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Babcock: Lamoriello hire 'home run' for Maple Leafs

by Dan Rosen

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock considers the addition of Lou Lamoriello as general manager to be a win for everybody in the organization.

Lamoriello resigned Thursday as president of the New Jersey Devils, a position he held for 28 years, to become the 16th general manager of the Maple Leafs.

"Lou has been about winning," Babcock told on Thursday. "Lou is a guy who has pushed himself to get better every single day. I think a senior management guy joining our team, understanding what the vision and what the plan is, is a home run for all of us.

"Everyone concerns themselves with the team on the ice; the team off the ice precedes the team on the ice. I think we're set up very good."

Babcock said Lamoriello's experience and history of winning, including three Stanley Cup championships with the Devils (1995, 2000, 2003), will be especially important for Maple Leafs assistant general manager Kyle Dubas, director of player personnel Mark Hunter, and assistant to the general manager Brandon Pridham.

Babcock said he has been impressed with Dubas, Hunter and Pridham since he was hired on May 20, but adding Lamoriello provides those young executives a sounding board.

"To bring in a guy like Lou, that gives those guys someone to talk to, someone to mentor them, someone to ask, 'Hey Lou, you've been through this 100 times, what do you think?'" Babcock said. "You have an experienced guy who is still passionate and still fired up about it and still wants to work. That's Lou. He loves hockey."

Babcock said he met Lamoriello during the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, when he was coaching the Anaheim Ducks against the Devils. New Jersey won the series in seven games.

In the 12 years he's known Lamoriello, Babcock said every time he has spoken to him he has come away impressed. Babcock said he has gotten only positive reviews from those who have worked for Lamoriello, including a recent review from former Devils coach Peter DeBoer.

"Every coach I've ever talked to about Lou, and most of them have been fired by him, love him," Babcock said. "I talked to Pete DeBoer the other day about him. He raves about him. Lou has got a way of doing things, but Lou is a smart, smart guy, and just like all of us who are in the pursuit of knowledge and the pursuit of winning, we're sure willing to adjust to somebody who has a better idea.

"This was a home run for Mike Babcock."

Babcock, though, doesn't want anybody to think that just because the Maple Leafs hired Lamoriello it should speed up their rebuild so they can become Stanley Cup contenders quicker than expected.

He said he was assured by Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan that the plan and vision for the Maple Leafs has not changed.

"Sometimes speed gets in the way of the process, and I think doing things right leads to success long-term," Babcock said. "I want to reiterate that with everybody, that in my opinion I came here for a run that may take a bit of time to get the run started, but a run with real good players and a real good team.

"I just think Lou is smart. What I like about him is he gets stuff done. He's smart. He gets stuff done."


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