Mike Babcock named coach of Toronto Maple Leafs
Mike Babcock has been named the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. While there were reports yesterday that the longstanding Detroit Red Wings bench boss wasn't destined for Leafland, someone was misinformed or the Olympic gold medal-winning coach had a last minute change of heart.
Over the course of 12 seasons behind the Red Wings bench, Babcock posted a 527-285-119 record (plus 19 ties before the shoot-out was introduced). That record and the Stanley Cup he won with the team in 2008 made him one of the most sought after coaches in the league after he was granted permission to speak with other teams in early May.
TSN reports that Babcock has been signed to an eight year contract worth $50 million, which will handily make him the highest paid coach in the league (that's in the range of a star player's salary). This is the first bold addition by Brendan Shanahan since dispensing with GM Dave Nonis and the former coaching staff.
It is perhaps a bit strange to hire a coach before a GM (Cliff Fletcher did this with Ron Wilson prior to Brian Burke coming on as GM), but Babcock touts wide respect across the league, and the window to bring him in as coach was set to expire June 30th. What do you think of the move? Have the Leafs finally done something right?
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