Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is regarded by many as the best in the NHL.
He has one year left on his contract, and if Detroit wants to eliminate any concerns about possibly losing him next summer, the Original Six club should do everything it can to work out an extension before the 2014-15 regular season begins.
“We get it done by fall, or I won’t bother,” Babcock recently told Helene Elliott of the Detroit Free Press. “I’m not doing it during the season.”
Where does the situation stand right now?
“On his end, (Red Wings GM Ken Holland) said that he and Babcock have talked briefly about an extension — in so far as Holland has told Babcock that the Wings would like to keep him,” St. James writes.
With younger players such as Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Jurco becoming key parts of the team’s success, the Red Wings need to make sure Babcock stays long term because he’s a great teacher, motivator and leader. For comparison’s sake, the 51-year-old would be the Sidney Crosby of coaching free agents if he reaches the open market.
Babcock has led Detroit to the playoffs in each of his nine seasons behind the bench. That span includes two trips to the Stanley Cup Final (2008, 2009) and one championship (2009). His resume also features two Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014) as the head coach of Team Canada.
One of the few honors that he hasn’t earned is the Jack Adams Award, given annually to the NHL’s coach of the year.