Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock likely will enter the season without a contract extension, general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday. The newspaper reported that Holland and Babcock held contract negotiations Tuesday.
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Babcock, who is entering the final season of his contract, repeatedly has said he is not interested in negotiating an extension during the season because of the distraction that it creates.
However, Holland said the key is that neither he nor Babcock wants to negotiate publicly. He told the newspaper that there is a good chance they will talk privately about the situation.
The Red Wings open the season Oct. 9 against the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena.
"If you said to me, 'Does it look like we'll have a deal done between now and next Thursday?' I don't think so," Holland said. "But we've talked and we'll continue to talk about it. But we're not going to talk about it to the press. I think it's in the best interest of the team not to do that."
Babcock is entering his 10th season as the Red Wings coach. The Free Press reported that he is making $2 million per season. He has 415 wins in 704 regular-season games and is 64-51 in 115 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Red Wings. Babcock guided Detroit to the Stanley Cup in 2008 and back to the Cup Final in 2009.
"I'm not sure when we are going to talk about it again, but we're not going to talk about it anymore [in the media]," Holland said. "Once the season starts we don't need any more distractions. We've got enough distractions that will be created for a variety of reasons.
"He and I travel together. We can talk any time we want. It doesn't do anybody good to talk about it in the press."