Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman: Blue Jackets Players Consulted on Mike Babcock Hire

By 1OB Staff on June 4, 2023 at 9:12 am

Appearing during the first intermission of Sportsnet's coverage of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals Saturday night, network insider Elliotte Friedman reported a handful of current Blue Jackets players were consulted about the team's plan to hire Mike Babcock as head coach.

“People wonder what the players think,” Friedman said. “From what I understand, over the last few weeks, a number of the key Blue Jackets players were asked: ‘If we do this, how will you feel about it? If we consider it, how do you feel about it?’”

Friedman could not say how many players knew about the move but said, “A number of them knew the Blue Jackets were at least considering it.”

"a number of the key Blue Jackets players were asked: If we do this, how will you feel about it?"– Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman

The Blue Jackets are set to hire Babcock, who last coached an NHL game nearly four years ago, at the end of June when his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs expires.

Columbus is committed to hiring Mike Babcock at the end of the month when his contract is up with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Babcock won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and coached teams to the postseason in 14 of his 16 seasons as an NHL head coach, but comes to the Blue Jackets with a history of criticism of his management style and treatment of players.

Friedman's reporting indicates the Blue Jackets were sure to get feedback from the current roster, given concerns over Babcock's relationship with his players earlier in his coaching career. Indeed, Babcock might have received one big vote of confidence from Blue Jackets Director of Player Development, Rick Nash.

“Rick Nash won a gold medal in the Olympics in 2010, playing a big role for Babcock,” Friedman said. “I think he played a role in this conversation as well.”

Nash shined for Babock and Team Canada in 2010, posting his best numbers of the three Olympics he participated in, going 2-3-5 in seven games and helping Canada to the Gold Medal with a 3-2 overtime win against the United States in Vancouver.

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