Toronto Maple Leafs: Mike Babcock Can Be Much Better

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has the reputation of a God in the National Hockey League.

Is the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach so great that nothing he does is wrong? I don’t think so.

Imagine if Babcock didn’t have bad veteran players to play. What kind of world would we live in? I’ll tell you: A good one.

Imagine if Babcock didn’t play the (putrid) fourth line for 10-12 minutes per game.

Imagine if he was a progressive coach, i.e. one that doesn’t believe in the 1980s theory of grit having a place in the game.

Imagine if the head coach didn’t send out the fourth line after the Leafs scored a goal.

These are all legitimate complaints against Mike Babcock. He isn’t a God. He does make mistakes. He isn’t invincible.

Babcock’s bias against certain players (Corrado, any fourth liner not-named Soshnikov) is hurting the Leafs. His bias against Martin Marincin is hurting the Leafs.

Despite what Twitter might have you believe. Marincin isn’t a bad hockey player. He’s just a guy that gets the Gardiner treatment.

What about ice-time?

Matthews and Marner deserve more than the 16-18 minutes per game they currently get. That’s a fact, that’s not even an opinion. You have a better chance to win games if your best players play. These kids are 19 years old. Babcock isn’t protecting them from anything by keeping them off the ice.

Fitness and conditioning is at its best right now in pro sports. If they aren’t capable of 82 games at 20 minutes each, they probably shouldn’t be in the league.

Let’s recap:
  • Babcock doesn’t play his best players most of the time
  • He leans on bad veterans
  • He plays bad players
  • He has a bias against certain players
  • He’s not objective
  • He needs to modernize his game plan
  • He’s not a God

I like Mike Babcock. I love that he’s the coach of this team. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have his faults and he can’t be better. Just because he’s the Leafs coach doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve criticism – unless you’re incapable of being an nonobjective homer.