Former Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has resigned without ever getting to coach the Blue Jackets
Former Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is resigning from his position as Columbus Blue Jackets head coach before the 2023-24 season has even started, thanks to the fallout from his allegedly having asked to go through players' pictures on their phones.
Babcock reportedly asked to go through players phones
Babcock denied any wrongdoing after he was said to have gone through players' phone picture galleries and then displayed them on a big screen in his office. The initial controversy came when TNT analyst Paul Bissonnette, who also hosts the “Spittin' Chicklets” podcast, reported the alleged invasion of privacy.
“While meeting with our players and staff I asked them to share, off their phones, family pictures as part of the process of getting to know them better,” Babcock shared via ESPN. “There was absolutely nothing more to it than that. The way this was portrayed on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast was a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive.”
“These meetings have been very important and beneficial, not only for me but for our players and staff as well, and to have them depicted like this is irresponsible and completely inaccurate.”
Blue Jackets players Boone Jenner and Johnny Gaudreau defended Babcock's actions as a way of simply trying to get to know the players better. Not long after the reports emerged, the NHLPA began investigating
Babcock has officially resigned
Babcock will not get a chance to coach the Blue Jackets in what would have been his first time behind an NHL bench since getting fired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in November of 2019.
“This was a difficult decision on everyone’s part, but one we felt necessary to ensure our focus remains on the players and the team’s upcoming season,” said Blue Jackets General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen. “On behalf of the entire Blue Jackets organization, we want to thank Mike for his hard work and the professionalism he has shown in working together on a plan to step down.”
“Upon reflection, it has become clear that continuing as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets was going to be too much of a distraction,” said Babcock. “While I’m disappointed to not have had the opportunity to continue the work we’ve begun, I know it’s in the best interest of the organization for me to step away at this time. I wish everyone in the organization well in the upcoming season.”
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Mike Babcock found himself in controversy after reportedly asking to go through players phones; he denied the allegations and was even defended by players saying it was a way to get to know them better
- He has resigned this afternoon and been replaced behind the Blue Jackets bench by Pascal Vincent
- Babcock stated that he feels that resigning was the best course of action, as remaining in place would be too much of a distraction
Bottom Line: Babcock did not even last 1 game
Red Wings fans remember Babcock's multiple controversies that leaked after his time with the franchise ended, which included reported verbal abuse of Johan Franzen along with scratching veteran Mike Modano and preventing him from appearing in his 1,500th career game.
This latest controversy and subsequent resignation may mean that he won't ever get another opportunity in the NHL again.