The Mike Babcock era is over in Toronto, and the man who hired him back in May 2015 was the one to put the final nail in the coffin.
Brendan Shanahan spoke to reporters in Arizona this afternoon after flying in from Toronto to have the final conversation with Babcock. The timing of the decision is surprising to many, as the Leafs are set to return to Toronto after one final game on the road tomorrow night against the Coyotes.
Shanahan reinforced that the time was now, and waiting until the team returned would have been the wrong decision.
Brendan Shanahan: "We know how competitive the league is and how difficult it is each and every night. When you think that you know what the right decision is, you have to act on it. I think waiting would have been the wrong thing."— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) November 20, 2019
Shanahan mentioned that this final conversation was not pleasant, and that the decision was supported by the entire Leafs organization.
It is being billed as an organizational decision. Something that Dubas believed was necessary but fully supported by Shanahan and the Maple Leaf hierarchy. They felt the “message” was not getting through and a new voice is required. Shanahan and Dubas will be speaking to media.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 20, 2019
Shanahan added that the speculation from media on the corrosive relationship between Babcock and GM Kyle Dubas wasn’t the situation. Things just didn’t work out.
Shanahan maintains Dubas and Babcock had a good working relationship: "The commitment that management had and the coaching staff had to starting the season having success was 100% pure and honest and it just didn't work out that way."— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) November 20, 2019
After the firing Babcock spoke to Pierre LeBrun briefly, and thanked Larry Tanenbaum, Lou Lamoriello for his time in Toronto.
He left out two distinct names, Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan. This didn’t go unnoticed, as many are now reading between the lines that this final conversation and possibly their entire relationship may have been a lot messier than we know, for now.
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