Opinion: Mike Babcock will be fired by the Maple Leafs

As the Maple Leafs enter this season with high expectations and a new light on life, it appears the same flame is burning behind the bench, as head coach, Mike Babcock continues to be so set in his ways, it's costing his team victories.

The Maple Leafs bench boss is as stubborn as they come and tends to battle himself more than the opposing coach, a lot of time getting outcoached in the process. Mike Babcock is at the halfway point of his contract with the Maple Leafs and the team has yet to win a playoff series. If the mediocrity continues throughout October and into November, expect Mike Babcock to be fired by the Leafs.

A few reasons why 'Babs' is going to find himself looking for work soon:

1. In-game adjustments - the Maple Leafs coach hesitates too much to pull the trigger on tinkering his lineup during the game, and loves going down swinging - 'old faithful'.

2. Goaltender management- 'Babs' is set that the #1 goalie gets the first game of a back to back, and the backup gets game two. Unfortunately for the Leafs, the strength of the opponent is never factored into the decision, and there's too many times the wrong goalie is playing. Kyle Dubas has already brought this to Babcock's attention once last season, and it appears it could be coming down the pipe again as Michael Hutchinson gets ready to duel the Bruins in Boston after Andersen played at home vs Columbus

3. Martin Marincin - the head coach loves to play Marincin and his mistakes are costly enough to lose games which has happened twice already this season. Kevin Gravel is no Scott Stevens, however, the Leafs have options and Marincin's opportunity should be taken away. Instead, Babcock tries to pump his tires and keeps playing him a regular shift, which is going to cost both men their jobs

4. Lineup structure - the Maple Leafs spent 3 weeks with lineup issues as Babcock had Kasperi Kapanen too high in the lineup and wasn't giving Russian rookie, Ilya Mikheyev enough ice time. The coach has been reluctant to put Marner and Matthews together while John Tavares is out with a broken finger and his ability to construct the right mix of lines is almost a joke around Toronto at this point.

5. Ice-time and when - Leafs Nation can yell, kick and scream for Auston Matthews to get more ice time until the cows come home, it doesn't mean 'Babs' will give in. Not necessarily the biggest issue, however, it's the 'when' that matters most. The head coach likes to put out his fourth line at the absolute worst times, including offensive zone faceoffs, down a goal, instead of relying on his big guns. This is something the fan base has been screaming about every since they found out Zach Hyman played more in game 7 vs the Bruins than Auston Matthews, meanwhile, Hyman had a torn ACL the entire game

This list could go on for days, unfortunately for Mike Babcock, that's probably all he has left in Toronto. When the head coach has to fly to Arizona in back to back summers to essentially apologize to his best player about his ice time, maybe there's a problem? Or, when the GM shakes his head on a constant basis about why Freddie Andersen isn't in the crease. Could be an issue there.

It's autumn, the leaves are a changing, and it's time for the Maple Leafs to follow suit, and provide their talented lineup with a new voice behind the bench.


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