Two weeks ago news broke that controversial former head coach Mike Babcock would be joining the NBC crew for their broadcasts of select National Hockey League games. The announcement was met with mixed reactions with some looking forward to hearing the insights of an experienced head coach in the NHL, one with Stanley Cup Championship experience no less, while others were not so ready to see Babcock make his return after some of the things that came up after he was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On Sunday Babcock made his debut on the NBC broadcast and although I suspect that there were many who were happy to hear from the former bench boss, there was also a ton of backlash directed at NBC on social media following his appearance. That criticism came from your everyday fans, some pundits, and even former players that have been critical of Babcock in the past.
Former Red Wings defenseman Mike Commodore, a frequent and vocal critic of the former Red Wings head coach, called Babcock a "fraud," not exactly subtle criticism.
There were endless examples from fans.
Pundits got in on the Mike Babcock and NBC criticism as well.
Babcock has been away from the game for some time but it seems evident that there are fans out there who simply will not be so quick to forgive him, and in light of the accusations levied against him I can understand where their concern comes from. The core of the issue in my estimation comes from a perception that NBC was giving Babcock a platform to rehabilitate his image, and there's no denying that Babcock avoided facing any real tough questions about those aforementioned accusations. The name of former Red Wings forward Johan Franzen never once came up and for many, especially for fans in Detroit, it was the stories about his alleged treatment of that player in particular that have left a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to Babcock.
That being said I don't think you could have honestly expected a company that hired Babcock to do a job to badger him on the air during his first day on the job.
What do you think? Is it too soon for Babcock to make a return to the NHL? Or should he be given a second chance?