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Sports Mike Babcock's coaching peers praise ex-Maple Leafs bench boss after firing

02:35  21 november  2019
02:35  21 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

Babcock: I'll coach 'as hard as I can, as long as I can'

  Babcock: I'll coach 'as hard as I can, as long as I can' With speculation about his job security running rampant, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is confident he'll get his team back on track. "I'm gonna do it as hard as I can, as long as I can. I've always bet on Mike Babcock, I'll continue to bet on him," the Leafs' bench boss told TSN on Monday. "I'm gonna do it as hard as I can, as long as I can. I've always bet on Mike Babcock, I'll continue to bet on him," the Leafs' bench boss told TSN on Monday.

Mike Babcock exits the ice after during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs in Boston on April 23. Photographer: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Ottawa Senators coach D.J. Smith, who spent four years as an assistant on Babcock ' s staff in Toronto, praised Babcock for his professionalism.

Mike Babcock was fired as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. "Today, we made the decision to relieve Mike Babcock of his coaching duties and named Sheldon Keefe our new head coach ," team president Brendand Shanahan said. "Over parts of the last five seasons, Mike has

TORONTO — While his team has performed well early this season despite losing its top player from last year's championship team, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse acknowledged Wednesday wasn't an easy day.

Hours before the Raptors tipped off against the Orlando Magic at Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Maple Leafs fired head coach Mike Babcock and replaced him with Sheldon Keefe.

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment owns both teams and the arena — and the two coaches got to know each other over the years.

"I've obviously known him for a little while and had some good conversations with him," Nurse said. "It's very tough. A tough, tough business, and tough when it's in your own organization like that, for sure."

Toronto Maple Leafs fire head coach Mike Babcock, promote Sheldon Keefe to role

  Toronto Maple Leafs fire head coach Mike Babcock, promote Sheldon Keefe to role TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired head coach Mike Babcock replaced him with Sheldon Keefe. Babcock had a record of 9-10-4 in 2019-20 for the struggling Leafs, who are 0-5-1 in their last six games, including five straight losses in regulation. Hired as part of Toronto's massive rebuild in the spring of 2015, the 56-year-old Babcock went 173-133-45 in his four-plus seasons with Toronto. After signing the richest coaching contract in NHL history at US$50 million over eight years, Babcock got Toronto to the playoffs the last three straight seasons, but was unable to advance beyond the first round.

Babcock had served as the Maple Leafs coach since 2015. Toronto Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan announced today that Mike Babcock has been relieved of his coaching duties and Sheldon Keefe has been named the Club’ s new head coach .

Babcock also coached Team Canada to gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, as well as the 2004 IIHF World Championship and 1997 A year and a day have passed since the St. Louis Blues fired head coach Mike Yeo and replaced him with Craig Berube, then the bench boss of their

Babcock paid tribute to the Raptors this season, awarding a game ball from the NBA Finals to the Leafs' top player after each win.

While the Leafs have stumbled to a 9-10-4 start, the Raptors, who lost Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers in the off-season, were 9-4 before Wednesday's game.

Babcock's firing was a hot topic at arenas around the NHL.

Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith, who spent four years as an assistant on Babcock's staff in Toronto, praised Babcock for his professionalism.

"He gave me my chance in the National Hockey League," Smith said in Montreal, before the Senators faced the Canadiens. "He showed me the NHL and he did a great job every day. It's a tough time for him and his family and I certainly feel for him."

What's next for Mike Babcock? Former Toronto Maple Leafs coach could have several options

  What's next for Mike Babcock? Former Toronto Maple Leafs coach could have several options The 56-year-old finds himself unemployed for the first time in 17 years.The Toronto Maple Leafs decided to part ways with the veteran bench boss on Wednesday after weeks of speculation, replacing Babcock with NHL neophyte Sheldon Keefe. It wasn't an unexpected move — the Leafs are mired in a six-game losing streak and have dropped to 10th place in the Eastern Conference — but it comes at a time when teams generally aren't looking to replace their head coaches.

Mike Babcock clearly belongs to the portion of the fan base who thinks the Leafs need more grit. That’ s his opinion, but his boss clearly thinks differently. The Leafs GM has had an incredible first season as an NHL GM (Tavares, Muzzin, Nylander, Matthews, Petan etc) but clearly Mike Babcock

Will Mike Babcock still be coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs when his contract expires Following a Which brings us to Mike Babcock , perhaps the lone bench boss working today who can offer a Babcock ’ s Maple Leafs snapped a 5-year drought of their own in 2016-17. And, for the Leafs , things

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien, who worked on Babcock's Canada staff en route to gold at the 2014 Olympics and 2016 World Cup, also was full of praise for the ex-Leafs bench boss.

"First of all, I think everybody knows here Mike Babcock is a good coach," Julien said. "He's won everywhere he's gone, at all levels as well, whether it's junior, in the pro level, the Olympics, etcetera, etcetera. As far as I'm concerned if he wants to work again tomorrow, he's got a pretty good chance of getting back to work. That's how I think everybody who knows Mike feels about him."

Julien said all coaches are aware days like Wednesday can and do happen.

"We understand when we sign on we're in a tough business," he said. "A lot of (times), you can be pointed the finger (at) for things you can't control. At the end of the day, it is what it is. It's important for us to not lose our confidence and move on. The one thing I do know is Mike is not going to lose his confidence."

— With files from Neil Davidson in Toronto and Alexis Belanger-Champagne in Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2019.

The Canadian Press

Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser backs Mike Commodore's aggression toward Mike Babcock .
Mike Commodore let loose on his views of the former Maple leafs coach following his termination on Wednesday.Former Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser is the latest individual to share a few thoughts on the Mike Babcock-Mike Commodore feud. Fraser, who spent two out of his seven seasons in the NHL with Toronto, backed Commodore's aggressive analysis of Babcock and offered some intriguing insight into how NHL players may view Babcock.

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