Mike Babcock has taken on a new role as an analyst for NBC Sports. Question is; will Ron Francis be taking his name off the list of possible Seattle Kraken head coaches?
Of course, Mike Babcock taking on television work certainly shouldn’t be precluding him from a job with the Seattle Kraken. That said, maybe he knows more than us. Perhaps, there really isn’t any true interest.
Ron Francis has been managing so far to delay any decision about a head coach. As such, it’s really bearing no relevance as to whether potential hirings are employed or not.
We touched on the idea of hiring Rob Brind’Amour, whose deal with the Canes is expiring at the end of this season. Likewise, Mike Babcock surely has been savvy in negotiating a head coaching out clause with NBC.
Perhaps this studio gig actually ends up highlighting his analytical skills and ends up making Babcock more attractive as a hiring. Perhaps he is using it as almost an audition tape for how his thinking on the game has evolved. If indeed it has.
Hiring a head coach is no easy task. For the Seattle Kraken, that challenge has greater difficulty as the new recruit will be key to building the team’s culture.
As such, whether or not Mike Babcock is on the radar; hiring him would be, to my thinking, a bad idea. You only need look at the trail of complaints as he was departing the Maple Leafs.
Whether it’s his out-dated thinking on getting rookies to rank teammates’ laziness or indeed the verbal assault Johan Franzen suffered. Neither will fly with a new organisation that wants not only to appear forward-thinking, but act upon it too.
Ron Francis should absolutely be looking at all possible options. Despite the NBC role, Babcock is certainly an option as a head coach.
However, Francis should be requesting very clear demonstrations that the old-school thinking that saw him ousted in Toronto won’t be renewed with a new team.
The Seattle Kraken want to be bold and taking risks is part of that. Hiring Mike Babcock would likely be a step too far on the risk-taking matrix. He isn’t proven with building new teams; his successes have come when the key personnel is already there.
If anything, this new NBC gig is just giving the Seattle Kraken another reason to avoid a questionable head coach hiring. Thanks NBC!