The Maple Leafs fired their head coach Mike Babcock on Wednesday afternoon following their sixth straight loss, while Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe officially takes over from behind the Toronto bench.
“Today we made the decision to remove Mike Babcock from office. […] In the past five seasons, Mike has played a leading role in the change of direction of our franchise, said Leafs president Brendan Shanahan in a statement. His dedication and exemplary work ethic have put our organization in a better position. We are extremely grateful for helping us build a strong foundation. ”
Babcock, 56, became the first driver to be sacked in the National Hockey League (NHL) in 2019-20. This decision seems more or less surprising, given the problems of the Leafs. Private striker Mitch Marner, the Toronto club has fallen below the threshold of respectability, despite the presence of stars John Tavares and Auston Matthews in his locker room.
Having undergone the chopper for the first time in his career, Babcock has been stationed in Toronto since 2015-2016, having led the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for two years and the Detroit Red Wings between 2005 and 2015.
A former player at McGill University in Montreal, Babcock won the Stanley Cup in Detroit in the spring of 2008. He had exactly 700 regular-season wins and his $ 6.25-million contract is valid until the end. of the season 2022-2023.
A former defender promoted
For his part, Keefe becomes the 31st head coach in Maple Leafs history. He had a lot of success in the Marlies American League, leading the Calder Cup title in 2017-18. In addition to four years with the school club, he has totaled 199 winnings. The 39-year-old is a former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman, having played 125 games with this team in the early 2000s.
“We felt that the best thing to do was to make a change with Sheldon Keefe,” Shanahan added. His record in the AHL and his record of developing players on the ice convinced us that he was the best person to take us to the next stage of our evolution. ”
The Leafs bounced back 4-2 in front of the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday and will visit the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. They are tentatively ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference.
MIKE BABCOCK’S PROFILE AS HEAD COACH IN THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (NHL)
Career: 1301 Matches – 700 Wins
With the Maple Leafs: 173-133-45
– Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008
– He never won the Jack Adams Trophy as the National Hockey League head coach of the year.
TOP 10 COACHES WITH THE MOST WINS IN THE NHL:
1 – Scotty Bowman – 1244
2 – Joel Quenneville – 901
3 – Ken Hitchcock – 849
4 – Barry Trotz – 825
5 – Al Arbor – 782
6 – Lindy Ruff – 736
7 – Paul Maurice – 708
8 – Mike Babcock – 700
9 – Dick Irvin – 692
10 – Pat Quinn – 684