Only Toronto, Nobody Else
“What would you rather have, fame or fortune?” If you take the former, my friend, you are a f***ing moron. This opening has basically ZERO to do with what I’m about to write about, but it was on my mind. I want anyone who is reading this to understand that if you answer that question “fame”, then I never want to be associated with you in anyway ever again you attention whore.
Ok, so Mike Babcock….
As I should damn well hope you already know, he is a free agent after this season. You probably have heard this a lot in the last 48 hours specifically as Randy Carlyle was fired in Toronto and now they’ll be all in to get him. And if you ask the Toronto media, if he leaves Detroit then OF COURSE he’s going to the Leafs.
I’ll tell you, the reputation the Toronto media has is totally justified and this is exhibit A. Most of these guys would pick fame over fortune I’m certain (hey it actually did factor in!) Do these guys not realize that there are 28 other teams in the NHL, and likely 20 that would kill to get Mike Babcock behind their bench?!
Of course they don’t. They’re in their little Toronto bubble and can’t see outside of it. I’m not here to say that Babcock wouldn’t go to Toronto. If they make a killer offer and he wants the challenge of winning in Toronto then he will go to Toronto. But if he is to leave Detroit for a new gig, there are PLENTY of other spots that are or could be much better fits. A lot of pro sports and where guys land is basically about a buddy system, the only guy in Toronto who has ties to Babcock is Shanahan. He played for Babcock for 1 season. I wouldn’t say they’re tight with one and other.
The Leafs are a mess right now. Brian Burke rebuilt this team into exactly what they were when Leaf fans were begging for him to go there in 2008. Sundin, Kaberle, McCabe, Tucker and Kubina have now been replaced by Kessel, Phaneuf, Lupul, and Clarkson (can’t pin him on Burke, that was Nonis). So I guess it’s progress to have this narrowed down to 4 guys weighing you down rather than 5, but it’s really no better.
The Leafs don’t have much on the come either. Willie Nylander? Great, a small winger. Let me tell you something that as an Oiler fan I can say without question, those are the guys you want to build around…
So this team is really in no man’s land, and everyone who goes to Toronto fails miserably likely because of how MLSE is a corporation and have far too many cooks in the kitchen so to speak, yet Babcock is just going to be all over Toronto hey? Ok…
So he would pick Toronto over Edmonton right? Edmonton who are a year away from moving into a state of the art facility after this season, who have tons of assets, tons of young talent to work with, Bob Nicholson in charge who worked with Babcock for both the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and possibly about to land a once in a generation talent with the top pick in the 2015 draft (and if not him, then a kid damn close to him with the 2nd pick). So THAT spot isn’t as good as Toronto?
Not to mention you’ll still have all the glory of taking a team in a hockey mad city from the bottom to the top. A city that is the closest in proximity to Babcock’s home town in the NHL. Oh, and did I mention the Oilers can match anything the Leafs offer him in terms of money?
But some of you reading this likely think I’m being an Oilers homer right now, pointing out all their positives and none of their flaws.
No doubt, the Oilers to make it happen in my mind would have to clean house in the front office, would have to give Babcock some say over player personnel moves, and would have to bring in a GM who would be on board with hiring Mike. If the Oilers don’t do this, I doubt Bob Nicholson’s influence and Connor McDavid would be enough to make Edmonton attractive. But IF they cleaned house (big if considering the owner fetishizes over the men he has in charge) it would be tough to compete with what they could offer.
But other teams can…if they have a spot available. You don’t think Philly would go hard after him?! And again, the Flyers have a fan base hungry for their 1st Cup in what next year will be 41 years. And the Flyers have a lot more young assets to play with than the Leafs. And again, they can match any money offer.
What about the Habs? Babcock went to college at McGill, Michel Therrien has done a good job there but you would be nuts to think Marc Bergevin wouldn’t can him if he knew he could get Babcock in there. The top team in the East, all world goaltender that Babcock had at the Olympics, all world D-man, a good young group of forwards including Alex Galchenyuk and a real good farm system that is pumping out kids left and right. Oh yeah, and again, they can match any money offer.
But no, don’t tell the Toronto media that. It’s between the Leafs and Wings, that’s it. Because you know, Toronto is the end all be all. Holy hell this media contingent is something else. Is it just for clicks? Probably. The war between TSN and Sportsnet right now might be at an all time high. TSN is desperate to hold on to viewers, and Sportsnet hired guys more about shock value than actual insight when they were desperate to get viewers. But can anyone have ACTUAL insight here? Just a BIT?!
Babcock I doubt leaves Detroit. I think he’s going to wait until after the season, there is zero reason for him to rush signing an extension. Their superstars are fading and guys like Nyqvist and Tartar get vastly overrated in terms of being franchise players down the road. But Mike Ilitch is more than willing to spend what he has to, he might have the best GM in hockey running the show, and they are also on the verge of moving into a state of the art facility in down town Detroit.
But should he leave all that, there will be no shortage of opportunity for him, not just Toronto, much to the Toronto media’s dismay.
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