Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on Hockey Night in Canada
“When you’ve been in a place nine years like I have, going into my 10th year, it becomes a mutual thing. You want to be someplace where they want you. If they don’t want you, you move on. I’m going to coach in the league for a long time yet, there’s going to be opportunities for me. I like what we’ve done in Detroit; we’ve rebuilt on the fly…I think we have a chance to be better next year and better in the future. So, I tell people all the time: I’ve got a good place to hunt, I’ve got a good place to water ski, my family’s happy, my youngest girl is finishing school next year so I’m free that way. But there’s no reason to move if you don’t have to move or if it doesn’t excite you to. I’ve always been a believer that the grass is greener right here at home as long as you fertilize and water.”
He is not going anywhere! No more Babcock leaving or being fired threads needed. Let the league of idiots have their fun dreaming but that is about all they will get. Babs is home here in Detroit! We did not have to have a long rebuilding process due to our scouting and farm system. Even this past year we could have completed as much as any had we been healthy enough. We add health, more experienced youth, less dead weight and another piece or 2 and we are right back in the thick with a very long bright future to go along with the rich history, best owner and a very good GM (even though I don't like all his moves, or lack of moves).
I doubt he's going anywhere real soon either, but I think you're giving the system a little too much credit on the rebuilding process front. The kids floundered in the playoffs, and if we were healthier, we might've just had an old lineup that couldn't get it done. And the reality is that Z's back is going to force him into a decline quicker than he would if he didn't have back issues. I'm not saying he won't be effective or a great leader, but he is at the very least unlikely to continue to produce at a high level as more time goes by.
And yes, you add health, get some more experience for the kids and less dead weight and we're in better shape for sure on some levels, but a lot of this stuff has been said each summer for 4-5 years now. Very little has been done to improve the roster outside of bringing up prospects that has worked, and that is a very clear fact at this point, not speculation. Until we see some real changes in the way Holland puts this team together, I still think we're ultimately in a slow decline. We will not be able to continue to compete at a playoff level as Dats and Z decline with our defense. Even if Jimmy bounces back from a rough year, our defense is far too often a huge liability and you can't expect your goalie to stop everything. Holland first and foremost has to make a real commitment to improving the defense. If another summer goes by and nothing on that front changes, something in management has to change.
That said, again, I don't think Babcock is eager to jump ship at all and I don't think it'll necessarily happen right away, but I think it's more than fair to infer that he wants to keep his options open for a reason. If he truly believed in how green his grass can be here in Detroit, he wouldn't flat out say that he's not going to sign an extension this summer, especially after Holland flat out said he wants to sign Babcock to an extension this summer. Clearly, it's not about money as Babcock is already one of if not the highest paid coach and Holland would beat any salary another team would throw at him. If it's not about money and he believes that this will continue to be a good place to be, why is he unwilling to talk about an extension?
Sure, there could be nothing to it, but I think there's likely to be something more to it if he's willing to flat out shut down the possibility of something the GM has expressed he wants. Add to that Holland's unwillingness to let Blashill go yet with Babcock's future not set in stone and at the very least, you have two parties that are covering their asses, obviously for some reason.
If Holland again is unable to make this team better and it's another season of struggling just to make the playoffs only to lose early on, it's hard to imagine Babcock won't be interested in at the very least hearing about what's out there. He still might not leave, even if he gets a great offer, as I don't think he's misleading anyone when he says he's happy here. But I don't see him continuing to coach weak teams who's only hope is squeaking into the playoffs. I think we're starting to see that the idea that anyone making the playoffs has a chance isn't is true as it seemed for a few years. Babcock wants to win, bottom line. He's loyal, but he knows full well that this isn't the only job he'll be able to get and he's made that clear several times recently, while also shooting down talks of an extension.