Babcock won't talk about meeting with Sabres

Detroit news staff and wires
Mike Babcock

The Toronto Maple Leafs will have "serious talks" with the Red Wings' Mike Babcock about becoming their new head coach, Damien Cox of reported Sunday.

Cox also wrote on Twitter that the Maple Leafs will talk to Todd McLellan about their coaching vacancy.

However, Nick Kypreos, a former NHL player and current analyst for Sportsnet TV, said the meeting between Babcock and Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan took place over the weekend.

The Red Wings on Friday gave Babcock permission to speak with other teams. He is under contract in Detroit until the end of June.

Babcock left Buffalo on Sunday after spending an afternoon meeting with Sabres owner Terry Pegula regarding the team's coaching vacancy, the Associated Press reported.

Babcock declined to comment when approached by the AP at Buffalo International Airport on Sunday night. Pegula said "Hello," before making a remark on how much rain fell. The two then walked away and boarded a private jet.

Babcock flew into Buffalo earlier in the day and spent the afternoon meeting with Pegula and general manager Tim Murray at the Sabres arena. Babcock is still under contract with the Red Wings through June 30. The Red Wings are open to re-signing Babcock, but have granted him permission to interview with other teams.

The 52-year-old coached the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup title in 2008. His 458 regular-season wins in Detroit rank first among NHL coaches since the start of the 2005-06 season, according to STATS.

In granting Babcock permission to speak to other teams, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he hoped to have his coach make a decision by the end of the month.

Holland, on Sunday, declined to reveal which teams have requested permission to meet with Babcock.

Teams interested in interviewing Babcock have to agree to give up a third-round draft pick within the next three years as compensation to the Red Wings if they hire the coach.

McLellan was an assistant under Babcock in Detroit from 2005-08. He had been head coach of the San Jose Sharks since then, but McLellan and the Sharks agreed to part ways in April after San Jose missed the playoffs.

Shanahan played under Babcock in Detroit for one season in 2005-06.