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Photos: Mike Babcock proves that even in a small market, he has to be perfect
Credit: CTV NEWS
Yesterday morning, we learned that Mike Babcock was still caught up in a Mike Babcock story. #Surprise

The Blue Jackets coach, who has taken a break (I’m sure he’s just saying it to avoid saying he’s been kicked out) from NHL field hockey in recent years, has allegedly forced his players to show him the photos they have on their cell phones.

It was the Spittin’ Chiclets gang who first broke the news, and since then, it’s taken on major proportions.

Paul Bissonnette, the man behind the story, isn’t holding back. He’s even published conversations (without naming names, of course) showing that several people have informed him of the situation and that he’s not making this up.

And since yesterday, it’s been the talk of the town.

A lot of people have come to the coach’s defense (including the main interested party and including Boone Jenner, the Jackets captain who has been quoted in the file), saying that it was just a voluntary photo sharing.

Of course, I don’t know the full story. Only those who have lived through the moment with Babcock (whether in Columbus or before) really know what’s going on.

But the problem is that the situation is quite defensible.

When you read the Jackets’ statement , where it says it’s a voluntary sharing of photos), you think it’s a tempest in a teapot and there’s nothing there.

When you read Elliotte Friedman, who doesn’t really seem to speak against Babcock in his piece on the subject, you have to wonder about the veracity of the accusations made against the coach.

But there’s a world out there where guys don’t want to speak publicly against the former Mighty Ducks, Red Wings and Maple Leafs because it’s a known fact: he’s a bully. Did we think of that one?

In the official versions, Babcock is said to have asked to see family photos, which is harmless. Have you thought about the fact that if a player tells his coach that he doesn’t want to show him his family photos in his cell phone, and it gets out, he’s going to look like a cellar dweller?

Have you ever thought about the fact that Babcock has intimidated his players to no end in the past and that his current players, while unable to put into words why they don’t want to show Babcock their photos, may not be comfortable doing so?

Even if this isn’t, on paper, an attack on player privacy as such, it’s hard to say no to Babcock for such a request without coming across as someone with something to hide.

As I said, I’ve never been asked by the coach to show him my photos. So I can’t make any accusations – although many of you will have gathered that the coach isn’t exactly my favourite. Let’s put it that way to be polite.

But it does show one thing: even if he hid in a small market in Columbus for his comeback, Babcock will be spied on this year. And I hope he stands tall, because I feel sorry for the guys who play in Columbus.

And I’m not saying that because they live in Ohio: I’m saying that because the players may be going through hell with a coach who doesn’t know how to deal with human beings and who obviously has the confidence of his new bosses to do whatever he wants.

Don’t forget, by the way, that behind all the positive comments, there are former NHL players who know what’s really going on with Babcock behind the bench.


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– Too bad.

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– News from good old Craig Rivet.

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