Written by: Eduardo Razo (@eddie91razo)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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Babwatch 2015 has come to an end and boy what an ending it was. For those who haven’t followed the story over the last 48 hours, it was rumored that the Buffalo Sabres had a deal in place for Mike Babcock. But at the last minute, the Toronto Maple Leafs came out of left field to swoop in and sign Babcock to an 8-year contract worth $50 million to be their next head coach.
With this hiring it shows the culture change that Leafs are heading towards. No longer are the players running the show with Babcock in town. They'll have someone who will preach accountability and command respect. Let's face it; most if not all the players didn’t respect Peter Horachek.
Adding Babcock still doesn’t change the direction that Brendan Shanahan wants to go in, which is to draft smart, develop properly, and most importantly be patient. Babcock echoed these same views in his press conference and it was music to my ears. For the past decade, Leafs fans have been demanding a proper rebuild and from the look of things, that’s what they're getting.
The lure of the challenge of bringing the Leafs back to greatness appears to what drove Babcock to sign with the Leafs. Winning with an original six franchise such as the Leafs would be an experience like no other. It’s one thing to win a cup, but it’s entirely different to win a cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who haven’t won anything since 1967. I believe that the thought of being the guy that does the impossible (along with the money because boy is $50 million a lot of cash) is what lead Babcock to choosing Toronto over Buffalo.
Again, does this mean all of the Leafs problems are fixed and they’ll be making the playoffs next season?
Babcock isn’t the solution, he’s not going to make Tyler Bozak a true number one center or Dion Phaneuf into a number one defenseman, but he’s a huge piece of the puzzle. With Babcock behind the bench the Leafs can start a new era as they enter the rebuild with Brendan Shanahan, Mark Hunter, and Kyle Dubas running the show.
The cleansing of the Leafs from the inside has begun. There's still much work to be done and as Babcock stated, “If you think there’s no pain coming, there’s pain coming.”
Now, with Babcock in the fold, Leafs fans have a sign that brighter days are coming and they have a belief that Brendan Shanahan’s plan will come together. This plan resulted in the firing the General Manager Dave Nonis, Interim Head Coach Peter Horachek, the entire coaching staff of the Maple Leafs and the Toronto Marlies (minor league affiliate), and all of the scouts.
So, to my fellow Leafs fans, lets band together and prepare ourselves for pain.