The Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen had hopes of getting a new coach in place before the IIHF World Championships, that’s being held in his native country Finland. But it didn’t happen, but now, it seems like a solution is edging closer, with a highly controversial name in the mix.
Brad Larsen was fired in April after two seasons on the Columbus bench, and last week; surprising reports came that Columbus has interviewed Mike Babcock for the job.
Babcock is a Stanley Cup-winning coach but hasn’t coached in the NHL since 2019 when he was fired from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not only were the Maple Leafs on a six-game losing streak, but there were also allegations of Babcock being toxic, and since, he’s been accused by former players of Toronto and Detroit of both verbal and mental abuse.
Former Detroit Red Wings player Johan Franzen told Swedish newspapers that Babcock was a great coach, ”but he’s a terrible person, the worst I ever met. He’s a bully who was attacking people. It could be a cleaner at the arena in Detroit or anybody. He would lay into people without any reason.”
Well, now, Babcock seemed to have advanced from just being nominated for the job to actually being close to securing it.
Many fans were shocked that Columbus even considered Babcock with all that he’s been accused of in mind. But according to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, it seems nearly finalized.
”So we’re told by a reputable source that the disgraced Mike Babcock is “far down the line with a team,” and the inference is that the team is the Blue Jackets,” Brooks wrote.
When Brooks names JD, he speaks of J.D. Kershaw, vice president of operations in Columbus.