By Ashley Dunkak
JOE LOUIS ARENA (CBS DETROIT) – Revered Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock ranks his contract situation – he has one year remaining on his current deal – at the very bottom of the priority list for him and the team this offseason. He said Tuesday he does not even expect to discuss it.
“I doubt it,” Babcock said. “If I was uncomfortable, if this was my first gig, I’d want an extension. It’s not. I’m good.
“That’s not a concern for me one bit,” Babcock continued. “When you’re at the stage I am, I’m real comfortable with whatever they want. I want them to be happy. If they’re not happy, then I’m not happy. I have no problem. I can go year to year.”
Babcock said he has not thought about going elsewhere after his contract expires and that he likes the environment in Detroit. As for his willingness to operate on a series of one-year contracts, Babcock reasoned that if it worked for Hall of Fame coach and Red Wings legend Scotty Bowman, it will work just fine for him too.
“I know Scotty Bowman went year-to-year at one point here,” Babcock said. “I’m comfortable with that. I can get a job. I’m not worried about that. But I like it here. The owner’s great to me. Actually the owner’s better than great to me here. They do things right and they treat people right, and the GM [Ken Holland] is a driven guy who can’t stand losing, and I like to be around ultracompetitive people.”
Holland said he had not spoken to Babcock about his contract but anticipated doing so.
“I thought he’s done a tremendous job,” Holland said. “From the time a team gets eliminated ’til really probably early August, these are the times for big decisions, so obviously I want to talk to Mike here in the next couple of months, and we’ll see what comes of it.”
The head coach of the Red Wings since 2005, Babcock began his tenure by guiding Detroit to seven straight 100-plus-point seasons. The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup under his leadership in 2008.
“I want him back behind the bench,” Holland said. “I respect the job that he does for us, the work ethic. I respect the job that he did this year in putting the young players into our system and into the lineup and sticking with them. I think if you put down a list of the best coaches in the National Hockey League, he’s on a short list.”