Sportsnet analyst Elliotte Friedman was a guest on NHL Network on Tuesday and gave some more insight into the Capitals coaching search.
Over the weekend, Friedman reported that the Capitals have interviewed Mike Babock and Gerard Gallant during Hockey Night In Canada’s Saturday Night Headlines segment. In late August, he also reported the team had interviewed Peter Laviolette after asking for permission from the Nashville Predators.
During the interview with EJ Hradek, Friedman handicapped Mike Babcock’s chances of becoming head coach while also giving context on what went wrong for the Capitals in the bubble.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) September 8, 2020
How likely is it that we’ll see Mike Babcock behind the bench in Washington?
Elliotte Friedman: I think there’s other candidates still in the mix. I don’t think it’s 100 percent, knock-em-in guarantee. Put it this way, I wouldn’t tell you to bet your next month’s sizable mortgage on it. I think he’s got a chance. I think he’s in the mix. I think Peter Laviolette is very much in the mix too. I know they’ve interviewed Gerard Gallant too though I don’t know the level of interest yet there. I think they do have interest in Babcock. I think he’s a contender for the job. But if I was to come on air and say to you and the great listeners that it’s a guarantee he’s going to be the next head coach of the Capitals, I’d be lying. But I definitely think he’s in the mix and a contender.
Do you think Mike Babcock is a fit there? That seems like a tough one in Washington.
Elliotte Friedman: Here’s the thing I think. I think the Capitals feel that they lost a bit of their edge. Sometimes that happens when you win a Stanley Cup. It’s hard to win once, never mind twice. That can happen. I think also though that, after I reported the Babcock thing over the weekend, I did have a couple texts from a player and the one thing that he said to me was that they just felt that when they got back for the return-to-play for training camp, whatever it is, It wasn’t there. They didn’t have it. There have been some reports now in the bubble about how the Capitals just weren’t the Capitals. They weren’t the driven, hungry champion that we’ve seen them be. I think the organization knows that. I think the organization feels that. I think they want someone who can come in and push some buttons a little bit. Mike Babcock is definitely one of those guys. He’s a polarizing guy. There were some things he did in Toronto, I think that were mistakes. But I think he’s done a lot of other things that I think would really help the Washington Capitals. To me, it’s always about, are you willing to look at what you did wrong and say, “I’m gonna fix that so it never happens again.”
Screenshot courtesy of @NHLNetwork
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