Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios is chiming in on the anti-Mike Babcock chatter.
During an interview on the newest episode of Spitten Chiclets podcast, Chelios said he watched the former Detroit Red Wings coach cause Johan Franzen to have a nervous breakdown after a playoff loss.
“Johan Franzen, what (Babcock) did to him at the end, you know, he was hurt at the time and I think it was playoffs, we lost to Nashville, we got upset ... and some of the things (Babcock) said to him on the bench, I don’t know what he said to him behind closed doors one-on-one, but he blatantly verbally assaulted him during the game on the bench, and it got to the point that poor Johan, with no one really knowing that he was suffering with the concussion thing and the depression thing, he just broke down, had a nervous breakdown, not only on the bench but after the game in one of the rooms in Nashville," Chelios said. “That was probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Chelios had quite a bit to say about Babcock, adding he’s not surprised by the stories accusing the coach of mistreating players. He had a tough relationship with the coach from the moment Babcock arrived in Detroit, he said, and Babcock even tried to healthy scratch him during the outdoor game at Wrigley Field in his hometown of Chicago.
Chelios said moves like that, and what Babcock did with Mike Modano (benching him in the playoffs) and Jason Spezza (scratching him on opening night in his hometown of Toronto) were Babcock’s way of trying to show the general manager who was boss.
“Just things that were so unnecessary to show he’s the boss, to show his general manager that he’s the boss. He’s so on a power thing, his ego, and that’s a big part of his personality,” said Chelios.
Keep in mind this is coming from a guy -- Chelios -- who survived years of Mike Keenan, one of the most notoriously hard-nosed, unpredictable NHL coaches ever to stand behind the bench.
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