Blue Jackets May Have Felt Uncomfortable With Mike Babcock Picture Exercise

The NHL and NHLPA met Friday to discuss the next steps in the investigation into charges of invasion of privacy leveled against Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock.

The meeting was previously arranged before the Babcock situation became public, and it included a number of routine league items.

On the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast on Tuesday, Barstool’s Paul Bissonnette stated that Babcock had asked to check images on his players’ phones before putting them on his office television via AirPlay. Bissonnette specifically cited Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner, prompting Babcock and Jenner to issue a joint statement through the organization denying the gravity of Bissonnette’s allegations. Columbus standout Johnny Gaudreau also defended his bench manager.

Mike Babcock Allegations
Mike Babcock Allegations

Bissonnette hasn’t given up, sticking by his sources and posting screenshots of anonymous NHL players who reportedly confirm his report.

The NHLPA’s executive director, Marty Walsh, and associate executive director, Ron Hainsey, met with Blue Jackets players to examine the reported occurrences, who described the discussion as “intense.”

The NHL and NHLPA were first pleased there was no violation, but that changed when it was found that “some of the younger Blue Jackets were uncomfortable with what had occurred.”

The NHLPA also issued a statement about the meeting, albeit it did not reveal many details.

“NHLPA officials Marty Walsh, Ron Hainsey and Don Zavelo met with the NHL earlier today at the league’s New York City office regarding the matter involving Mike Babcock,” it said in a statement Friday. “During this meeting, we provided the NHL with an update on our ongoing review. We do not have any further comment at this time.”

When asked on a radio program about the incident, TSN’s Darren Dreger said it was plausible Babcock could be dismissed as Blue Jackets head coach.

“Based on the information that has been discovered and percolated to the surface in the last 48 hours, I think there’s a chance Babcock’s job could be in question,” Dreger said, while making the distinction that he’s not officially reporting or predicting a Babcock firing.

Babcock is no stranger to conflict. During his tenure as Toronto Maple Leafs head coach, the 60-year-old notoriously challenged Mitch Marner to evaluate his teammates’ work ethic, then shared the list with the team against Marner’s wishes. Johan Franzen, who played for the Detroit Red Wings under Babcock, termed him “the worst person” he’d ever met.

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Babcock was recruited by the Blue Jackets on July 1, 2019, after being sacked by the Maple Leafs in November 2019. He won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings previously and is a member of the Triple Gold Club. Stay tuned to BLHS News for more updates and news.

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