Mike Babcock is vehemently denying rumors he’s on the verge of re-upping with the Detroit Red Wings as the highest-paid coach in the NHL and GM Ken Holland isn’t saying much of anything one way or the other. So where does that leave us? Well, your trusty correspondent is inclined to believe that before long, Babcock will sign in Detroit and continue his outstanding coaching career in Detroit.
From what I’ve been told, the one factor more than anything that was important to Babcock was whether or not the Red Wings have an opportunity to be a contending team for the long-term. During the Red Wings prospect tournament in Traverse City, I had a long talk with Holland after we picked the Red Wings to miss the playoffs and even he acknowledged the fans were beginning to ask questions.
“Has he lost his touch?” Holland asked rhetorically. “Is he a doofus?” Read more
That sound you’re hearing is Red Wings fans exhaling a giant sigh of relief: according to Windsor Star columnist and THN contributor Bob Duff, Detroit coach Mike Babcock is on the verge of agreeing to a multi-year contract extension. Babcock had been the subject of intense speculation he would move on – to the Wings’ division rival Maple Leafs, some said – when his current deal expired at the end of this season, but his links to the team were not easily broken, especially considering how well it has started the 2014-15 campaign.
Although the Wings were beaten at home by Toronto Wednesday night, they still had the Eastern Conference’s best record (17-6-6) and only Anaheim had more points (43) than Detroit’s 40. This, despite a roster whose two best players aren’t far from retirement. This, despite a patchwork defense corps that’s hardly the envy of the NHL. This, despite the hiccups and backsliding that can occur when you’re attempting to assimilate a new generation of young talent into the sport’s top professional league. The Red Wings throw aside more phoney crutches than a fraudulent religious healer’s act and just go out there and win, and when you’re as much a part of that culture as Babcock is, it’s next to impossible to walk away from it. Read more
Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer has lost the starter’s job to Jonathan Bernier, but despite not starting since Nov. 18, he stopped 41 of 42 shots Wednesday to steal two points in a 2-1 shootout win over Detroit:
That won’t change his status with the Buds, who are committed to Bernier for now and the future, and Reimer is well-aware his best chance to start on a regular basis again lies outside Toronto. But where does Reimer rank among goalies who are or might be available on the market between now and the March 2 trade deadline? Let’s have a look at who else is out there:
– Carolina’s Cam Ward has a winning pedigree, but the 30-year-old’s stock has plummeted in recent years and he still has another season left on his contract at a $6.3 million salary cap hit. He’s played decently at times, but that salary alone will make teams in need of netminding hesitant to take a chance on him when there are cheaper options available.
There’s been a lot of talk about legacy lately with Daniel Alfredsson signing a one-day deal to retire as an Ottawa Senator, and Martin Brodeur joining the St. Louis Blues after serving as the face of the New Jersey Devils for two decades.
It’s odd to see Brodeur with the Bluenote on his jersey and mask, and it was strange to see Daniel Alfredsson skating for the Detroit Red Wings last season.
But as hurt as some fans were by the Brodeur and Alfredsson defections, the history books will still remember them for what they accomplished with the franchises they came to represent.
We saw that already in Alfredsson’s retirement ceremony in Ottawa on Thursday, and we’ll see it again with Brodeur when he hangs up his pads.
Mike Babcock didn’t go looking for a fireman’s hat to celebrate his 500th career win behind the bench on Saturday night.
He’d probably happier to make a few more dollars on his next contract.
The Detroit Red Wings coach became the second-fasted bench boss to 500 wins on Saturday, as his squad scored twice in a 61-second span and came from behind to win 3-2 over the New York Rangers.
Whether he makes it into the Hockey Hall of Fame or not, Daniel Alfredsson will always be remembered as the face of the Ottawa Senators.
He quickly became one of the league’s stars and, nearly two decades later as he prepares to hang up his skates for a final time, Alfredsson has made countless highlight reels and been the centerpiece of many of Ottawa’s greatest moments. Here are the top ten Alfredsson moments from what was an outstanding career: Read more
The Toronto Maple Leafs have improved since suffering lopsided back-to-back losses against Buffalo and Nashville, finishing November by winning three of four games. While that’s silenced most of their critics, it hasn’t keep them out of the rumor mill.
On Monday, Darren Dreger told TSN 1050 he will be surprised if center Nazem Kadri is still with the Leafs by the trade deadline. Dreger feels Kadri hasn’t reached the level of consistency GM Dave Nonis expects of him.
The young center is slated to become a restricted free agent in July. His previous contract talks dragged on into training camp before a deal was reached. Read more
An MRI on hockey legend Gordie Howe indicates he did not suffer a third stroke as was first feared and the family is hoping he can be discharged from a Texas hospital tomorrow.
Howe, who is 86 and suffers from advanced dementia, was found by therapists and was unresponsive on Monday, sparking fears he had suffered another massive stroke. But Mr. Hockey has appeared to have rallied and was, according to family members, alert and ate well in hospital Tuesday night. Howe suffered his first major stroke in October and it’s believed he had another mini-stroke on Saturday.
But it’s thought that rather than having had a stroke on Monday, Howe’s condition was more the result of dehydration and fatigue. “He’s alert and ate well tonight,” Howe’s son Murray said in an email to family and friends. “I spoke with him briefly on the phone. He’s still him. Just worn out.”
Howe has been battling serious health problems since October, when he had a stroke while at his daughter’s home in Lubbock, Texas. Howe had an epidural last week to relieve him of the back pain he has been experiencing after undergoing spinal surgery over the summer.