The Malik Report
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.
Mickey Redmond spoke with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Drew and Marc on Tuesday afternoon, and even the late-breaking news that the Sabres may have offered Mike Babcock a $50 million deal didn't change Mickey's belief that Babcock will remain in Detroit, though the money got repeated, "Holy jumpin'" utterances from the Mickster:
Have fun with these:
Will update with LeBrun's Babcock story, which will hit shortly.
Update: Here's LeBrun:
added at 5:05 PM:
added at 5:08 PM:
Update: Here's St. James in text form:
from John Vogle of the Buffalo News,
Mike Babcock is scheduled to meet with his family Tuesday night to decide his future. A source in the NHL coaching fraternity predicts the decision will be Buffalo.
The Sabres’ contract offer is far better than Detroit’s reported extension of $3.25 million per season, so much so that it will alleviate any concerns Babcock’s family has about leaving Michigan, the source told The Buffalo News on Tuesday.
Though Babcock was set to have one last talk with Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland on Tuesday, Detroit was not believed to be interested in joining a bidding war. Babcock is finishing a deal that pays $2 million per year.
Money is merely one factor in Babcock’s decision, but it’s an important one on several levels.
Among Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts":
13. We are less than 48 hours from the conclusion of Babwatch. What have we learned so far? The market for Babcock wasn’t as wide-ranging as we thought.
Edmonton’s decision to go hard after McLellan altered things. But the more we look back at everything that’s happened, the more I wonder about the toll this process is taking on the Red Wings.
Just about every conversation about his future includes some reference to, “It is so strange to see Detroit involved in this.” The Ilitches and Ken Holland have a certain way they prefer to do business — as quietly and as dignified as possible. This has been very different, and I can’t imagine they are comfortable with it. Is there any way this damages the relationship?
This is probably going to sound campy, but somebody needs to say it out loud:
Of all the comments I've read about Mike Babcock's coaching search--especially those written in context of acceptance that the Red Wings won't be making massive personnel changes this summer due to a crappy free agent class and Ken Holland's reluctance to make trades--Wings fans seem to be resigned to the concept of slow, steady prospect development as long as Babcock either leaves or comes back somewhat changed by his daliances with other teams.
There's a strong sense that Babcock's message has gotten stale--with the fans--and that whatever Babcock's learned during his interviews with the Sabres, Maple Leafs, Blues and Sharks must be applied to help improve the Wings and perhaps help improve the media relations of someone who's really, really starting to grate on the fans' nerves because his confrontational, information-war act has gotten tiresome.
The vulnerability and out-and-out honesty of someone who's generally paid to skirt the truth has been tremendously refreshing, but fans are more than willing to put up with same old Babs in the press if the man applies some changes to the team's game plan systems and player personnel decisions.
What do you think Babcock would "need to change" to come back from his job search as a better-prepared and plain old better Red Wings coach?
Updated 11x at 1:53 PM: Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Denny Kapp has something of a scoop this morning:
The Score's Justin Cuthbert offers this set of quips from the interview...
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