It appears Mike Babcock may be nearing a return to the NHL.
After being relieved of his duties behind the Toronto Maple Leafs bench in November 2019, the former Detroit Red Wings and Team Canada coach has remained outside of the big leagues. But according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, there’s a chance Babcock could soon be teaming up with Alex Ovechkin in Washington.
“Last week the reports got out that the Washington Capitals had permission to interview Peter Laviolette for their vacant head coaching job, this week it’s believed that they interviewed Toronto’s former head coach Mike Babcock,” Friedman said Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada‘s ‘Headlines’ segment. “And he is a legitimate candidate for the position.”
The Capitals recently fired head coach Todd Reirden, who took over the coaching reins in D.C. after the departure of Stanley Cup winner Barry Trotz in 2018.
Babcock coached against the Capitals during the 2017 post-season, when his Maple Leafs were ousted by Ovechkin and Co. in six games. The 57-year-old spent a decade as head coach of the Red Wings, and two leading the Anaheim Ducks, before his four-and-a-half seasons in Toronto.
Friedman added that Gerard Gallant has also been interviewed for the Capitals’ head coaching position. Gallant coached against the Capitals in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final during his tenure with the Vegas Golden Knights. Prior to his time in Vegas, Gallant led the bench for the Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets, each for parts of three seasons.