Depending on who you talk to, Mike Babcock is up for 30 NHL coaching jobs next season.
After the Detroit Red Wings were ousted out of the playoffs, Babcock’s future instantly became the topic of conversation. Would he stay in Detroit or move on elsewhere?
He spoke with Buffalo and Toronto — two teams that were out of the playoff picture long before April. However, news is swarming that Babcock has drawn interest from the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks — one team that recently exited the NHL playoffs and another that was in the conversation almost until their 82nd regular season contest.
Babcock, who already has a four-year, $13 million extension on the table from Detroit, will now ask the age-old question: work for the money or work for the victories. Toronto, one of the wealthiest teams in the sports industry, could afford to handsomely pay Babcock to man the bench, while Buffalo would likely be willing to enter a bidding war for his services.
The Sharks and Blues, however, would likely be better suitors if it’s a matter of getting closer to a second Stanley Cup title.
San Jose, who employs former captains Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, will look for a new brand of leadership after parting ways with Todd McLellan recently. Babcock’s proven track record could be the key to drawing blood from the long-awaiting stone that is the Sharks’ playoff success.
The Blues are in a similar situation. After being ousted in the first round for three consecutive postseasons, St. Louis is left looking for answers. Ken Hitchcock, who is under contract until the summer, pushed the club from mediocrity to Stanley Cup hopefuls in the matter of one season (2011-12). It seems, though, that the club is in need of one more push to make the next step and become true contenders. Whether it’s a change behind the bench or a change in on-ice leadership is left to be seen.
For more on Babcock, as well as the other big news from the weekend, check out our eye-catching NHL headlines.
Babcock is visiting San Jose. [San Jose Mercury News]
Speculation is growing that Babcock could be the Blues’ new bench boss. [Fox Sports Midwest]
The Ducks defeated the Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
Brad Richards scored a pretty goal in the loss. [Hockey Feed]
Frederik Andersen made a beauty save on Patrick Kane. [The Score]
Canada beat Russia to win the IIHF World Championship. [Defending Big D]
Arizona Coyotes prospects impressed the world at the tourney. [Today’s Slapshot]
Is the $500 million price tag for a team to enter Seattle to hefty to overcome? [The Seattle Times]
Russian president Vladimir Putin played with former NHL players and scored eight goals. [The Guardian]