Babcock sets sights on Red Wings assistants

Saying good-bye is never easy, not even for the usually straight faced, stoic Mike Babcock, who got a little emotional while voicing his thanks to the Red Wings organization and the city that embraced him and his family.

The Ford F-150 pickup truck might not be the only thing Mike Babcock drives from Detroit to Toronto.

According to Sportsnet’s Damien Cox, the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs is considering bringing his assistant coaches with him from Detroit — Jim Hiller, Andrew Brewer and Tony Granato.

The 50-year-old Granato spent the 2014-15 season on the Detroit bench assisting Babcock to the club’s 24th consecutive playoff appearance, but Cox reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland would like to keep Granato in the fold.

When Toronto president Brendan Shanahan fired interim head coach Peter Horachek at the end of the season, he cleared the entire bench, firing assistant coaches Steve Spott, Chris Dennis and Rick St. Croix. (Steve Staios returned to his duties as manager of player development.)

The Red Wings hired Granato to assist Babcock in last July. He was on a one-year deal.

Prior to joining the Red Wings, the former NHL winger served as an assistant for the Pittsburgh Penguins for five seasons. He was also part of Team USA’s staff at the 2014 Olympics and had been a head coach with the Colorado Avalanche.

Granato played 773 games with the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, racking up 248 goals and 244 assists in 13 seasons from 1988 through 2001.

(with files from AP)

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