Chelios weigh in on Babcock’s history


  • NHL Hall of Famer Chris Chelios doesn’t appear to be on team Mike Babcock.
  • Chelios, who played for Babcock in the past, has publicly criticized the 55-year-old’s coaching methods and when it comes down to it, he just doesn’t seem to like the guy.
  • In 2017 he argued that Babcock is the reason why Detroit couldn’t bring in free agents while Chelios was still with the team and tabbed him as a “tough guy to play for.”

“No veteran free agent is going to want to come in and play for Mike Babcock,” Chelios said. “I wanted to because I wanted to stay in Detroit, but no matter what I did — I tried so hard to win his heart over and I just couldn’t.” said Chris Chelios in an interview with 97.1 on March 2017

  • Chelios played for Babcock from 2005 through 2009, which included a Stanley Cup Championship in 2008.
  • After becoming known for signing Hall of Fame players throughout the early-2000s, fans have become increasingly frustrated with the team’s inability to bring in top-level talent.
  • The Wings have only been connected to a few elite free agents since that period, most notably getting turned down by the likes of Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Steven Stamkos.

“It’s very accurate. Ryan Suter [who chose Minnesota over Detroit as a UFA in 2012] is a good friend of mine. It’s nothing personal, but he’s a tough guy to play for if you’re a veteran. If you’re a young guy, I think it’s great because of the accountability. If you don’t play [properly], you’re not going to play,” Chelios said.

“I’m telling you: No veteran free agent is going to want to come in and play for Mike Babcock.”

  • Of course, several veteran UFAs — Stephen Weiss, Daniel Alfredsson, Marian Hossa, Brad Richards, etc. — did sign with the Red Wings during Babcock’s tenure.
  • One of the greatest American defencemen to play the game, Chelios re-signed with Detroit in his mid-40s despite getting benched by Babcock in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, won by the Red Wings.
  • Chelios failed to register a point in 14 games that post-season, and in the 28 games he played for Detroit in 2008-09 — as a 47-year-old.
  • The Red Wings and Babcock would eventually part ways in 2015.
  • He would go on to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit promoted Jeff Blashill from Grand Rapids.

“He didn’t like a lot of people,” Chelios said.

Sources & Credits: Sportsnet, Detroit CBS Local
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