Zach Werenski and Johnny Gaudreau Support Coach Mike Babcock In Light of Photo-Sharing Allegations

By Coby Maeir on September 13, 2023 at 4:06 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets name Mike Babcock as their new head coach during a press conference at Nationwide Arena.

Following Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock and captain Boone Jenner releasing statements Tuesday regarding allegations made on the Spittin' Chiclets podcast, Blue Jackets stars Zach Werenski and Johnny Gaudreau supported Babcock amid the same allegations. 

"I think it's one of those things where it's really a non-event in our locker room," Werenski said Wednesday in an appearance on 97.1 FM's Rothman & Ice. "I think guys didn't even think twice about it when they were meeting with Babs and kind of going through that process. It's so harmless on his end."

Werenski added that he had a great interaction with him and that when he met with Babcock, the screen sharing did not work, so they "scrapped that part of it."

"There were no boundaries crossed at all with anyone," Werenski said.

Gaudreau echoed similar sentiments in his appearance on 32 Thoughts: The Podcast with Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek. 

"I was a little upset how it kind of kind of got blown out of proportion there," Gaudreau said. "Obviously I think a lot of people saw Boone [Jenner's] statement but I think one other way to get to know someone that you've never met before is to get to know each other's families. Whether that's through pictures or [whatever] it is, I think it was his way of kind of getting to know me and I got to know him."

Gaudreau described his experience meeting with Babcock.

"Babs came in and said I want to get to know you," Gaudreau said. "You know, 'show me some pictures of your family, what you like to do in the summer, what you did this summer'. Things like that."

He added that the meeting wasn't uncomfortable at all and said if he had been uncomfortable, he would have told that to Babcock. He also said none of his teammates addressed him about feeling uncomfortable during their meetings with Babcock, adding that he thinks players would come to him or others on the team to tell them if they were uncomfortable.

"But everyone seemed like they had no problem with the way Babs went about getting to know his players," Gaudreau said. "And if someone did have a problem, I'm sure that we would have heard about it, but no one really said anything."

Spittin' Chiclets co-host and former NHL defenseman Ryan Whitney appeared on Barstool Radio on Wednesday and said that he's heard about current Blue Jackets players who have met with Babcock.

"I've got guys on that team who texted a buddy of mine who played with them," Whitney said. "And a month ago, he goes, and I saw the texts, he said, 'I just had my first meeting with Babcock, and I walked in, and he's like, 'oh, let's go to the pictures on your phone.'"

Whitney also said that he understands this story puts the Blue Jackets players in a tough spot.

"I guess if we could change one thing it maybe would have [been to] never mentioned one name," Whitney said, referencing Jenner. 

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