The Columbus Blue Jackets had themselves a rough week last week and this one isn't off to any better of a start with the resignation of head coach Mike Babcock coming on Sunday, before Babcock ever coached so much as a regular season game for the organization.
That being said the Blue Jackets have no choice now but to move forward without Babcock and it seems they have wasted relatively little time in doing so, appointing a new coach almost immediately after news broke of Babcock's resignation. To no one's surprise the hiring here is an internal one with the Blue Jackets having had very little time to conduct a new coaching search, and taking the place of Babcock will be his former associate coach Pascal Vincent.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen released the following statement alongside the news:
“This was a difficult decision on everyone’s part, but one we felt necessary to ensure our focus remains on the players and the team’s upcoming season,” said Kekalainen. “On behalf of the entire Blue Jackets organization, we want to thank Mike for his hard work and the professionalism he has shown in working together on a plan to step down.”
“Pascal Vincent is an outstanding coach,” added Kekalainen. “He knows our players and organization and is respected by everyone here. He was a strong candidate for our head coaching position several months ago and is in the best position to help us navigate this change as we begin camp and lead our team moving forward.”
While this is a bad day for Babcock himself, it is also a terrific opportunity for Vincent himself who seems to recognize that fact.
“This is a difficult day, but I am looking forward to this opportunity and appreciate the organization’s confidence in me to lead this team,” said Vincent. “We have a great group of guys that have been working very hard to prepare for the season. My focus will be to work with our staff to help them get better every day and be ready for what we believe will be an exciting season.”
Stay tuned for all the latest on this developing story.