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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — If Mike Babcock had an idea he was about to be fired, he hid it well.
Babcock was upbeat after the Maple Leafs practised on Wednesday, making jokes with reporters at Coyotes Ice Den. And there was enthusiasm from the players during the on-ice workout — casual observers wouldn’t have known the club had lost six in a row.
About an hour after Babcock’s scrum ended, he was told by team president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Kyle Dubas his services were no longer required.
“His work ethic every day and his commitment was fantastic,” Shanahan said. “It’s unfortunate we had to have the conversation we did. It was not an easy conversation to have, wasn’t pleasant.”
In a release to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Babcock said coaching the Leafs “was spectacular” and that he “loved every minute of it.”
Babcock singled out three men by name — Larry Tanenbaum, Lou Lamoriello and Morgan Rielly — for recognition. Babcock also said the Leafs’ poor start this season was “on me.”
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