Pierre Lebrun weighed in on the Mike Babcock situation today on Leafs Lunch.
I’ve talked to Mike Babcock in the last hour here. Mike didn’t have too much to say other than he is meeting with Holland tomorrow morning. He would meet with him every year at this time when the season ends. This will probably be a pretty important and emotional discussion, but Babcock didn’t have much else; [he’s] undecided at this point, guys. He really was waiting to the end of the year to talk about it with his family and Ken Holland and go from there. That process starts tomorrow and we’ll see where it goes. At this point he says he hasn’t made any decisions.
On Babcock’s options:
Don’t forget he could also stay in Detroit. That’s the point of him saying he’s undecided. If he was decided he either would’ve said nothing or he would’ve said [his decision]. He’s got a lot of ties and a lot of time for the Illitch family, so this is going to be really tough for him. If he does leave, that would be the first decision. This is going to be a two-step thing. When he decides it’s time to hit the market, that will be a big story that day, as soon as tomorrow or within the next couple weeks. There’s step A. Step B obviously is him playing the market and seeing what is out there. Let’s see what happens in Boston, are there any teams if they lose badly in the second round are going to fire their coach? I don’t think so, but I guess you wouldn’t want to be Bruce Boudreau if the Flames upset you in the second round. The path seems desirable for the Ducks to get the to a Conference Final right now and that would be the expectations from Ducks management. Aside from that, I think most of the openings are there. Again, Babcock has to see if this is the route he chooses. At this point, this hour, he hasn’t made that decision.
On potential sleeper teams:
I’m not sure a team comes to mind. I don’t wish anything bad at all to Bruce Boudreau, I think he’s gone an unbelievable job in Anaheim, but, like I said, that’s a series they cant afford to lose I don’t think. Other than that, I think the teams are in front of us that would be in contention. I still think Buffalo is awfully intriguing; although, by not getting McDavid, how much that would hurt them, I don’t know. You know there’s a connection between Tim Murray and Mike Babcock in terms of Tim Murray hiring Mike Babcock for his first NHL coaching gig back in Anaheim eons ago. Obviously the Leafs will make their pitch, and Philadelphia. He’s going to have the pick of the litter. Certainly if he makes the emotional ties to cut ties with Detroit – I say if, because he may stay – but if he leaves, clearly at that point there’s a huge financial pricetag attached to him. In other words, if I am one of these teams; offering a lot of money but offering a lot-a lot of money are two different things. Don’t think you’re going in because you’re X team in a certain market with a great history that that’s going to put you over the edge. There’s a lot of factors here, but the bottom line is don’t fool around with the offer either is my suggestion.
Pierre’s gut feel:
It’s tough to read him. If you’re asking me if he’s staying or leaving, I think I would bet on leaving. . I could be wrong, but I think he’s leaving. I think, at the end of the day, the two teams that would really keep an eye on are Buffalo and Edmonton because of different connections. Tim Murray, the Buffalo connection. In Edmonton, obviously, Bob Nicholson and Peter Chiarelli worked with him at the Olympics. So they’re important connections. We all know who is going to be drafted in Edmonton too so, I think those are the two teams intriguing to me as far as if he does ever decide to leave, going somewhere where he’s getting in on the ground up.