Babcock Chooses Money and Power Over Winning | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Babcock Chooses Money and Power Over Winning

"Babwatch" is over... or is it?

Mike Babcock has landed. He's touched down in a location most thought he'd quickly brush-off, Toronto. The hockey capital of the world has found their big ticket coach, as The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Mike Babcock over the next eight seasons by offering power and $50 million dollars along with a key to the city as the attraction. Yes, make no mistake, this was a decision made by the almighty dollar. Most experts also believe Babcock will be given room to make a lot of final decisions. The Toronto Maple Leafs is Mike Babcock's team now.

It seems obvious, this decision was not about winning.

Most in hockey believed it was down to Buffalo, possibly San Jose, or staying in Detroit. Everyone knew the Sabres were prepared to pay big dollars for Babcock and word is, the Sabres are quite upset, having thought they'd reached an agreement with the coach. But, as recently as Tuesday night, out of nowhere came Brendan Shanahan and a huge bag full of money. It is strongly believed, along with the record-breaking pay-day, close to equal say to whomever is hired as General Manager will follow. In fact, some are going as far to suggest it hardly matters who the next GM of Toronto is, final personnel decisions will be largely made by Mike Babcock. This after Babcock had gone on record suggesting he didn't want to be an NHL manager.

Either way, the Leafs won the day - at least if you ask most Leaf fans.

No doubt, Babcock is the most decorated coach currently in the NHL. He was and is a big deal, likely the biggest free agent we'll see moved this season. With it comes extreme pressure in a market already feeling the most pressure in the NHL. The reaction to this will be mixed.

So Now What?

Today's news will overshadow almost everything else in hockey for weeks. People talk about Toronto  and the Leafs as is without much news to offer. This is actually news. And, let the speculation begin. Tomorrow at 11am, we'll see the first of the media frenzy as Babcock and the Leafs introduce their new relationship to the masses and we should expect more media than anything the NHL might offer this year.

All that said, what's next in Toronto is still in question. Babcock is used to winning and it probably won't happen for him in the near future - as it might not have in Edmonton. That is unless Shanahan's apparent gamble that Babcock will also attract huge free agents works, which this writer thinks may be a stretch.

To me, this is the first of many news bits that will come out of Toronto. Expect a lot of player movement as with any coaching hire this big, Babcock's likely desire to place a stamp on the Maple Leafs is inevitable. Toronto still is the Hockey Canada mega-market and Mike Babcock is now expected to save everything. At least, according to the size of his new cheques, people will expect him to.

When Edmonton first was rumored to be a possible destination for Babcock, thoughts around the Oilers were positive. Hiring Mike Babcock would be the icing on the cake to a very eventful summer. I was personally more a fan of McLennan and that's how things turned, out, but Mike Babcock is an extremely good coach.

After this news and the money and pressure that will come with it, I'm glad the Oilers didn't pursue this.

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