Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach Mike Babcock Slams ‘Gross Misrepresentation’ After Accusations Of Asking To See Photos On Players’ Phones

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Mike Babcock is gearing up to make a return to the NHL ranks this season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Before he has even stepped behind the Jackets’ bench there are reports that there is an NHLPA investigation into allegations that the Cup-winning coach asked to see photos on players’ phones.

However, Babcock and team captain Boone Jenner say that there’s a serious misunderstanding in how this all went down.

The allegations first publically came up on the latest episode of Barstool Sports’ Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. The popular show is featuring ex-NHLers Ryan Whitney, Matt Murley, and Paul Bissonette.

Bissonette — who is also a studio analyst for TNT — claimed that he got a message from an unnamed player. They told him that Babcock asked to see the photos on team captain Boone Jenner’s phone during a meeting.

(Just a heads up that there’s a bit of NSFW language in the clip below)

Bissonette Told Story From Anonymous Player

“I get a text from a player,” 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.'”

It’s important to note that Bissonette said he had nothing personal, against Babcock before telling the story. However, he did not reveal the player who told him this, or their connection to Jenner or the Blue Jackets.

These allegations, brought up on what is the most popular hockey podcast out there, caught a lot of attention. According to Aaron Portzline, a Blue Jackets beat writer for The Athletic, the claims also appeared on the NHLPA’s radar.

OutKick has reached out to the NHLPA but has yet to hear back.

Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock hit back at accusations of him looking through players’ phones. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

Babcock Hits Back At ‘Gross Misrepresentation’ Of His Meeting With Boone Jenner

However, later in the day after the allegations were made public, the Blue Jackets released statements from both Babcock and Jenner. Both men indicated that while there was truth to the coach asking to see photos, they said that there was a serious misunderstanding as to why this was the case.

“While meeting with our players and staff I asked them to share, off their phones, family pictures as part of the process of getting to know them better, Babcock said. “There was absolutely nothing more to it than that.”

The Stanley Cup-winning coach. then criticized Spittin’ Chiclets for a “gross misrepresentation” of what occurred.

“The way this was portrayed on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast was a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive,” the coach said. “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.”

Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner said that his meeting with his new coach had been “blown out of proportion.” (Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jenner Says Situation Was ‘Blown Out Of Proportion’

Jenner echoed this. He said that Babcock had asked to see photos after the two discussed families and the 30-year-old center’s upcoming wedding.

“While meeting with Babs he asked me about my family and where I’m from, my upcoming wedding and hockey-related stuff. He then asked if I had pictures of my family and I was happy to share some with him. He showed me pictures of his family,” Jenner said. The Jackets’ captain went on to commend the productivity of the meeting in question.

“I thought it was a great first meeting and good way for us to start to build a relationship. To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing.”

Babcock last coached in the NHL in 2019, at which point he was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Before that, Babcock led the Might Ducks of Anaheim to a Stanley Cup Final appearance, then won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008.

He is currently sitting at No. 12 on the NHL’s all-time coaching wins list.

Babcock last coached in the NHL in November 2019. He was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs after a slow start to the season. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Babcock Is No Stranger To Controversy

This is not the first time that Babcock has been at the center of controversy. Former players including Mike Commodore and Hall of Famer Chris Chelios have been critical of Babcock’s coaching style.

Chelios called Babcock “a tough guy to play for if you’re a veteran,” in 2019 during an appearance on — coincidentally — Spittin’ Chiclets, per Sportsnet. Chelios went on to point out examples of Babcock scratching respected veterans like Mike Modano during his final NHL season with the Detroit Red Wings. He called these decisions — which had consequences like leaving Modano stuck on 1,499 games played —”unnecessary.”

Additionally, The Toronto Sun was accused of having then-Leafs rookie Mitch Marner rank his teammates based on their work ethic, While Marner was reportedly told his list was being made in confidence, players at the bottom were later told. interviewed Marner who said that Babcock later apologized for the incident. The Leafs star also said he sent Babcock a text after he was fired thanking him and wishing him the best.

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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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