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- Ice hockey coach, former player
Dave Tippett and the Edmonton Oilers appear to be in need of a change, and usually coaches tend to face the music when that's the case. If the Oilers decide to make a switch, is Mike Babcock a good option?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: But I'm curious to know at this stage right now-- because we all know how winning cures a lot of ills-- I'm curious to know if the two superstars in Edmonton, if they really like Dave Tippett, if he really is a source of problems for them. And if he's not, then really he doesn't need to deserve to be moved. And well, if it gets to the point where he does get moved, it's a question of, well, when is Mike Babcock going to take over?
Because let's be real here every-- Let's be real. Look, this is not me endorsing Mike Babcock to be head coach. But if you are going to tell me that Ken Holland finds himself in a position where he needs a head coach-- maybe Jay Woodcroft in Bakersfield doesn't work out. And Mike Babcock is not getting any more of that Toronto money. He's not going to give him a call-- his boy?
OMAR: I mean, but here's the thing. Yeah, for sure. So the Oilers need to improve. They need to improve in all areas. They need to improve defensively. So let's bring on Mike Babcock, who literally made Tyson Barrie so bad. That's what people aren't talking about. A lot of people are saying, oh yeah, it's great. Zach Hyman they'll reconnect there. And just like yeah, but also Cody Ceci and Tyson Barrie also played for Babcock. And they weren't good there, and they're not good in Edmonton.
So it's just like-- I just feel like that would just be a move for the sake of moves. You know what I mean? It would just be something so Ken Holland and say, oh well, I tried to do something. I tried to change the team up a little bit.
I think we've all talked about it-- not even just in this episode multiple times. The issues go beyond the coach. It's not the playing style. It's they don't have the player personnel to get the job done. It's always rely on McDavid and Draisaitl. After that, that's it. Luckily, I think Ryan McLeod's been actually pretty decent the last two games.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Great game.
OMAR: He's been contributing offensively. But besides that, who else is-- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has three goals. Why aren't we talking about that? So it's just like--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: He had three goals in the last how many games?
OMAR: No, on the season.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: On the season.
OMAR: The entire season.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: He has three goals? What?
OMAR: He has three goals. That's it.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: No.
OMAR: No one's talking about that.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: No. Didn't he just sign a deal too?
OMAR: Mm-hmm. Right. So it's just like-- the issues go beyond coaching.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Oh, that's not good at all.
OMAR: They go beyond coaching.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Yeah, I mean, I'm sensing a little bit of a pattern-- sorry to interrupt-- with Leaf retreads, Barry, Ceci, and Hyman, maybe not to this same extent, but Babcock as well. I mean, I'm sure if there was anything that was going to bring Babcock back, the opportunity to coach Connor McDavid would be at the top of the list. But it just doesn't seem like a great fit to me.
Babcock-- I believe it was when Todd McLellan was with the coach-- loved talking about how McDavid plays too much, and Draisaitl plays too much, and that you need a balanced lineup. And this is what part of his downfall in Toronto. But are you going to play an imbalanced-- or are you going to play a balanced lineup in Edmonton with what they've got? It needs to be imbalanced, because you need Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl out there as much as possible to make up the ground that's being lost by the other lines.
You mentioned Nugent-Hopkins three goals, the failure of that third line. I mean, you need them to play as much as possible. And it would go against everything that Babcock really stands for. But again, I think he would jump at that opportunity. But the one thing here-- and I think this is speculative on my part-- but I feel like Ken Holland and Mike Babcock hated each other by the end of their time in Detroit together.
Babcock did leave. I think he saw the writing on the wall. But I feel like things had run their course between those two. And again, I don't know this for certain, just things that I've heard. But I don't know if it would be tenable between those two. I could be wrong there though.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Could I throw something out just before we give it to Avry? Because this sounds kind of weird to just kind of bring up. And I don't mean to just prop this up as-- I'm not trying to make myself be like, oh you know, just shoulders off, I'm this big dude. But once upon a time, I talked to Ken Holland. And he made it seem as if him and Mike Babcock were best friends even throughout the whole thing.
So I don't think that-- I think they're still good. I think they're still good. I think they're still best friends. I think they're fine. I don't think they had any issue. I think Mike Babcock just saw an opportunity to cash out in Toronto. And Ken Holland was only able to pay out what he was able to pay out to Mike Babcock. And Mike Babcock just up and left.
I don't know. I'm not convinced at least. And that's a whole other story on how Ken Holland and I ended up talking. I was not convinced at the end of that conversation that those two were not friends.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: It is very possible. And again, I don't know this for certain, and I'm not reporting anything, and that's that. But what just happened with Mike Babcock and management with the Toronto Maple Leafs? This is a guy who is involved. He wants to have power. He fights for that power. It was a great relationship for a very long time. But in the end, they were in the same tug of war, I believe, as Babcock was engaged with the Maple Leafs.
Are they going to revisit that? I'm not convinced that's going to happen. But maybe you're right. I don't think Ken Holland is just going to bury Babcock in a conversation with you, like Babcock wouldn't bury Holland, because everything was OK by the end of it. And he had that natural out. But again, I think Babcock is a guy that's sandpaper. And I think there's friction all the time. That's just sort of my opinion.