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Toronto: Mike Babcock stayed six months less than he thought he would
Credit: CTV NEWS

Mike Babcock was a disaster in Toronto. The only positive aspect of his time in town is that he’s surely helped drive up coaching salaries in the NHL.

His eight-year, $50 million contract was crazy enough at the time… and even today, eight years later, it’s imposing.

But otherwise? His stint was a disaster. He wasn’t able to take the club to the next level, and we know he was fired because of the way his club was playing in 2019-2020… but also because of the way he treated his players.

The Mitch Marner event, where he forced the youngster to make a list of his teammates based on their work ethic before revealing it to the other guys, comes to mind in particular.

Babcock has partially denied this story, proving a real desire to change. #Sarcasm

Because the more I listen to the pilot talk, the more I get the feeling he’s saying just enough not to get hassled. In my opinion, he wants to prove that he can return to the NHL and he’s ready to say whatever it takes. The proof? Here:

The new coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, chosen over an adaptable guy like Patrick Roy, for example, sat down for an interview with Sportsnet. The subject of his time in Toronto attracted a lot of attention.

What did I take away from it? This.

Did I like the way they talked about me? No.

Do I think I did things the wrong way? Absolutely not. – Mike Babcock

I will confess that asking easy questions and answering them in the “politically correct” way is not my cup of tea. After all, I have a feeling he said that to get over his naughty behaviour.

But these sentences are empty.

He may say that he enjoyed his time in Toronto, that the fans love their field hockey, that “the restaurants are good in Toronto” or that he wishes success to his former guys (whose development he loves), but that doesn’t change the fact that these are empty comments.

The man who’s off to coach a fine gang in Columbus (hoping his ascendancy is positive over them…) also says that he didn’t think, even in 2015, that he’d still be in Toronto in 2023.

When I signed an eight-year contract, I thought I’d do five.

I did four and a half. – Mike Babcock

Clearly aware that coaches are interchangeable, I sense a guy who didn’t see himself having success in the playoffs. After all, if a guy wins in the playoffs, he stays.

In the end, he left six months ahead of schedule.

And even though he obviously knew that his huge contract might not be a deal breaker, he set the club back, having never made it past the first round.

I can’t wait to see if he’s really learned anything, because, as you can imagine, I have my doubts.

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