Capitals

Mike Babcock is the wrong choice for the Capitals next head coach

Capitals

Let's face it, the Capitals have a championship window that's closing. Every decision that they make this offseason has to have that sitting squarely in the front of their minds.

From free agents to their next head coach, it should be about maximizing all the juice you can squeeze from what's left of the greatest era in team history. 

That mindset is why Mike Babcock is the wrong choice for Washington's next head coach. You won't be able to sell his reputation to this veteran Capitals team, and you shouldn't have to. 

Sure, he has a resume with success littered all over it, but we're talking about over a decade since his trips to the Stanley Cup Final with a stacked Detroit team. He also has the type of reputation you steer clear from in someone that's supposed to be a leader. 

Let's start with playoff success. Since 2013, the farthest any of Babcock's teams have gone has been first round and out. If that's the goal for the twilight of Alex Ovechkin's career, you should've just kept Todd Reirden. 

The bigger issue though is how Babcock coaches. Former Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen told Swedish media Mike Babcock, is “the worst person I have ever met.”

Then there's the report from the Toronto Sun that said Babcock made rookie Mitch Marner rank teammates from the hardest working to the least. That list the 19-year-old was forced to make was then shared with the entire team, causing massive backlash - not toward Marner, but Babcock for being a snitch. Marner was led to believe it was a private motivational tactic. 

 

We've all worked for bad bosses before. Can you imagine being asked to rank the hardest working to "laziest" co-workers, then having your boss email that out to the whole company? 

Players around the league talk off the record to each other about their experiences with other teammates and coaches. Who knows what's said behind the scenes. Once something like this is public, it's an even harder sell. 

Sportsnet reporter Chris Johnston joined the Capitals Talk Podcast and said about Babcock: "I think that the way that [Babcock] likes to coach, he's very upfront, he's not afraid of a little confrontation. I think that works better with an older team who understand what he's doing and why he's doing it. I do see a great fit [in Washington]."

Sorry Chris, but I just can't disagree more. Reirden's personality may have been non-existent, but going to the complete extreme at the other end of the spectrum won't be any better in Washington. 

Sure, GM Brian MacLellan has made his worries about a lack of discipline with the Capitals known, but the pendulum can swing too far the other way. The best coaches know how to have balance when working with players. Not everyone can be ruled with an iron fist. Take this video of Warriors coach Steve Kerr for example: 

Is Kerr yelling at Steph Curry? Nope. He found other ways to get his point across. Too many people in leadership positions think they need to come in and find the biggest guy in the room and punch them in the jaw (not literally of course -- or, well, hopefully not). That's such a closed-minded mentality. The real great leaders figure out what works for every individual, and uses that to actually get the best out of people. 

Even with the realization the Capitals have a few short years left before some major changes are likely, Babcock's window would be even shorter. He'd wear players out, kill chemistry and apparently try to embarrass young guys with stupid lists. 

I also don't want to hear that "maybe this Toronto thing changed him" narrative either. He's 57. How many 57-year-olds are willing to completely overhaul their entire personality? That doesn't happen. Especially when someone has a massive ego and is in a position of power. 

Let's also remember Babcock got a massive contract with the Maple Leafs. The Capitals need to pay big bucks for their next head coach and it would be a bad business decision to spend it on Babcock, no matter what that price tag ended up being. 

Mike Babcock and the Capitals is a marriage that should never happen.