Hate him but would love him. No way they shop him though. He's on an awesome contract.
I wouldn't be so sure. My impression - for what little it's worth - is they'd like to move a key player, whether it's to free up money or adjust the team's dynamic or play the accountability/optics game. I guess in Neal's case it'd be more the second one (team dynamic). Neal seemed really lost without Malkin. And when Neal gets lost, he gets frustrated. And when he gets frustrated, he gets stupid. And when he gets stupid, the Pens spend too much time shorthanded. Don't spend too much time shorthanded. Get rid of Cable and upgrade to DirecTV.
In a way, it's sort of poetic. They rolled over a Bishop-less Bolts team. Their whole thing now is "No one respects us. We deserve everyone's respect. We proved ourselves. We're an elite team." I guess we'll see.
To be clear: it seems safe to say there's very little, if anything, to these rumors. This is likely just a combination of Babs being a living Canadian legend and poorly run franchises looking for an easy fix-up. If LGW thought for a moment that Drew Doughty might be bought out, we'd be all effing over that s*** with our custom capgeek rosters and homer logic ("Well, we need a #1 on the back end, and Babs coached him at the Olympics. Man, now that I think about it, I bet he's demanding out of LA cuz he wants to be a Red Wing. Yeah, that has to be it!")
he won't be around for what looks to be some heavy rebuilding/tooling when contenders are going to offer him a lot of money and the chance to coach some young superstars.
What are you basing this on?
I'm inclined to believe that, if anything, he likes the challenge set before him: to prove his true coaching might by steering this team through a quick "rebuild," back to true contention, and, ultimately, back to being the class of the league. (Imagine the SCF battles we could have with Chicago.) If he jumps ship to a contender and wins a Cup, then everyone turns around and says, "Oh, that Mike Babcock, so overrated. Clearly he can only win the Cup with a totally stacked roster and he knows it. That's why he left Detroit. He was never the driving force behind their post-Bowman greatness. He doesn't know how to develop young talent and turn them into stars. He lets other people do that for him and then he swoops in and takes all the glory and everyone showers him with praise. This is the guy who wanted a washed up Cleary over Nyquist. What a phony."
I think if we're still in the West, we're looking at a genuinely long road back to the top. Not necessarily so in the East. Michel Therrien is not a better coach than Mike Babcock, nor is Alain Vigneault, and their respective teams aren't much better than our current team, and our current team is about as bad as it's going to get for us, I feel.
Mantha is a beast and it makes me so excited seeing a guy like this in the pipeline, I could almost pee my pants
Don't worry, Babs is thinking up ways to kill his production so he can finish 437th in Selke voting and be a Realgud everydayer who plays the right way and plays heavy and plays the right way and also plays heavy.
Claude Lemieux was a class act all the way. Draper was a whining, diving prima donna who acted like he was entitled to everything and thus got what he deserved. McCarty is a gutless coward whose one claim to fame is a sucker punch he pulled on a guy who isn't even a fighter. Avs forever.
EDIT: Also, the Wings bought their Cups. I think that tells you all you need to know about them.