DETROIT >> With the start of the NHL regular season fast approaching, the chances of Wings coach Mike Babcock getting a new deal done seem less and less.
“No update whatsoever,” Babcock said after the team’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena Monday. “We talked that we would talk before the season. I imagine that we will get to that. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time worrying about it. I’m just trying to get the team ready.”
Babcock is heading into the final year of a contract that pays him roughly $2 million a season.
“I don’t think about it at all,” Babcock said when asked about getting a new deal in place. “I don’t think it’s going to be my final year here. If it is, it is. I’ve tried to live my whole life in the present, so what happened yesterday doesn’t matter, what we’re doing today does matter and we’ll get on with it tomorrow. So I’m going to do the same. I’ll get up every day and try as hard as I can as I always have, and go home and love my family and come back the next day and do the same.”
Babcock, 51, just wrapped up his ninth season.
Babcock set a franchise record last season with his 415th win, passing Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams in the process. He’s led the Wings to a Stanley Cup and a two conference championships.
He would be the hottest sought-after coach this offseason if he doesn’t get a deal done to remain in Detroit.
“My relationship with my general manager is such that the grass isn’t greener on the other side,” Babcock said. “I imagine that will get it worked out.
Babcock has also led Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals.
He has said in the past that if a new deal isn’t done prior to the start of the regular season he would not negotiate during it.
“I’m going to do everything within my power to maximize the group, whether I’m in my last year or first year,” Babcock said. “It doesn’t affect my life whatsoever. It would make way more difference to me if I was just starting in the business and I was concerned about feeding my family. I’m not.”
Niklas Kronwall doesn’t believe this will become a distraction if a deal to extend Babcock doesn’t get done prior to the season.
“Our job is to go out and perform on the ice,” Kronwall said. “His job as a coach is to get us prepared and do the things he needs to do and we have all the info that we need. So far it’s been good. We haven’t seen a change from previous years and I don’t think there will a change to that whatsoever.”