With the Mike Babcock era over in Toronto, some information has come out regarding his tenure as head coach. How he handled Mitch Marner as a rookie is completely unacceptable.
The story from the Toronto Sun initially came out without specifics on who the player in question was, but as the story goes:
“Babcock was alleged to have asked one of the Leafs’ rookies to list the players on the team from hardest-working to those who, in the eyes of the rookie, didn’t have a strong work ethic. The rookie did so, not wanting to upset his coach, but was taken aback when Babcock told the players who had been listed at the bottom.”
Not only is this completely destructive when it comes to building a relationship between player and coach, but it’s also insanely self-defeating as it causes a rift between players on the same team! I have no idea where Babcock would have got this idea from but it’s not old school or new school coaching, it’s self-involved psychotic narcissistic behavior and it’s a blessing that he’s out of the team.
Ian Tulloch later confirmed on Twitter that the rookie in question was Mitch Marner. If the move wasn’t moronic enough, making your future star player the center of a dressing room controversy when he’d already been under the spotlight and scrutiny for his team-driving play and eventual monster contact shows that Babcock may have something severely wrong in his head.
Since he’s been gone (Kelly Clarkson reference), the Leafs have been envigorated in their two games under Keefe. The emotion is back, the raw skill is taking over, and the team doesn’t seem to quit. With the target of Babcock’s hazing (Mitch Marner) still out injured, he is clearly happy with the Buds’ turn of form and seems relieved to say the least.
— Flintor (@TheFlintor) November 22, 2019
I’ve never been one to actively cheer against someone or celebrate in their downfall, it’s just an unclassy thing to do. After Babcock’s firing watching Mike Commodore celebrate on Twitter or Jeff O’Neill continuously dance on his grave on TSN radio seemed like overkill. Now, however, I’m on their side.
Babcock has a Hall of Fame career behind him, that is indisputable. What is becoming more apparent, though, is that he also has a hell of a lot of skeletons in his closet that may surface sooner rather than later. It’s clear Babcock ruled with an iron fist in his own bubble world but with players no longer scared to speak out, his reputation could take a massive hit, rightfully so.