I've said it before and I'll say it again, Mike Babcock is a good coach who just joined the Toronto Maple Leafs.
And so were Pat Quinn. Ron Wilson, and Randy Carlyle before him. To say he's a great coach is a stretch, but the best in hockey? Not a chance friends.
Mike Babcock is what he thought he was, a candid, mostly honest and hard working guy. If you listened carefully, he said everything you needed to know in yesterday's press conference in 2 sentences: "This is a massive challenge" and that "It was an offer I had to take". I didn't love the first statement - because I thought winning was his top priority, and for the first time in 10 years we heard him accept that "painful" or tough times are coming, and I also thought his problem with Detroit was that we didn't have a Pavel Datsyuk (franchise center) or a Nick Lidstrom (on the back end) in our pool of prospects, but I get it - the last thing Toronto needs (and I live here) are unreal expectations, so he said what he had to.
But the real reason "this was an offer he couldn't refuse" isn't because of the city, the team, or the "jersey" - and certainly isn't because Toronto has a brighter future than Buffalo or Detroit. It was because he was offered a game changing contract that probably elevates the way NHL coaches will be paid forever. Like players, coaches are also in a union - and have a unilateral responsibility to take action when it positively effects the fraternity. For example, as much as coaches in the Atlantic division might not want to play Babcock 4 times a year, they also raised a beer to him yesterday for arbitrarily making his rival's more money.
If you are worried about Babcock turning the Leafs into a contending team in the near future - please sleep easy tonight. He (himself) has already dismissed that motion several times.
If you are worried about the Detroit Red Wings taking a step back, please wake up. This team has a fantastic coach on the way - and they knew that all along. There's a reason why Ken Holland publicly said "money will not be an issue" yet consistently offered less than anyone else. Oh ya, and about that Franchise Center - seems like Dylan Larkin at 18 years old is about to turn Pro - Datsyuk was 24.
- krsmith17 likes this