy in Western Michigan* with a very young family and for the present moment, he’s where he wants to be.

And Babcock can’t be “intrigued by an offer” when the team has every right to inform other teams that Babcock is not available to negotiate with. That’s how coaching and managerial contracts work—if you don’t want to allow another team to try to poach away a coach, they’re not allowed to talk to him. If they do, that’s collusion and circumvention and they get fined millions of dollars.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/06/14 at 11:23 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

If Babs is staying for the near future and then some, why keep Blashill?

Also worth mentioning: Holland later clarified that he meant other teams could not speak to Blashill until after the Griffins finished up their playoffs (as I recall).  So, things could theoretically get interesting this summer.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/06/14 at 12:22 PM ET

Avatar

Right.  Blashill likes Grand Rapids so much he would.pass up the money and prestige of an NHL gig so he can ride buses to places like Iowa.  And Babcock can do what he wants, what he can’t do is take another job while employed by the Wings.  It doesn’t mean he can’t flirt.

Posted by bababooey on 05/06/14 at 02:39 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Tronna’s press need to get going on Barry Trotz before they lose him to places like FLA or WAS.

They should act quickly on Trotz. He will be gone soon.

Posted by bigfrog on 05/06/14 at 02:54 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

And Babcock can do what he wants, what he can’t do is take another job while employed by the Wings.  It doesn’t mean he can’t flirt.

Posted by bababooey on 05/06/14 at 03:39 PM ET

You could not be more wrong.  Do you really think teams are asking KH if they can negotiate with Blashill because they want to?  No, they have to.  And it’s the same with Babs and every other contract employee in the league.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 05/06/14 at 03:14 PM ET

Crater's avatar

  It doesn’t mean he can’t flirt.

Posted by bababooey on 05/06/14 at 03:39 PM ET

Legally, yes it actually does mean he can’t flirt. Unless the Wings say its okay.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 05/06/14 at 03:16 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Matt Dery of 105.1 had Feschuk on today, you can listen to the interview here.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/06/14 at 03:22 PM ET

Avatar

Toronto has a hockey club?

Posted by Bay Area Wings fan on 05/06/14 at 04:13 PM ET

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For two-plus seasons Carlyle’s been trying to get a speed and finesse team to play a power game

Well, imo, the statement is also very true if we change Carlyle to Babcock and Toronto to Detroit.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/06/14 at 08:06 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by Bay Area Wings fan on 05/06/14 at 05:13 PM ET

Yeah, they play in that retractable domed stadium.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 05/07/14 at 12:58 PM ET

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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.