The Free Press's Drew Sharp hasn't been paying attention to the whole, "Blues and Sharks are also interested" news, but in discussing Mike Babcock's courtship with the Sabres and Maple Leafs, he may speak for those of you who watched or read about Babcock and Ken Holland's interview on TSN this past Friday, wondering why exactly Babcock has chosen to "play the field" when the field has turned out to be such a limited market for the services of--to take Sharp's tone--the supposedly hottest coach on the planet:
If there truly wasn't a better job than what he has, what is the point in dangling your gold medals out there to see what you can attract unless this coach fishing expedition was nothing more than an exercise in personal vanity? If there was absolute confidence that the Wings' next transformative star (à la Pavel Datsyuk) already was in the organization and perhaps a year or two away from blossoming, then wouldn't Babcock have agreed to the second generous contract extension in six months Holland offered in January if this were truly "the better job"?
It's believed that only Toronto and Buffalo submitted the necessary compensation paperwork to the league. The Wings demanded a third-round pick within the next three years for any team that signs Babcock. The Wings remain a better option than the Leafs and Sabres, but that doesn't mean they're any closer to seriously contending for a Stanley Cup in the immediate future.
And wasn't that Babcock's self-imposed bottom line in this process?
It's still stunning that Pittsburgh showed no interest in Babcock, considering Sidney Crosby's vast organizational influence and that the Penguins have the impactful stars Babcock seeks in Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who are under 30. Boston apparently balked as well after missing the playoffs.
And then Montreal didn't hesitate endorsing head coach Michel Therrien's return soon after Tampa Bay eliminated the Habs in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.