You knew that the Toronto Press’ honeymoon with Babcock was not going to last. In the face of the losing record, I was surprised that ten games passed without one or another idiot reporter, needing to make his voice heard above the crowd, calling for his head. Now, it’s happened. Well, okay, he’s not calling for Mike’s head, yet. But he’s setting the stage for that as the next step. And since the Toronto papers have become cowardly, and have discontinued their comments sections for hockey, they must feel like they can do it with impunity. Once this site is discovered, dissenting comments will be welcomed, and only those that spew insults without saying anything substantive will be deleted. That includes Feschuk.
There are two simple reasons why Babcock was absolutely right to take the role of head coach, and no, it’s not so he can learn from the players, or scout for Toronto. He said those things because it will seem immodest to speak the truth.
The first reason is because Canada wants Mike. And why wouldn’t it? He’s done it so well in the past. Imagine the recriminations if the job were given to Quenneville, and he lost. For the record, I think he’s up in Mike’s league, but the appearances would be terrible. Does Feschuk think that coaching the Leafs is a more important job than the unpaid job of leading Canada to international glory? I don’t. I want Canada to win, and Mike’s the best bet for making that happen. Further, the players all love him. When he’s behind the bench, they know they’re in good hands, and it shows. And that brings me to my second point.
Mike’s status, and his reputation, are the biggest drawing card Toronto can offer, when it wants to retain, or recruit, free agents. I know, that’s not on the table today, but it will be in a couple of years. If he steps aside, and Quenneville steps in, then he will take that aura on himself, at Mike’s expense. At Toronto’s expense. If it were simply a matter of Mike’s brains and hard work, or his playing structure, then it could be replicated. Pretty soon, everyone would play the same way, and there would be nothing special about Babcock, or Toronto. But when you add that superstar aura, of a coach who can win a pissing contest with any star, and therefore there won’t be any such spectacles, then he brings something special to the table. And winning for Canada is an important part of maintaining that. Does Feschuk not care about Canada? Let’s hear from him.