It has been a bit over 15 months since Mike Babcock final stepped behind an NHL bench. The Maple Leafs fired him on Nov. 20, 2019, following a six-game skid and a bit greater than 4 seasons with the membership.
Not lengthy after his dismissal, it was revealed that in 2017, Babcock requested Leafs ahead Mitch Marner to rank how he considered his teammates’ work ethic. Babcock revealed the listing to the group. He instructed Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman in 2019 that he apologized on the time for doing so.
However then extra got here out.
Mike Commodore and Mark Fraser went on social media to touch upon their points along with his teaching ways and therapy of gamers. Then, Hockey Corridor of Famer Chris Chelios disclosed on “Spittin’ Chiclets” that Babcock verbally assaulted former Johan Franzen. The previous ahead instructed a Swedish publication that Babcock is “the worst individual I’ve ever met. A bully.”
Babcock has returned to the highlight previously few months after time away. He labored with the College of Vermont males’s hockey group. He joined NBC half time as a studio analyst. He spoke to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun about a variety of matters. Most lately, he was employed as head coach of the College of Saskatchewan’s males’s hockey group.
On Wednesday, earlier than the Flames performed Babcock’s final group, the Maple Leafs, Sportsnet aired a sit-down interview performed by Christine Simpson. Whereas Babcock might need been trying to clear the air, he as an alternative got here off as defensive and at occasions did not actually put the onus on himself for what transpired.
“What occurred, I used to be in a tree stand, searching on my farm in Ohio, and I get this factor, and I mentioned, ‘Yeah, I apologize for that.’ However I did not know the story wasn’t proper,” Babcock mentioned when requested in regards to the Marner incident. “Mitch was at a time that it wasn’t going fairly pretty much as good. He was in my workplace and I mentioned: ‘Rank your self on the work ethic listing.’ And he did. And there was nothing mistaken with our dialog. Mitch Marner performed nice for Mike Babcock. I can not complain one bit, it was unbelievable.
“So then what occurred, although, is I introduced in, and I believe it was Bozy [Tyler Bozak], however I left the Mitch Marner factor on the desk. After which I referred to it and as quickly as I did it, I knew I would finished the mistaken factor.
“I walked out after speaking to Bozy and I mentioned to Mitch: ‘That is what I’ve finished. I’ve screwed ya. There was no intent on my half. Would you like me to cope with it in entrance of the group proper there?’ And I should not have requested him that, I ought to have simply finished it.
“Was it mistaken? Sure. Was it my fault? 100 p.c. Do I personal that? Yeah, however in case you assume it is a tactic to haze a man or one thing, that is the craziest factor ever. We attempt to make these gamers the very best we may. Our intention is all the time good. Can we do issues mistaken generally? A hundred percent.”
Simpson then pressed him on what Franzen mentioned.
“I believed we had a extremely good relationship,” Babcock responded. “Now, did issues not go pretty much as good at occasions? Completely. Did I ever, in my thoughts, attempt to bully anyone? That’s the craziest factor I’ve ever heard of.
“Now, I additionally although, did not even know what psychological well being was,” he mentioned, which is an fascinating factor for somebody who took sports activities psychology lessons at McGill College post-graduation after incomes an schooling diploma. “Anytime somebody, whether or not they give you the results you want, whether or not you are in a relationship with, feels that — you are mistaken. You by no means wish to cross the road and while you do you wish to personal it. And in case you do, you need to personal it. However in case you did not, you should not personal that both.”
Babcock mentioned he did attain out to Franzen however the now-former NHLer didn’t get again to him.
“I’ve coached 34 years. Let’s go 20 guys. Let’s do the mathematics. Numerous gamers,” he mentioned. “I’ve coached Olympic groups. I’ve modified goalies. I’ve coached veteran groups in the Stanley Cup Ultimate and scratched guys. You’ve got made folks mad. That is actuality. You recognize, I’ve coached loads of groups and had loads of success, and good folks have employed me.
“I did not have a Zoom assembly with Brian Murray earlier than I went to Anaheim. I went to Detroit. Jimmy Nill was my GM on the ’04 world championship. They employed me. Steve Yzerman performed for me and labored with me for 4 years, and he employed me for 2 Olympics. Brendan Shanahan employed me after enjoying for me. A few of this, the scent take a look at would not add up.”
He then went after Sportsnet within the interview when requested if he disputes the tales.
“Oh, sure, however I additionally, let’s get this clear as a result of you understand how you guys can edit these items. I’ve tried my best to deal with folks proper. I nonetheless do. You may’t have a household I’ve, and the alternatives I’ve had with out treating folks good. Have I crossed the road ever? Completely. In saying that, while you get into psychological well being, that is a manner totally different program. Nobody ever must be in that scenario. So while you crossed the road it’s important to personal that.”
It is not sounding like Babcock is proudly owning it.
Daniel Elton, senior editor at Wahu Times, writes about politics and policy with a focus on climate advocacy. Daniel previously at the New Republic and, and Self. Daniel can be reached by email.