Can #BabWatch Become #MacEichel?

Rumor has it Dafoe is off the table, too...

Rumor has it Dafoe is off the table, too…

Well, damn. We did not see that coming. It’s like meeting a blind date and hitting it off, only to step away to the bathroom and find her draped over the trainwreck of a brah hanging at the bar. He shoots you a wink that says “Thanks, brah,” and you slink away to the safety of your home where you drown your sorrows in Ireland’s finest. No? Just me? Oh, well. Probably for the best…

Mike Babcock’s now-infamous super-secret triple double cross was executed to perfection. Less than 24 hours before deciding to head north of the border, it seemed that Toronto was out of the running. The Leafs had flown in another coaching prospect, and everyone believed that Babcock was deciding between Detroit and Buffalo, and further, everyone knew that Buffalo was going to offer more money. And so, we were all decked out in our finest blue and rolling out the gold carpet for the former Red Wings coach – the deal was all but signed. And then the tweets started – first it was Darren Dreger who said Toronto was still in the mix. Buffalo’s collective haughty laugh could probably be heard echoing through the ACC, prompting Brendan Shanahan to up the ante. Up it, he did. In less than an hour, it was over. The Hockey Gods had delivered hefty retribution for the tank. Hopefully, this was their last act and all debts are paid up. If not, maybe Pegula can buy the city of Toronto as a whole, change the name to New Buffalo, and the team can become the Pink Panthers. Take that, Babcockland!

This is Murray's 'Toronto stole my coach' face.  Photo from bleacherreport.com

This is Murray’s ‘Toronto stole my coach’ face. Photo from bleacherreport.com

Everyone’s going to be angry with Babcock, but honestly, every single one of us would have done the same thing. We intended to outbid Detroit, and Toronto outbid us. We should all know by now that anytime anyone in sports says ‘It’s not about the money,’ it is unequivocally about the money. Perhaps there are other factors – greater control over personnel decision being the most important – but an average of over 20% more per year is hard to walk away from. As a Canadian, who has won on every international level, the opportunity to bring a Cup back to Toronto may be even more difficult to leave behind, even if it isn’t very likely.

So now what? The Sabres held out for Babcock, and so they’ve lost their shot at McLellan. It looks like Hitchcock is going to stay in St. Louis. Dan Bylsma is talking to anyone that will listen. The worst part is that all of these coaches are quite a downgrade from Babcock. There is a laundry list of potentially incredible assistant coaches – Luke Richardson, Guy Boucher, but none that really stand out as NHL-ready. GM Tim Murray finds himself in quite a predicament. This next decision is going to be huge; Murray expertly engineered the tank, and has gotten the Sabres two consecutive second-overall picks – players who will have a lasting impact in the league. Without the proper coaching, though, these picks are wasted, and Murray could become just another GM who couldn’t steer the Buffalo ship toward success.

Somehow there is one name that we haven’t heard much around here – Paul MacLean. MacLean is tied to Murray as closely as Babcock or Richardson was. He was Babcock’s assistant at Anaheim as well as Detroit before leaving for a head coaching job in Ottawa, and Murray has ties with both the Anaheim and Ottawa organizations, so he is familiar withatlantichockey MacLean. MacLean doesn’t have Babcock’s winning pedigree, but he does have a Jack Adams Award (given to the NHL’s best head coach in a season), and he does have years of studying under Babcock. While MacLean was said to have lost some of his better qualities after winning the award, he hasn’t been given a chance to prove that he’s learned from his mistakes. Perhaps now is the time to make his return to the league.

Buffalo has begun #DanCam, a play on the #BabWatch that took over the internet during this whole debacle, but I’m not sure Bylsma’s coaching is the cure for what ails the Sabres. Bylsma’s goaltending issues plagued him throughout his Pittsburgh tenure, while MacLean is the coach that made Craig Anderson and Ben Bishop legitimate NHL goalies, and Buffalo could use that right now. It’s time we set our sights on #MacEichel, and get prepare for a new era in Sabres hockey.

What do you think, Buffalo?  Are you ready for the Mac?!  Join the conversation on Twitter @SchlagsWrites and on Facebook here.

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2 Comments on “Can #BabWatch Become #MacEichel?”

  1. erikwollschlager May 21, 2015 at 7:37 am #

    Reblogged this on ewollschlager and commented:

    What do you think? GET AT ME!

  2. Bldob Kbrdio May 21, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

    Ted Nolan is available.

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