Media reaction to the Maple Leafs hiring Mike Babcock, Senators re-sign Andrew Hammond and more.
Reaction to Leafs hiring Babcock.
TORONTO SUN/TORONTO STAR/THE GLOBE & MAIL: Rob Longley, Terry Koshan, Steve Buffery, Bruce Arthur and Cathal Kelly weighed in on the Maple Leafs winning the bidding war for coach Mike Babcock. All agree that, while it’s a step in the right direction for the rebuilding Leafs, there’s still more work to be done. They all agree Babcock has taken on a significant challenge in trying to help turn the long-moribund Leafs into an eventual Stanley Cup champion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The overall mood from the Toronto media and most Leafs fans over the Babcock hiring was one of pleasant surprise tempered by the knowledge the Leafs still have a long way to go toward rebuilding into a contender. Everyone understands this hiring alone won’t magically reverse the Leafs fortunes. It certainly helps, but more work is needed.
As for why Babcock chose the Leafs, while he’s certainly well-paid (eight years, $50 million), I think there’s more at play here than money. A chance for greater power may have convinced him to take on the challenge of coaching the Leafs. Babcock could have a significant say in the Leafs’ player development and personnel decisions. In other words, he won’t be at the mercy of a general manager or an ownership group trying to force their decisions upon him. The money is great, but having greater control over the makeup of his roster may have been the determining factor.
Other Notable Canadian NHL News.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators yesterday re-signed goaltender Andrew Hammond to a three-year, one-way deal worth $4 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That increases the likelihood Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner could be traded in the offseason. I’ll have more on that in the “Rumors” section.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford believes the Vancouver Canucks should bolster their defense by pursuing blueliner Cody Franson via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks must free up cap space if they’re to pursue a UFA like Franson this summer.
NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens center Jacob De La Rose underwent wrist surgery and it is expected to take three months for recovery. He should be fully healed when training camp opens in September.
EDMONTON SUN: Following the Oilers’ hiring Todd McLellan as their new head coach, their assistant coaches remain in limbo.