Mike Babcock went into defense mode on Tuesday.
After former NHL player Paul Bissonnette claimed this Spitting Chiclets In a podcast, Babcock, now the coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, was asked by Jackets players to look at the photos on their personal phones, Babcock was quoted as saying in a statement released by the NHL team.
“When meeting with our players and staff, I asked them to share family photos from their cell phones to get to know them better,” Babcock said. “There was absolutely nothing left behind it.
“The way this was presented Spitting Chiclets The podcast was a gross misrepresentation of these meetings and extremely offensive.
“These meetings were very important and useful, not only for me but also for our players and staff, and portraying them in this way is irresponsible and completely inaccurate.”
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Johnny Gaudreau, the Blue Jackets’ biggest star and highest-paid player, said at the NHL/NHLPA Player Media Tour in suburban Las Vegas that he had great interactions with Babcock, starting with a 45-minute get-to-know-you session the weekend of his teammate’s wedding Boone Jenner.
Gaudreau said Babcock asked him for family photos and the coach showed his own to create some familiarity.
“I just think it was a really cool and unique way to get to know your player,” Gaudreau said. “I thought it would be a good little starting point for us to get to know each other.”
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said he spoke with NHL Players’ Association deputy executive director Ron Hainsey and that the league and union investigated the situation and found nothing amiss.
“(Hainsey’s) reports indicate that the players involved had no concerns whatsoever about the interactions that took place,” Daly said. “They were not inappropriate, they were not inappropriate and to the extent that they were suggested it was a misjudgment.”
Here’s how Bissonnette discussed it on the podcast.
“I get a text from a player,” Bissonnette said. “He asks, ‘Have you ever heard what Babcock is up to?’ And I say, “No.”
“So he comes to Columbus and the first thing he does is call Boone Jenner, the captain of the team, and say, ‘Let me see the photos on your phone.’ “I want to know what kind of person you are.”
“What the hell is going on?”
Bissonnette then said he wanted to bring Babcock onto the podcast to “ask him about his antics as a head coach.”
The Jackets also released a quote from Jenner.
“During the meeting with Babs, he asked me about my family and my heritage, my upcoming wedding and things related to hockey,” Jenner said. “Then he asked me if I had any pictures of my family and I was happy to share some with him. He showed me pictures of his family.
“I thought it was a great first meeting and a good way for us to start building a relationship. The fact that this is being blown out of proportion is really disappointing.”
Babcock was officially signed by the Jackets on July 1, marking his return to the NHL after being released by the Maple Leafs in November 2019.
After he was fired from Toronto, numerous stories of Babcock’s shabby treatment of players were reported, including in the Toronto Sun involving Mitch Marner during his various tenures as an NHL coach.
For all the hype that accompanied Babcock’s signing in Toronto in 2015, he failed rather stunningly with the Leafs as he was just 4 1/2 years into his eight-year contract.
Babcock was instrumental in leading the Leafs to a playoff berth in 2016-17 after the team finished last in the NHL in his first season behind Toronto’s bench.
However, the Leafs failed to take the next step and lost in the first round each of the next three years.
Babcock’s time as Leafs coach ended after a 9-10-4 start nearly four years ago when team president Brendan Shanahan flew to Arizona and fired him during a Leafs trip.
– With files from The Associated Press
https://torontosun.com/sports/hockey/nhl/toronto-maple-leafs/babcock-reportedly-under-investigation-by-nhlpa Former Leaf Mike Babcock cleared by NHL and NHLPA on phone charges