It was a small percent of the fanbase but there were some questioning the coaching ability of Gerard Gallant over the past two weeks. The 2018 Jack Adams award winner has accrued a record of 104-65-17 as the Golden Knights head coach. That’s a .605 points percentage, ranking Gallant among the league’s best over that period. Not to mention his .593 postseason win percentage and 16 combined wins in two playoff runs. Tonight’s visitor, the Toronto Maple Leafs and their head coach are an entirely different story. One that should quiet any Gallant doubters.
Toronto head coach Mike Babcock is highly respected, highly paid, and has one of the most talented rosters in the NHL. He’s also currently on the hot seat.
Mike Babcock, when asked about people questioning his job security in Toronto: "I'm going to do it as hard as I can for as long as I can. I've always bet on Mike Babcock, I'll continue to bet on him."
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 18, 2019
Babcock is in his fifth season, and under his watch, the Maple Leafs have failed in the postseason never making it out of the first round. This season, Toronto has started slow, put up some stinkers, and according to the fanbase, underachieved.
Should the Leafs fire Mike Babcock?
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) November 17, 2019
Fan votes shouldn’t impact an organization’s decision, but it’s a pretty strong indicator of current temperature in Leafs Nation. In reality, there are other elements. Toronto GM Kyle Dubas didn’t hire Babcock, he acquired players that aren’t connecting with the coach, and already has his replacement in the AHL. None of those scenarios exist here in Vegas.
Babcock’s job could literally be on the line tonight against the Golden Knights. But it’s not only because his team struggled over the first quarter of the season. This has been a slow process over the past five years, and it mainly comes down to multiple postseason flameouts. Heck, maybe it’s not fully Babcock’s fault. It could be decisions the front office made, but frankly, Golden Knights fans don’t care what’s happening behind close doors in Toronto.
I hate calling any Golden Knight fan a dummy but the shoe definitely fits this time. Babcock’s situation is much more real and dire. Gallant’s job has never been under scrutiny nor should it be. Maybe his team hasn’t played up to it’s ability but there could be a multitude of reasons why. It could easily be chalked up as the ebbs and flows of a NHL season. Overall, Gallant has done a remarkable job in Vegas and I can’t imagine anything will change for at least a few more seasons.
Why am I so confident? Follow the success and the money.
Fire Babcock… send his ass in cab.
RT if you agree pic.twitter.com/g5SX0kRDf8
— Sheldon's Scowl (29-27-10) 439% (@aigemac) November 17, 2019