In case you missed it this past weekend, the Toronto Maple Leafs dropped their fifth straight game to fall to 3-5-2 in their past 10 games. Things have NOT gone according to plan for the Leafs this season, a season in which the team entered the campaign with high expectations.
So… what’s the problem?
Some fans have called out general manager Kyle Dubas for making the wrong personnel moves in the offseason. Tyson Barrie has not fit in well and, in turn, the Leafs miss Nazem’s Kadri’s grit and determination. Other additions like Cody Ceci and Jason Spezza have been underwhelming, while superstars like captain John Tavares and $65 million man Mitch Marner have been injured or inconsistent.
Other fans place the blame solely at the feet of one man: Head coach Mike Babcock.
Babcock, who is in year five of an eight year contract worth $50 million, has come under fire for his strategies this season, specifically when it comes to the playing time of his superstar players. Too often, fans contend, Babcock elects to sit game breakers like Auston Matthews and William Nylander in favour of fourth line grinders or defensive specialists. He’s an old school coach in a new school league, as they say. Because of his inability to adapt, these fans are calling for Babcock’s job in Toronto.
Well… Babs has a reply for those fans in particular.
Check it out:
Gotta give Babs credit… he certainly doesn’t lack in confidence.
I mean… he’s referring to himself in the third person now. Maybe all those rumours about Babcock’s insane ego have a bit of truth to them?
In any case, Babcock likely won’t do himself any favours with this sentiment. Eat a bit of humble pie, get your team on track and win some games, that’s the way to get yourself back in the fan’s good graces.
One thing's for sure though, if the Leafs continue this slide and fall further and further in the NHL's standings, Dubas will have no choice but to consider making a coaching change. The Leafs have a tailor made replacement for Babcock already coaching in the AHL in Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Marlies head coach. Keefe is a hot commodity these days and it's believed that several NHL teams tried to pry him away from the Leafs organization this past offseason. It's clear that Keefe is in Dubas' long-term plans, but if the Leafs continue to falter under Babcock you have to wonder if those long-term plans become short-term plans.