Despite being fired, Mike Babcock has always been a very highly respected coach. That doesn’t mean he’s not tough on his players, though.

Throughout his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a storyline would emerge here and there of possible issues he’s having with general manager Kyle Dubas, star player Auston Matthews, and more.

Fans and analysts alike have question some of the “stubborn” decisions that he made, such as to keep Jason Spezza out of the lineup for his return to the Battle of Ontario as a member of the other side. With criticism raining down on the former Red Wings star bench boss, people were immediately interested to see how he would address the situation.

For the most part, he took the high road. He didn’t call anyone out individually, although he did decide to thank people individually. Not fans are jumping on the fact that there are some players and organization members that he decided to leave out of the thank you.



Babcock explains his love and respect for Larry Tannenbaum, who was a big part of bringing him to the Leafs. He also touched on the Leafs former general manager Lou Lamoriello, explaining that he’d made a friend for life. He decided to omit a thank you for Brendan Shanahan or Kyle Dubas, beyond a blanketing “thank you” to the organization in general.

He also decided to bring up one specific Leaf – defenceman Morgan Rielly. Fans, of course, are diving into this as a sign that Babs has bones to pick.

Maybe he didn’t want to spend the time writing out a lengthy thank you to everyone he wanted to, or maybe it was a calculated decision to choose some people over others. Either way, it’s been a talking point in the early stages of what can now be called the Sheldon Keefe era.



(H/T Pierre LeBrun)