Mike Babcock knows how to say the right thing. And it’s something Maple Leaf fans should love to hear. Speaking with the National Post’s Kevin Mitchell, Babcock touched on a number of issues, but there’s one in particular that Leafs fans should love. In regards to cementing his legacy should he indeed turn Toronto around, Babcock had this to say:
“It’s not if. It’s when. The second thing I’d say is yes — the Leafs opportunity is a big, big challenge. But we’re going to make it happen. It’s a great city, an unbelievable hockey market. And now we have to get the hockey team back to its rightful place.”
He wasn’t done either. Babcock expounded on the difficult position he undertook. and took another sunny, yet realistic approach:
“You’ve got to fix it quick, right? It’s painful. So you’ve got to get up every day, the sun gets up, and you get on with it — getting better, and doing your job. It’s different, depending on which team you’re with, but I think we’re going in the right direction.”
The unbridled “can-do” attitude that Babcock coaches by has propelled his career in both Anaheim and Detroit. Back in 2003, then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim general manager Bryan Murray said this about the team–an underdog guided by Babcock–as they marched to a Stanley Cup Final in impressive fashion:
“This team, great credit to Mike Babcock, has been able to focus on the task at hand since the playoffs began. Our philosophy has been: Win a series, go out for a beer and celebrate, by all means, but be ready for work the next day.”
And in Detroit, Babcock guided the Red Wings to a conference finals appearance in 2007, a Stanley Cup in 2008, and narrowly missed another Cup in 2009 when the Wings lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to Pittsburgh. The standing ovation he received when he came back as the bench boss of the Maple Leafs was well deserved. It was during his introductory press conference after being named the Wings coach, though, where he set the tone early:
“I believe in leadership. I believe in being the best in the world at what I do.”
Past results indicate that he is one of the best in the world–if not the best–at it. If his words are any guide to what can be accomplished, Leaf fans should be excited. Don’t be fooled–the rebuilding plan will still take time. But with Babcock in charge, a quicker return to greatness shouldn’t be dismissed.
In other Leafs news:
- The Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran writes that Auston Matthews is excited to “get things rolling” with the Leafs. Matthews has relocated to Toronto, and “slimmed down suitcases” as he prepares for the future with Toronto. Many believe the 18-year-old to be the savior in the Leafs’ revival, and he’s honing his skills at the next level quickly. Matthews is slated to make his Toronto debut not in a Leafs jersey, but donning the colors of North America for the World Cup of Hockey. Regardless of who it’s for, Matthews is “excited” to be in Toronto, and it can surely be said a legion of Leafs fans are excited to have him there as well.