TIOPS DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. Mike Babcock believes he’s the best coach in the NHL and that he can win anywhere. What a better challenge to prove that then what he’s getting into with the Maple Leafs.
Whether Babcock is a tad overrated as a coach is up for debate as coaches are often a product of their personnel but this was a hire the Leafs needed to make so bad no m atter the cost. They needed this hire more than any other team. It changes everything for them from an accountability standpoint and from a perception standpoint.
Last summer when speculation surfaced that Babcock was possibly looking to move on to another challenge and part ways with the Detroit Red Wings once his contract ended following the 2014-2015 season, two common things that were said to be very important to Babcock was money and more power in personnel decisions.
Babcock denied throughout the process over the last couple weeks that money was going to be a deciding factor and he also claimed he had no interest in being a General manager
Babcock doesn’t get the official GM title in joining the Toronto Maple Leafs but money and power in personnel decisions became huge factors in the Leafs landing Babcock but what some executives believed tipped the scales in Toronto’s favor over Buffalo is Babcock’s comfort level with Brendan Shanahan. Although Babcock and Tim Murray have a history together, last week there was a lot of skepticism in league circles that Babcock and Murray could ever co-exist long-term.
While the Sabres are reportedly furious in how Babcock handled the situation as they believe they were led on by Babcock, it wouldn’t be a shock if he worked them over the whole time and Babcock knew for a few weeks now he was going to Toronto.
2. Craig Custance of ESPN reported months ago that Babcock setting a new precedent for a coaches salary was very important to him in the hopes that it will eventually lead to NHL coaches across the board getting paid more in the long-run.
The highest paid coach prior to Babcock’s massive 8 year, $50 million contract was Joel Quenneville this season at $2.75 million. Right now $2 million is the norm for an experienced proven coach. That was Babcock’s previous salary, Alain Vigneault’s current salary, Michel Therrien’s salary and so on. Maybe Babcock’s deal helps make $3 million become the new norm for established successful coache but it’s going to be a very select group that gets in the $4 million a year range, let alone Babcock type money. This was just a unique situation.
3. The highest paid coaches in Pittsburgh (pro and college).
1. Mike Tomlin, $5.75 million.
2. Jamie Dixon, $3.2 million
Dixon has the best job in town. He’s one of college basketball’s top-10 paid coaches, under contract until 2023 and has no pressure from his higher ups despite having a stagnant program.
4. Jeff Locke threw 35 pitches and allowed three runs in the first inning tonight as the Pirates quickly fell behind 3-0 to the Twins. It looked like a typical Jeff Locke game where he has a disastrous inning and he wasn’t locating the ball well. Locke, though, then settled in to throw five shutout innings and kept the Pirates in the game. The flashes Locke shows in short stretches like he did tonight after the first inning and obviously the way he pitched in the first half of the 2013 season is why he’s going to be favored over Vance Worley.
5. Interesting decision coming up for veteran forward Andrew Ebbett. The 32 year old has a lucrative multi-year offer on the table from SC Bern of the Swiss league but don’t get the sense Ebbett is ready to call it quits on his NHL career just yet.
The first priority over the next couple weeks for Ebbett is trying to get a deal done with the Penguins, preferably a one-way contract, which remains to be seen (one-way contract). Ebbett was a player Jim Rutherford specifically mentioned during his end of the season press conference and the Penguins have made it known to the Ebbett camp that they want him back and feel he can push for a regular spot next season.