On Monday, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner opened up to TSN regarding the list his now-former head coach Mike Babcock asked him to make during his rookie season.
“You know, it’s so long ago now. Honestly, I kind of forgot about it until the report came out but it’s over with now, it’s done with,” Marner told TSN. “I was lucky enough that the guys that were there with me, none of them took it to heart. They knew it wasn’t up to me.”
According to the Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan, in January 2017 Babcock asked Marner to rank his teammates from hardest-working to least-hardest, in the eyes of the rookie. Marner, just a few months into his first NHL season, obliged although he told reporters on Monday that “it was just surprising.”
“It was my first year,” he noted. “I didn’t really know what to think of it. But it’s over with now. That’s really all I can say but I’m looking forward to the new change and seeing how I can help this team win under Sheldon (Keefe).”
Babcock proceeded to share the list with the team and told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman over text message, “I was trying to focus on work ethic with Mitch — focusing on role models — it ended up not being a good idea. I apologized at (the) time.”
Sheldon Keefe was handed the reigns of the 9-10-4 Leafs on Nov. 20 following Babcock’s termination and has led the team to back-to-back wins to start his tenure.
Marner’s list isn’t the first development to surface that has put Babcock in a bad light for his coaching techniques.
Former Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser backed Mike Commodore’s Twitter tirade against Babcock claiming that “(Babcock) is one (coach) who 95% of his players can’t say a good thing about. With the ability to end players’ careers, he’s chosen to do so to long-serving vets that have resulted in all his players turning against him. He’s used his power to turn teammates against each other, and choose to continuously lie to his players.”
Commodore, who was reportedly cut by Babcock in 2002 for being overweight, also expressed his jubilance regarding Babcock’s release on Twitter.
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