The Seattle Whatchamacallits are going to need a head coach. Ironically, one of the most recognized and decorated coaches in this era of the NHL just became available after getting the oust from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Mike Babcock was relieved of his duties as head coach of the Maple Leafs this past week and within days, there is already talk about what his future holds. Is he going to take time away from the game? Will he be the leading candidate for any sudden coaching positions? Despite reports Babcock wasn’t a favourite of many of the players in the Maple Leafs dressing room, it’s a fair question when you consider how well-respected Babcock still is in the NHL community.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun recently broached the topic of Babcock’s future, saying he spoke directly to the Maple Leafs former bench boss.
Specifically, LeBrun discussed on TSN Insider Trading that Babcock is being considered for the new Seattle job. His answer was yes there a possible future there, but it wasn’t necessarily a black and white question.
LeBrun explained how the Maple Leafs have the option to force any new team that might be interested in hiring Babcock to pick up his entire ticket — three more seasons at $5.75 million per season. Ouch. Add to that, there’s no guarantee Babcock wants to coach right away.
“Mike Babcock right now wants to decompress. He’s going to do a lot of skiing this winter, that’s his focus. Certainly I think he’s going to take his time. It’s not a guarantee that he will coach again. I think he will. I think he’s going to miss it too much.”
What This Means For Babcock
Don’t expect Babcock’s situation to find a resolution anytime soon. More likely, he stays on Seattle’s radar but they have time to make a decision. And, while they wait, Toronto keeps paying Babcock’s salary.
Not to mention, why would Babcock — the highest paid coach in NHL history not to be coaching a team — be quick to answer the phone from any team that might be interested? They need to first talk to the Maple Leafs, figure out what Toronto will want that franchise to eat in terms of salary, then come up with a number that pays Babcock close-to, if not more than what he’s already making to take a vacation.
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