Blue Jackets to name 2008 Stanley Cup champion Babcock head coach

By Sports Desk June 03, 2023

The Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to name Mike Babcock their next head coach, according to multiple reports.

The deal is expected to become official on June 30, when Babcock’s eight-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs expires. He hasn’t coached in the NHL since Toronto fired him 23 games into the 2019-20 season, ending a near five-year tenure with the team.

Babcock began his NHL coaching career with the Anaheim Ducks in 2002-03 before moving on to the Detroit Red Wings for 10 seasons, starting in 2005-06. He led the Red Wings to the 2007-08 Stanley Cup championship and won two conference titles with Detroit (2008, 2009) and one with Anaheim (2003).

The Maple Leafs reached the playoffs in three straight seasons under Babcock but were eliminated in the first round each time.

After he was fired by Toronto on November 20, 2019, Babcock faced multiple accusations of player mistreatment. Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore has criticized Babcock for his coaching style, and former Red Wings forward Johan Franzen accused him of verbally abusing him.

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said Babcock’s tactics were not “appropriate or acceptable,” given how times had changed in the NHL.

He will take over a Columbus team that fired Brad Larsen, who went 62-85-16 in two seasons behind the bench, after finishing with an Eastern Conference-worst 59 points this season. The Blue Jackets have won just two playoff rounds in their 22-year history.

Babcock ranks 13th all-time with 700 wins and his .608 points percentage is the fourth best among NHL coaches with at least 1,000 games.




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