If you haven’t heard yet, the Toronto Maple Leafs have hired their next coach. And for those of you who didn’t think that it would happen, that new head coach is Mike Babcock.
Now, personal feelings aside – as I’m still gathering my thoughts – the move is an interesting one from the Maple Leafs standpoint. Surely, Brendan Shanahan has his plan. And in some way, Babcock fits into the mix.
Now, it will be a change for the Maple Leafs in the midst of their rebuild. Between 2005-06 and 2014-15, Babcock’s team was below the league average in penalty minutes (9,809 PIM was the league average) and below the league average in fighting majors per season (35.3 majors was the league average).
In 12 NHL seasons, Babcock has missed the playoffs just once. That was in 2003-04 with the Anaheim Ducks – his team finishing 29-35-10-8. He went on to win one Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2007-08 in his third year finishing atop the division with the Wings.
With that news in place, here’s a look at how some of the Twitterverse reacted to the news of the new Maple Leafs hire.
If it didn’t come across as a shock to you that Babcock signed in Toronto, it may have been a bit of surprise to even some of the best in the business.
Here’s a look at some of the reactions stemming from members of the media as the #Babwatch came to an end.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 20, 2015
Well I was wrong on Babcock's destination in roughly 437 radio interviews this season. You will all get your money refunded.
— James Duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) May 20, 2015
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 20, 2015
Leafs President Brendan Shanahan threw more money at Mike Babcock than anyone else. What vision. #leafs
— Sid Seixeiro (@Sid_Seixeiro) May 20, 2015
Babcock to Toronto may be the biggest free agent get in the Maple Leafs history.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) May 20, 2015
The Mike Babcock Only Lane on the Gardiner Expressway will take some adjusting, but I think Toronto can deal with it.
— Adam Proteau (@Proteautype) May 20, 2015
Mike Babcocks time in @MapleLeafs is already a personal success the professional side will take every cent of that $50 million dollar coach
— Daren Millard (@darenmillard) May 20, 2015
Poor Buffalo. Loses out on McDavid and Babcock.
— Michael Traikos (@Michael_Traikos) May 20, 2015
So sorry, Red Wings.
— Pension Plan Puppets (@PPPLeafs) May 20, 2015
And it didn’t end there. While every single reaction certainly can’t be incorporated, here’s a look at some of the good, the bad and the surprised reactions to the latest move by the Maple Leafs.
So Buffalo has lost McDavid and Babcock in a matter of weeks. Their masterplan must be up in smoke now…
— The Book of Daniel (@DanTheFlyeraFan) May 20, 2015
The Babcock Lottery Winners? The Toronto Maple Leafs! pic.twitter.com/WJMxOHRTyJ
— TMLeafsaholics (@TMLeafsaholics) May 20, 2015
BEST. LEAFS. MANAGEMENT. EVER.
— robby – three22 (@Robby322) May 20, 2015
Thanks for the fun times, Mike Babcock. Good luck in that black hole that is the Leafs.
— Evan Drexler (@edrexler) May 20, 2015
If this wasn’t enough, there’s much more to enjoy as the effects of Babcock have taken over Twitter. As it seems to just be the first move in a long list of changes in Toronto, expect one heck of an offseason for the Leafs, their fans, and all those people who love to hate, talk about and cover this rebuilding Toronto franchise.
For more, follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes or his THW column at @Tape2TapeTHW.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.