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Mike Babcock’s Friends Reward Ex-Maple Leafs Bench Boss After Firing

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TORONTO — Whereas his workforce has carried out properly early this season regardless of dropping its high participant from final 12 months’s championship workforce, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse acknowledged Wednesday wasn’t a straightforward day.

Hours earlier than the Raptors tipped off towards the Orlando Magic at Scotiabank Enviornment, the Toronto Maple Leafs fired head coach Mike Babcock and changed him with Sheldon Keefe.

Maple Leafs Sports activities and Leisure owns each groups and the world — and the 2 coaches received to know one another through the years.

“I’ve clearly recognized him for a short while and had some good conversations with him,” Nurse stated. “It’s very powerful. A troublesome, powerful enterprise, and difficult when it’s in your individual group like that, for positive.”

Babcock paid tribute to the Raptors this season, awarding a recreation ball from the NBA Finals to the Leafs’ high participant after every win.

Whereas the Leafs have stumbled to a 9-10-Four begin, the Raptors, who misplaced Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers within the low season, have been 9-Four earlier than Wednesday’s recreation.

Babcock’s firing was a scorching matter at arenas across the NHL.

Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith, who spent 4 years as an assistant on Babcock’s employees in Toronto, praised Babcock for his professionalism.

Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

“He gave me my likelihood within the Nationwide Hockey League,” Smith stated in Montreal, earlier than the Senators confronted the Canadiens. “He confirmed me the NHL and he did an excellent job daily. It’s a tricky time for him and his household and I definitely really feel for him.”

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien, who labored on Babcock’s Canada employees en path to gold on the 2014 Olympics and 2016 World Cup, additionally was stuffed with reward for the ex-Leafs bench boss.

“To begin with, I feel all people is aware of right here Mike Babcock is an effective coach,” Julien stated. “He’s received in all places he’s gone, in any respect ranges as properly, whether or not it’s junior, within the professional degree, the Olympics, etcetera, etcetera. So far as I’m involved if he desires to work once more tomorrow, he’s received a reasonably good likelihood of getting again to work. That’s how I feel all people who is aware of Mike feels about him.”

Julien stated all coaches are conscious days like Wednesday can and do occur.

Claude Julien (Photograph by Dave Reginek/NHLI through Getty Photographs)

“We perceive after we signal on we’re in a tricky enterprise,” he stated. “A number of (occasions), you will be pointed the finger (at) for issues you’ll be able to’t management. On the finish of the day, it’s what it’s. It’s essential for us to not lose our confidence and transfer on. The one factor I do know is Mike shouldn’t be going to lose his confidence.”

— With recordsdata from Neil Davidson in Toronto and Alexis Belanger-Champagne in Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Nov. 20, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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