Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock strongly rejects allegations that he demanded to look through photos on his players’ cell phones.
This is the popular podcast Spittin’ Chiclets, hosted by ex-player Paul Bissonnette, who made these allegations Tuesday morning. Citing an NHL player he did not name, Bissonnette said Babcock, who is starting his first season behind the Jackets’ bench, allegedly called team captain Boone Jenner into his office. The pilot then allegedly asked the attacker to connect to a television in order to review the photos on his device, in order “to find out what type of person” the 30-year-old veteran is.
These comments, which were confirmed by ex-defender Mike Commodore, a long-time critic of Babcock, set social networks ablaze. Various media reported that the organization and the Players Association had looked into the matter to verify the validity of the accusations.
In the afternoon, the Blue Jackets released a press release in which Babcock and Jenner flatly denied this description of their first meeting. They said their exchanges had been cordial, and that they had shared photos of their respective families. “There is absolutely nothing more,” maintained Babcock, who called the remarks reported by Spittin’ Chiclets of “gross (and) extremely offensive misrepresentation”.
“This first meeting seemed like a good way to start our relationship,” Jenner added. Seeing (this story) take on these proportions is frankly disappointing. »
The 60-year-old coach, who won the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Detroit Red Wings, has a serious history. Former players who worked with him in Detroit, where he spent a decade, described him as an intimidator. In Toronto, where he spent just under five seasons, tactics deemed inappropriate with rookie players were brought to light. Quickly, after the Leafs showed him the door in November 2019, he was classified in the untouchable category.
For three and a half years, he stayed away from the NHL. Then, on 1er Last July, when his expensive contract with the Maple Leafs expired, the Blue Jackets announced his hiring with great fanfare. Babcock then claimed to have improved his communicator skills.