Mike Babcock

Holland doesn’t want Babcock’s contract status to be a distraction


Will Mike Babcock sign a contract extension to remain head coach of the Detroit Red Wings past 2014-15?

If he does, it won’t be during the season — it’ll either be before or after.

Or never.

“Our team doesn’t need an everyday Mike Babcock watch all year long,” GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com this morning. “We are going to talk in September and we’ll see where we go.”

Writes ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

If high-profile teams like Toronto and Pittsburgh struggle this season, you better believe the Babcock talk will intensify. Unfortunately for the Wings, it’s going to be a storyline all year long unless he signs an extension before the season, because you know his name will be the first to pop up in the NHL markets where things are going poorly.

Plan B for the Red Wings, should Babcock leave next summer, is potentially their AHL head coach Jeff Blashill. Or at least that’s one of the options. Other NHL teams contacted Detroit about wanting to talk to Blashill this summer and the answer was “No,” according to sources.

LeBrun makes a good point about Toronto, where Randy Carlyle is most definitely on the hot seat. And the big-money Maple Leafs could certainly make Babcock a massive offer, should they be granted the opportunity next summer.

Meanwhile, poor Mike Johnston is already reading speculation about his job security, and he hasn’t even coached a game for the Penguins.

Related: Under Pressure: Mike Johnston

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen

Coyotes place towering enforcer John Scott on waivers

John Scott, Brandon Davidson
The Canadian Press via AP

The Arizona Coyotes might not be using John Scott‘s services after all.

The team waived him this afternoon, per Craig Morgan. It’s possible that the Coyotes are simply giving themselves options as Scott clearing would allow them to send him down quickly at any point until he plays in 10 games or 30 days pass. At the same time, any team looking for a gritty fourth-line forward or third-pairing defenseman might be tempted to claim him in light of his affordable $575K cap hit for the 2015-16 campaign.

Scott is an imposing presence on the ice at 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds, but he doesn’t bring much to the table other than his physical play and willingness to drop the gloves. In terms of offensive abilities, he’s among the least capable in the league. In fact, the four points he recorded last season with the San Jose Sharks represented a career-high for the 33-year-old.

Meanwhile, Dan Cleary went unclaimed on waivers, according to Bob McKenzie, setting the stage for him to be reassigned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.