Blue Jackets executive admits a 'major misstep' in hiring Mike Babcock
Columbus Blue Jackets owners and executives on Monday were contrite over the forced resignation of controversial coach Mike Babcock days before the opening of training camp and eager to move on from the turmoil that engulfed the organization.
"All we can do now is learn from it and do everything we can to help our coaches and players get ready for the season," said John Davidson, the Blue Jackets' president of hockey operations. "I know this is a major misstep that we have to move past."
Babcock resigned on Sunday after requesting to view photos on players' cellphones as part of a bonding effort led to an investigation last week by the NHL and the NHL Players' Association. He was gone after two months on the job, with assistant Pascal Vincent tapped to replace him and given a two-year contract.
Despite the misstep, Davidson and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen remain in charge of hockey operations, with ownership confirming that in a statement.
Kekalainen said he met with players Monday and apologized for the situation.
"At the end of the day, I believed that Mike Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach," Kekalainen said at the team's previously scheduled media day. "Obviously, that was a mistake, and that responsibility is mine."
Babcock's conduct was under the microscope given his history of polarizing, old-school coaching techniques, many of which came to light after he was fired by Toronto in 2019. This was his first NHL job since.
WATCH | Babcock resigns from Blue Jackets:
Vincent, 52, was an assistant under fired coach Brad Larsen for the past two seasons and stayed on when Babcock was hired. He twice interviewed for the job that he got after Babcock's resignation.
The Laval, Que., native said the past