Mike Babcock isn’t paying attention to rumors about his job security as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I’m going to do it as hard as I can, as long as I can,” Babcock told TSN on Monday. “I’ve always bet on Mike Babcock, I’ll continue to bet on him.”
The Maple Leafs (9-9-4) are 0-4-1 since Babcock became the eighth coach in NHL history to reach 700 wins when they defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 7. The Maple Leafs visit the Golden Knights on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-RM, TSN4, NHL.TV).
“I’m in a pretty good spot in my life,” Babcock said after practice in Las Vegas on Monday. “My kids are grown; if my kids were young, I’d never coach in Toronto. In my spot, I won’t spend a whole lot of time listening. I do get text messages from people that are friends of yours and they’re sending you texts, well, they care about you.”
Babcock, who signed an eight-year contract with Toronto, in 2015, is in his fifth season as Maple Leafs coach and has guided them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the past three, losing the Eastern Conference First Round each time. He is 173-132-45 with Toronto and 700-417-164 with 19 ties in 17 NHL seasons with the Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008.
Toronto lost a back-to-back set to the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins by a combined score of 10-3 and is fifth in the Atlantic Division.
“We didn’t play hard enough for long enough,” Babcock said after the loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. “In the end, as an athlete, you put on your sweater. You want to be proud of how hard you compete and how hard you play for one another. We didn’t look after that.
“We have to take a look at each other and get this fixed. No one on the outside is going to fix it. We have to fix it.”