And so the new era begins in Toronto, Welcome to the tenure of Michael Babcock.
From the instant it was announced yesterday that the Maple Leafs (led by Brendan Shanahan) had landed the most coveted ‘free agent’ Head Coach in the NHL, the City and the Country have been buzzing.
Yes, our Maple Leafs had finally won something that we could all appreciate. Sure there were some fans that were not pleased and cautious that Babcock would somehow derail the “scorched earth” promises made by Brendan Shanahan only a few months earlier. These fans were/are expecting this team gutted to the foundation so they NEVER have to witness another season like the one they just endured. I truly understand that apprehension as we have all seen what a re-tooling can do to a franchise that lacks the basic pieces to accomplish such a feat.
Fear not fellow Leafers. After the press conference today it would appear we are in the hands (a pair of which that has wrestled bears to the ground back in Babcock’s native Saskatchewan each year…go ahead prove me wrong) of a man who is focused, passionate and on board for a proper ‘painful’ rebuild of this team.
Brendan Shanahan introduced Babcock this morning at the 11am press conference, and from that moment on, Babcock had us all. He said the correct things, he gave his trademarked steel bending glare and I thought once I even saw him smile. Good chance that was just some bear bones stuck between his jibs.
Leafs players have been calling around to get the word on Babcock. According to the Toronto Star, Morgan Rielly reached out to players who had previously been Coached by the Stanley Cup winning bench boss.
“We all want to win,” Rielly said. “We all want to do what it takes. We want to turn this around as quickly as possible. But we also want to do it the right way. That might take some time. But I think we have the guy in place behind the bench who can really do that for us.”
Mike Babcock brings a lifetime Professional winning percentage of .627. While other Coaches have had a solid record before landing in Toronto this is a different beast altogether. Babcock brings confidence, swagger and TWO Olympic Gold medals with him to the Big Smoke. Today at the press conference he stated (more than once) that the Toronto Maple Leafs will play a ‘man style of hockey’. There will be no free passes. There will be no “I dont feel like skating today” attitudes. During last season it was noted by many that even the stars in Detroit show of up for an optional practice. How many times can we say that about the Core of this Maple Leafs team? Answer , less than the amount of fingers on one hand…..of Captain Hook.
Sure this will continue to be a roller coaster of emotions for the Toronto faithful. There are times when it is going to still sting watching this team get thumped during the 2015-2016 season. However, we know that one of the best coaches in the NHL just arrived as a present from MLSE and Brendan Shanahan. The 50 million dollar commitment to winning is exactly what this fan base deserves. Celebrate this day and this feeling. You have needed something positive for a long time and welcome to Toronto, Mike Babcock.
PS Suck it Buffalo