COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock has been accused of violating captain Boone Jenner’s privacy.
On the “Spittin’ Chiclets Podcast,” former NHL player and TNT TV analyst Paul Bissonnette said a player texted him that Babcock called the CBJ captain into his office and asked to look at photos on Jenner’s phone, so he could “know the type of person” Jenner is.
Babcock and Jenner both said the incident was ‘blown out of proportion.’
While meeting with our players and staff I asked them to share, off their phones, family pictures as part of the process of getting to know them better. There was absolutely nothing more to it than that.
The way this was portrayed on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast was a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive.
These meetings have been very important and beneficial, not only for me but for our players and staff as well, and to have them depicted like this is irresponsible and completely inaccurate.Mike Babcock
While meeting with Babs he asked me about my family and where I’m from, my upcoming wedding and hockey-related stuff. He then asked if I had pictures of my family and I was happy to share some with him. He showed me pictures of his family.
I thought it was a great first meeting and good way for us to start to build a relationship. To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing.Boone Jenner
Babcock, 60, was officially announced as the Blue Jackets next head coach on July 1, 2023.
This isn’t the first time Babcock’s coaching methods have drawn controversy. Former Red Wings player Johan Franzen, who played for Babcock all 10 years he was in Detroit, told Swedish outlet Expressen that Babcock was a “bully” and “the worst person I have ever met.”
Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios backed up Franzen’s accusations when he told a story to the Spittin Chiclets podcast about Babcock verbally assaulting Franzen during the 2011-12 playoffs.
“[Franzen] was hurt at the time of the playoffs, we lost to Nashville,” Chelios said. “I don’t know what he said to him behind closed doors, but he was blatantly verbally assaulting him during the game.”
In an interview with Sportsnet, Babcock said the idea that he bullied Franzen or anyone else on the team was “the craziest thing he’s ever heard of.”
The Toronto Sun also reported an incident of Babcock making then-rookie Mitch Marner rank players by their work ethic and showed the list to Maple Leafs’ teammates. Babcock disputes the details of the incident with Marner but told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that he was at fault.
“There’s no question that it was all on me. Not on Mitch,” Babcock told LeBrun in 2021. “It was all on me. I made a mistake.”
Babcock has coached 1,301 games in the NHL, earning 700 wins over 17 seasons and one Stanley Cup. He coached the Maple Leafs for a little over four years until he was fired in November 2019. His record in Toronto was 173-133-45.
“I’m not going to go back to work just to prove something,” Babcock said. “I’m going to go back if there’s pure joy.”
He also coached Anaheim for two years and Detroit for 10 years, winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 and finishing as the runner-up in 2009.