octobre 4, 2023

Blue Jackets address Mike Babcock resignation

2 min read

Less than a day after Mike Babcock resigned as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team held its pre-training camp media day on Monday. In addition to introducing new head coach Pascal Vincent, the Blue Jackets front-office leadership group also spoke to media about Babcock’s departure, which came following the NHL Players’ Association’s investigation last week into him allegedly looking through photos on players’ phones.

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen explained that he had a meeting with the players and apologized for any awkwardness caused by the scandal. As reported by ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, Kekalainen also revealed that Babcock looked through his photos in an attempt to connect with him, and Kekalainen said, “Personally I had no problem with it, but I can see how it might put someone in an uncomfortable situation.”

Kekalainen did add that “some of our players weren’t comfortable with his methods, and that was concerning.”

Team president of hockey operations John Davidson also shared his thoughts on the matter Monday. 

“We went through a process earlier this year prior to hiring Mike Babcock as our head coach, but we got it wrong. And that’s on us,” Davidson told reporters. “And I promise you we will learn from this moving forward.”

“He was a player. I was a player. We have to understand our players. And it just wasn’t going to work,” Davidson said.

Earlier in the day, Blue Jackets ownership released a statement indicating that, while the team is “deeply frustrated and disappointed with the events of the past week,” it doesn’t anticipate any changes to the hockey leadership at this time.

Most notably, the implication there is that Kekalainen will stay on as GM. He enters a “prove it” season after he made some aggressive upgrades to his last-place roster, including acquiring two new top-four defensemen in Ivan Provorov and Damon Severson.

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