Wings running out for time to get done with Babcock; contract ‘watch’ unnecessary

DETROIT >> The contract negotiations between the Wings and coach Mike Babcock from this point will remain private.

And from the sounds of it both sides aren’t close to getting a deal done prior to Detroit’s season opener Oct. 9 at home against the Boston Bruins.

“I’m not sure that there should be a Mike Babcock watch,” Holland said. “These things take a week, a month, sometimes a few months. We want focus on the team. We want focus to be on the ice. We don’t need any distractions.”

Babcock’s contract expires June 30.

“I’m not going to handicap it,” Holland said when asked if he thought a deal could get done before the season. “Our focus needs to be on the players and winning.”

Talks between both sides, which last took place Tuesday, were supposed to ramp up this weekend.

“Mike Babcock has been a big part of the Detroit Red Wings,” Holland said. “Whatever discussions, if we have any going forward, will be private.

“If sometime this winter we find a solution, great,” Holland continued. “I respect the job he’s done and I think he likes it here.”

Babcock, 51, 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 earlier this week. “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 has said he would not negotiate a new deal during the season.

“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 is heading into his 10th season in Detroit. He set a franchise record last season with his 415th win, passing Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams in the process.

He has also led Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals.

Babcock, who has led the Wings to a Stanley Cup and a two conference championships, could be the hottest sought-after coach this offseason if he doesn’t get a deal done to remain in Detroit.

“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.”


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