The Detroit Red Wings have granted coach Mike Babcock permission to talk to other NHL teams.
The window for teams to talk to Babcock began at 12 p.m. Friday and is expected to remain open until late May, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. The Red Wings want to bring back Babcock and are aiming for a resolution by May 25.
"People can read it into it what they want," Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. "There is no decision made at all. We really like it here. My family loves Detroit. It's way easier for my family to stay here, 100 percent easier. My kids are all going away, but they still want to come back to Detroit on Thanksgiving. They want to come back to Detroit in the summer to work out. So it's way easier for them."
Babcock's contract with the Red Wings expires June 30.
"I want Mike here if Mike wants to be here," general manager Ken Holland said, according to Red Wings beat writer Bill Roose. "That's always been my attitude with players and with personnel. If there's a better opportunity for you elsewhere then you probably should pursue it.
"I want Mike to be here because he thinks this is the best situation for him, for his family, for his career."
Holland made it clear Babcock had earned the right to see what options existed for him around the League.
"In the best interest of Mike, to see if we're the best situation for him, if teams call for permission, we'll grant them permission," said Holland, who is leaving this weekend for the Czech Republic, where the 2015 IIHF World Championship is ongoing. Babcock will be traveling to the Czech Republic this weekend separately.
There figures to be interest in a coach with Babcock's resume. Holland, who said there is a compensation letter teams must sign in order to talk to Babcock, said he has received some calls. Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli will reach out to Babcock, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.
"Nobody [know], until you get that phone call," Babcock told The Detroit News. "People think they know what's going to happen, but they don't. Nobody knows.
"Kenny Holland and ownership have given me this opportunity, and we'll see what is out there. We have to get this done by May 25."
Edmonton, the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs do not have a coach confirmed for next season.
"I think given his status in the industry he's certainly, in my opinion, one of the best coaches in the National Hockey League," Holland said. "He asked me if he could have the opportunity to explore the marketplace. I still think we're a legitimate candidate per se. I believe he's happy. I believe he has lots of good feelings about being here."
Holland said he believed the compensation for Babcock would be a third-round pick in the NHL Draft in one of the next three seasons.
"As long as a team understands if they sign him we're getting compensation, we're going to give those teams permission," Holland said. "Whatever teams want to talk to him, as long as they understand if they sign him or hire him we get draft-pick compensation. If they're good with that, they're free to talk to him."
Holland said he is not granting permission for teams to talk to Jeff Blashill, coach of their American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids. Holland said Blashill would be a candidate for the Detroit position if Babcock leaves.
"Certainly Jeff Blashill is a legitimate candidate," Holland said. "I'm not going to grant anybody permission to talk to Jeff. They're in the playoffs, so they're going to play for another 10-12 days at least, but hopefully as we go along here we're going to come to a conclusion. I'm hoping Mike returns, but if Mike doesn't return certainly Jeff Blashill will be one of the people I'm going to want to interview.”
Babcock has coached the Red Wings for the past 10 seasons, leading them to a Stanley Cup championship in 2008 and back to the Cup Final in 2009. Detroit has reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for 24 straight seasons.
Babcock coached the Anaheim Ducks to the Cup Final in 2003. He is 527-285-119 with 19 ties in 12 NHL seasons, and 82-62 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"If Mike goes elsewhere, I'll shake his hand and thank him for 10 fabulous years," Holland told the Detroit Free Press.