DETROIT >> Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock didn’t mince words when discussing reports of his imminent signing of a new deal to stay with the organization.
“I’m telling you the truth right here nothing has happened,” Babcock said after practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. “I’m 100 percent comfortable. I’m going to do the best I can and I think things will work out. I’m a big believer in that.
A report surfaced last Wednesday that Babcock was very close to signing a new deal with the team that would pay him in excess of $3 million a season, which would make him the highest paid coach in the league.
All Babcock had to do was sign the contract.
“There’s nothing to sign,” Babcock said. “We’ll work it out. We play Florida tomorrow.
“We’ve never negotiated once about it,” Babcock added. “They’ve come to me once in the summer and they came back the same way just before the season and that’s it.”
Babcock is in the final year of his contract with the Wings that pays him roughly $2 million a season. His deal expires on June 30.
“Besides my family, the thing I like doing most is winning,” Babcock said. “That’s the process here. That’s what we’re trying to do here. That’s what I do.
“If you think I’m working harder this year because I’m in the last year of my contract it makes no difference,” Babcock continued. “I grind. That’s what I do. I’m a professional grinder. I love winning. We’ll see what happens. We have a game tomorrow.”
He said if a deal wasn’t in place before the season began he would not discuss a contract until after the season.
“Guys that’s like a fantasy world,” Babcock added when asked about the report. “Ken Holland and I when we talked before the year, we agreed we wouldn’t do this during the year.
“Our team is going good,” Babcock continued. “Our team is playing good. I like the way we’re playing. We don’t need any distractions.”
Babcock said he didn’t think there was any chance a deal would get done during the season.
“I think that’s what we decided,” Babcock said. “But like I said, I’m with Ken all the time. We can talk all the time, we haven’t about this, period. But it’s not like I’m knocking on his office door. We’re fine. He likes winning and I like winning. We’re both happy.”
The Wings currently are first overall in the Eastern Conference.
“I’m happy here,” Babcock said. “I like the general manager. They treat me good. I don’t know what else I can tell you, but as far as negotiations between Mike Babcock and Ken Holland there are none.
“There are none,” Babcock reiterated. “Do we ride on the plane together? Yeah. Was I out with him and his wife and his daughter the other night? Yeah. I think I had a glass of red wine and he had a Coors Light or something.
“There’s nothing more to tell,” Babcock continued. “I’m not hiding anything. I’m not making anything up. This is just reality so let’s not do this again tomorrow.”
Babcock, who is in his 10th season in Detroit, has led the Wings to a Stanley Cup and a two conference championships.
He could be the hottest sought-after coach this offseason if he doesn’t get a deal done to remain in Detroit.
Babcock, who has led Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals, just recorded his 500th win of his career and last season set a franchise record for wins.