Dallas Stars Daily Links: Has the Mike Babcock Move Made Coaches Into Players?

By getting the best deal for himself, Mike Babcock may have changed the career model for every other coach. Also, the Calder Cup playoffs roll on, and Tyler Seguin's new sweetheart is a LOT older than he is.

So Now You're Doing the Defending Big D Daily Links!

This is a little like being handed the keys to your father's brand-new sports car. Your heart of hearts screams at you to jump in and start spinning donuts on City Hall Plaza. Meanwhile, your brain of brains tells you to take it easy lest you wind up on the load end of a different kind of screaming. Bear with me, and I'll try not to put this into the wall. Deal?

(Don't hope for cleverness. Cleverness will come later, if at all. Now eat your cabbage, or no Cuties for you.)

The biggest impact of Mike Babcock's blockbuster deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs may reveal itself in the way superstar coaches think about their own careers in the future. Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated explains it like this:

Great coaches have jumped from one team to another before, of course. We’ve seen it with Bill Belichick, Larry Brown, Bill Parcells, Pat Riley, Larry Brown, Joe Maddon, Larry Brown and Larry Brown. Tom Thibodeau will probably do it in the next few weeks. Babcock even did it once before, after the NHL lockout ended in 2005, when he jumped from Anaheim to Detroit because he wasn’t confident about his future in Anaheim.

The difference here is that Babcock had no reason to leave. He would be the first to say this. The Red Wings still wanted him. Last year, they wanted to make him the highest-paid coach in the NHL. He had stable ownership — the Ilitch family will likely own the Red Wings for as long as Babcock coaches. He had a strong relationship with his general manager, Ken Holland, who is both extremely skilled and as easy to get along with as any executive in sports. Babcock liked living in Michigan, and he admitted to the Detroit Free Press recently that it would be "way easier for my family" if he stayed. The Wings are even building a new arena.

There was no reason for Babcock to leave. And yet he left.

Why? Because he figured he could hit the open market and cut the best deal for himself, regardless of history, sentimentality or loyalty.

In other words: He approached it like a player.


There was a time when coaches were seen as an extension of management, and there was a time when coaches grabbed any extension because they felt lucky to have any job at all. Babcock realized times have changed. Which elite coach will realize it next?

There's quite a bit more, and Rosenberg has some interesting insights into what it may mean to Babcock if he can become a permanent fixture in Canada's pantheon of hockey heroes. Leading the Leafs back to glory could just about make that happen. Read the rest here. [SI]


Links are like candy on a shelf. You want to taste? Then help yourself.

BREAKING (the internets): Tyler Seguin is in France, and he's found him some romance! Check out the photosnap with his new luv:

(Disclaimer: Le Tour Eiffel is not really Seguin's new girlfriend, nor is it technically a girl at all.)

No coverage of the Babcock signing is more important than that of The Most Long-Suffering Toronto Fan Ever. Sean McIndoe discusses what it means for the team, the city and the league. He also grapples with the unfamiliar notion that the Leafs may have done something right. [Grantland]

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres — whose high-profile jilting by Babs has added one more indignity to a season full of them — have received permission to approach their new target true love, former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. San Jose is in on Bylsma too, as you may remember. Maybe they will stand in separate corners and beckon him with Sidney Crosby imitations, and whoever he goes to first gets to keep him. [TSN]

Because death always comes in threes, The Triplets — Tyler Johnson, Ondřej Palát and Nikita Kucherov — have delivered one killing blow after another to their opponents. These guys have scored 25 of Tampa Bay's 47 goals in the playoffs. Their combined age is 69. Their combined draft position is 266 and is only this high because Johnson went undrafted altogether. Dan Rosen of NHL.com has a good article on the skills and symbiosis that make this line so lethal. [NHL]

Now I'll post a video, because kids love videos. Enjoy this sweet snipe by Kucherov, about three and a half minutes into OT, that sent the Lightning fans home happy Wednesday night. Remember, Game 4 is tonight at 7 p.m. CT in sunny Florida. Watch on NBCSN, CBC or TVA. You're welcome.

But what of King Henrik? Lundqvist allowed six goals against the Rangers for the second game in a row (12 goals on 66 shots). That makes him the first Rangers goalie to allow that many goals in consecutive playoff games since Gump Worsley did it in 1958. Apparently, Worsley was fond of Johnnie Walker Red, so he may have had an excuse. Lundqvist is making none, even though the Rangers defense would have made it really, really easy. [NHL]

On a side note, Gump Worsley spent his last five hockeying years with the Minnesota North Stars (1970 to 1974). Sports blogger Chaz Bolte has a brief primer, including Worsley's North Stars trading card and video from his final game. [Dock Ellis Concept Album]

Nashville will host the 2016 All-Star Game January 30-31. But before that — on Saturday, May 30 — they'll unveil the 2016 All-Star logo. Which is a lot more important, probably. Icethetics posted this news and will no doubt also post the gory, hideous details, all in the fullness of time. [Icethetics]

Seriously, the Predators are serious about this.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have named LW Nick Foligno their first captain since Rick Nash was dealt to the New York Rangers in 2012. He and his dad are now a father-son captaining duo; Mike Foligno wore the "C" for the Sabres in 1989-90. [The Cannon]

The 2018 Winter Olympics are nearly three years away, but thanks to the 2015 IIHF World Championships, we already know how most of the tournament bracket will look. The host nation has drawn Team Canada. Sorry, Korea. That automatic entry may not have been such a good deal after all. [Puck Daddy]

Did you know they're still playing for the 2015 Calder Cup? The Eastern Conference finals began last night, with the Manchester Monarchs taking the first win at home 3-2 against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Western Conference finals begin Sunday, May 24 as the Utica Comets welcome the Grand Rapids Griffins. TheAHL.com has the full schedule for both. [AHL]

The second-saddest thing about the current Calder bracket is that the Oklahoma City Barons have now played their last game, losing to Utica in Game 7 Wednesday night. Edmonton's feeder franchise is moving to Bakersfield, California, which leaves OKC a hockey ghost town once more. DBD fave-rave Stephen Meserve has a few thoughts. [100 Degree Hockey]

By the time you read this, either Chicago or Anaheim has won Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. I'm not asking you to like it, because choosing between the Blackhawks and the Ducks is like choosing between flu and dysentery (which, now that I think about it, gives "the WC" a ripe yet disenchanting alternative meaning). But please, discuss in the comments. Share and enjoy.

Finally: Where are all the deeply embarrassing yet infernally catchy playoff song parodies? I want them. Tampa Bay-area DJ Orlando Davis has obliged with a Lightning-themed magnum opus called "Uptown Puck." Any playoff parody that uses the lyric "This ice-whoopin' won't be pretty" probably wins all playoff parodies ever, but why don’t you find out for yourself.