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Babcock fires back over allegations that free agents avoid him

Jul 18, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

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The Detroit Red Wings haven’t been able to attract a top-tier free agent in recent years and some have argued that the presence of coach Mike Babcock is partially to blame. As highly regarded as he is, the thinking goes that free agents might simply want to avoid working for the hard-nosed bench boss.

“The way I look at it here, if you don’t want to be coached, don’t come here,” Babcock countered, per the Detroit Free Press, during an interview on Detroit Sports 105.1. “If you want to be pushed to be the best that you can be, that’s what we do here. You know what? The proof is in the pudding.

“If (the Wings) are concerned about (free agents not liking him), then I should coach somewhere else.”

The Red Wings bench boss added that he cares about his players and wants to see them do things the right way.

“We just have the hard meetings,” Babcock said. “We get it out front. Does it piss people off once in a while? Absolutely. But it also leads to behavioral changes and getting things better. So you know what, I’m not apologizing for that stuff at all. I like to be treated honest.”

Babcock only has a year left on his contract with Detroit and has already made it clear that he won’t negotiate during the season. If he were to become a free agent, there would be plenty of suitors interested in landing the Stanley Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist.

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