TORONTO - The best of what Mike Babcock had to say on the day he was introduced as Toronto Maple Leafs coach:
"I've had a lot of opportunity to coach Canada's teams and enjoyed that immensely. Whether you believe it or not, I believe this is Canada's team and we need to put Canada's team back on the map."
On leaving the Detroit Red Wings
"Ken Holland, he's a great man and good friend of mine. It was very emotional: I had to get the Kleenex box out when I sat in his office there because of what he's done for me."
On the challenge of the Leafs' rebuild
"I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey. It's going to be a long one, but it's going to be a lot of fun."
On captain Dion Phaneuf:
"I'm a fan of Dion. I think he's a good kid and I think he works hard and he tries hard."
On his decision process
"Lots of teams we talked to were set up better. But they weren't the Maple Leafs and they weren't in this city."
On not picking the Buffalo Sabres
"They got lots of great things, but in the end I couldn't make it go for my family and I wanted to be the coach of the Maple Leafs. That's it."
On his US$50-million, eight-year contract
"To me it's real simple: The contract is simply a commitment from the Maple Leafs to success."
On raising the bar for fellow NHL coaches' salaries
"If you want to give me credit for something, that'd be great. But come on. You'd be giving me credit without me actually doing anything."
On the exhilaration of a new job
"It's about being alive, I think. At 52 I'm not ready to die, I want to get on with it here. To me that's the message to my children: It's about the journey. It's not about the destination."
On fans' impatience
"The fans are not impatient, they're smart. They'll stick with you if you're going in the right direction. It's going to be hard. That's great, I'm excited about it. Let's fight our way through it. Know it's going to be some down days. Dig in here, let's go."
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