Folks had plenty to say about Mike Babcock joining the Toronto Maple Leafs -- and spurning the Sabres in the process. Here's a look, starting at home:
*The Sabres never entered a bidding war with the Leafs, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said. They were confident of their offer and waited for Babcock’s answer. It was not the answer they expected, leading to speculation that Babcock merely turned Buffalo’s offer into a more preferred one with Toronto.
*Jerry Sullivan writes: "You can’t puff out your chest every time Pegula’s money brings some star player or coach to Buffalo, then pretend you didn’t want the guy after all when the local team gets rejected. They weren’t offering to double Babcock’s salary because he was just another candidate. This was a crushing blow for Pegula and Co."
*Mike Harrington counters: "This is not a massive defeat for the Sabres at all. They went head-long into a big-money derby and, by any measure, did all they could to get Babcock. You offer to make someone the highest-paid coach in NHL history and he doesn’t come, that’s on him. You did all you could. This is not a setback for the Sabres’ rebuild."
*From the Toronto Star: "Mike Babcock chased the money, and he chose to climb the tallest mountain he could find. It might end in disaster, because that’s Toronto. But the Leafs told him if you win here, Mike, they’ll name schools after you."
*From the Toronto Sun: "And for at least one day, one moment, everything seemed right with the rather uneven, historically dysfunctional Maple Leafs. Never mind the reality of their roster, or the fact the Leafs don’t have a general manager or a front-line centre. They have a coach. Richest one in the business. And darn, if that doesn’t taste like ice cream on a hot summer’s night."
*From the Globe and Mail: "Babcock deciding on the Leafs – and the Leafs agreeing to wildly overpay him – has very little to do with coaching hockey. This isn’t a sports play. It’s a holy mission. Mike Babcock returned to Canada to save a blighted cultural institution. If it turns out right, the Hall of Fame is the least of it. He’ll be on the $5 bill."
*From TVA Sports (you'll need a translation from French): The Leafs were ready to sign Guy Boucher to be their next coach until Babcock unexpectedly showed up.
*From the Detroit Free Press: "It was too good a deal for Babcock to pass up, and too rich a deal for the Wings to even think about matching. Sometimes you want to scream. Sometimes you want to point fingers. But sometimes, it's just the right move for all sides. This was one of those times."
*From Sportsnet.ca: "Yes, the Sabres were leveraged. That’s business. Yes, they lost out on Babcock weeks after losing the lottery. That’s bad luck. Yes, Babcock wanted Toronto over Buffalo. It happens. But get over it and move on."
*From ESPN.com: "I feel bad for Buffalo in all this. ... That’s a sports town that’s taken many hits over the years and it just took another massive one. I mean, the Sabres could have lived with seeing Babcock staying in Detroit. But to go down the highway to Toronto? Ouch."