Frederik Gauthier’s Rimouski Oceanic is set to face off against the Oshawa Generals in Gauthier’s first game of the Memorial Cup. The game is live on Sportsnet at 4:30 p.m. EST.
Gauthier has 16 points in 20 playoff games, slowing down after a very productive start to his playoffs offensively, but he chipped in an assist on Rimouski’s winning goal in the decisive QMJHL Final game, and continues to play in a shutdown role in the toughest matchups and take all the key defensive zone faceoffs. In Michael Dal Colle, Cole Cassells and company, The Goat has got a tough task ahead of him this afternoon.
Stephane Robidas joins NHL Live to discuss his team’s hiring of Mike Babcock to be the new Head Coach.
- Damien Cox: Babcock must make Kessel a Leafs asset again (Toronto Star)
The combination of reduced production, a reputation for being in average physical condition at best and the stigma of being labelled a “coach killer” has probably reduced Kessel’s trade value to an all-time low.
- Damien Cox: Do Maple Leafs have a brighter future than Sabres? (Sportsnet)
Shanahan, in other words, has pieces. Some good pieces, and he’s added the coach he wanted. The Leafs will pick fourth in next month’s very deep draft, two slots after Buffalo, and will likely choose between Boston College blueliner Noah Hanifin, Erie centre Dylan Strome and London centre Mitch Marner.
- Ray Ferraro: Babcock will demand better effort from Leafs (TSN 1050)
TSN Hockey Analyst Ray Ferraro joins Leafs Lunch to talk about the high expectations Mike Babcock will demand from Leaf players, and why he would be very surprised if the team’s core returned next season.
- Macko and Cauz: Bill Peters on atmosphere Babcock will create (TSN 1050)
Carolina Hurricanes head coach and former assistant coach under Mike Babcock, Bill Peters joins Macko and Cauz to give some insight on Toronto’s new head coach. They talk about his love of hunting, what Babcock will bring to the Maple Leafs, and the emphasis he puts on being a professional.
- Ed Willes: $50-million man Mike Babcock needs to be a miracle worker for dysfunctional Leafs (The Province)
The Leafs, of course, have become the newest test case for one of hockey’s enduring questions: Does a coach really make that much of a difference? In signing Mike Babcock to a groundbreaking eight-year, $50-million deal, they certainly made coaches all over the NHL happy. But is Babcock the man who can end half a century of misery in The Big Smoke? Can he, through his mere presence, alter the course of this cursed franchise?
- Alec Brownscombe: Report: Jim Hiller to join Mike Babcock on Leafs new coaching staff (MLHS)
According to Ansar Khan of Michigan Live, assistant coach Jim Hiller will join Mike Babcock on the Maple Leafs coaching staff next season.
- Alec Brownscombe: What’s next for the Leafs front office? (MLHS)
The Leafs have pulled a lot of brain trust out of the OHL pool, and if they’re looking for hockey minds elsewhere in the CHL, there isn’t anyone in the WHL who has been at it longer or been more consistently successful at all levels of the game, from coaching, to management, to ownership (he even played for the Wheat Kings in the ’70s, too). Given the main thrust of the rebuilding plan is to outdraft 29 other teams, he’s another good asset to have if there is any interest in McCrimmon’s part in leaving the GM and coaching role with a team in which he’s so deeply embedded.
- Rob Vanstone: Leafs deal was a steal (Leader Post)
Babcock began earning his money before even lifting a whistle in the Leafs’ employ. He managed the situation ingeniously, as he typically does. Honestly, who else could have pulled that off? The Leafs could have spent less money on another coach who has a Stanley Cup pedigree — see: Dan Bylsma — but would there have been a similar buy-in? That is doubtful.