Columbus Blue Jackets Announce Mike Babcock Resignation 

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The Columbus Blue Jackets made a Splash over the offseason by hiring Mike Babcock.

But before the Cup-winning coach appeared behind the bench for a preseason game the club announced his resignation.

“This was a difficult decision on everyone’s part, but one we felt necessary to ensure our focus remains on the players and the team’s upcoming season,” Blue Jackets General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire Blue Jackets organization, we want to thank Mike for his hard work and the professionalism he has shown in working together on a plan to step down.”

Associate coach Pascal Vincent will replace Babcock.

Babcock’s Departure Comes After Allegations Of Checking Photos On Players’ Phones

This comes after accusations were made on the popular Spittin’ Chiclets that the 60-year-old coach was asking to see the photos on players’ phones.

“I get a text from a player,” Spittin’ Chiclets host and ex-NHLer Paul Bissonette said. “He goes, ‘Have you heard what Babcock is up to again?’ And I’m like, no. So (Babcock) gets to Columbus, and one of the first things he does is he calls in Boone Jenner — the captain of the f–king team — and he says, ‘Let me see the photos in your phone. I want to know the type of person you are.’”

Babcock and team captain Boone Jenner vehemently denied the allegations in statements released by the Blue Jackets but did say that Babcock did ask to see photos of Jenner’s family and then shared pictures of his own.

“The way this was portrayed on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast was a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive,” Babcock said of the claims. “These meetings have been very important and beneficial, not only for me but for our players and staff as well, and to have them depicted like this is irresponsible and completely inaccurate.”

However, the NHL and NHLPA still launched an investigation into the claims.

“NHLPA officials Marty Walsh, Ron Hainsey and Don Zavelo met with the NHL earlier today at the league’s New York City office regarding the matter involving Mike Babcock,” the NHLPA said in a statement last week. “During this meeting, we provided the NHL with an update on our ongoing review. We do not have any further comment at this time.”

According to Sportsnet, the NHLPA’s meeting with Blue Jackets players was “intense.” A meeting away from team facilities that involved “several minutes” of scrolling through a phone was a major concern of the investigation. That investigation also included some players who had previously played for Babcock with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

D-Man Zach Werenski Echoed Captain Boone Jenner Statements

Interestingly, the alleged incident with Jenner that kickstarted this entire series of events barely registered within the locker room.

“I think it’s one of those things where it’s really a non-event in our locker room,” defenseman Zach Werenski told Columbus’ 97.1 The Fan, per The Columbus Dispatch. “I think guys didn’t even think twice about it when they were meeting with ‘Babs’ and kind of going through that process. It’s so harmless on his end. He’s just trying to get to know guys.”

Furthermore, Werenski echoed what Jenner said in his statement released by the team last week, that Babcock only asked to see photos of players’ families as part of introductory meetings.

“Everyone I’ve talked to has said the same thing,” Werenski said on the radio show. “He just wants to see our family, see our dogs, where we’re from, what we like to do in the summer … there (were) no boundaries crossed at all with anyone.”

The Blue Jackets are looking to get off on the right foot after an underwhelming 2022-23 season. Distractions like this are certainly not the best way to get that started.

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Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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