Good morning and welcome to a brave new world where Mike Babcock is no longer the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Four years ago Mike Babcock signed an eight year contract and warned us that there was pain coming. There was the tank that got us Auston Matthews. The first round exit to the Washington Capitals in a year where it felt like a victory just to be there. A first round exit to the Boston Bruins that felt a bit too familiar.

And then, another.

There was a lot of people that thought that last season should have been Babcock’s final one as the Leafs head coach. And when it became clear that it wasn’t going to be, well, this year became Babcock’s last chance – get us past Boston, or leave. The more pessimistic among us figured that meant another first round exit to Boston, a grim vision looming ahead of us before they’d even played so much as a single preseason game. The more optimistic saw a season not dimmed by the Nylander holdout, saw the predictive models that listed the Leafs among the favourites to win it all, and believed.

I don’t think anyone saw this coming – either the increasingly plausible scenario that the Leafs won’t have to worry about beating Boston because they won’t even make it to the playoffs – or the mid-November firing of the highest paid coach in the NHL.

Brigstew wrote more about Babcock’s firing, and how we got to this point, here:

The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t fun anymore

Yesterday, Fulemin acted as Pension Plan Puppets’ personal Cassandra:

Miscellaneous Leaf Thoughts: The Catastrophe Column

And Hayley Wickenheiser was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame:

WHW: Hayley Wickenheiser inducted into HHOF

Some other reactions to the Babcock firing, on The Athletic:

LeBrun: Mike Babcock disappointed with the end in Toronto...

Maple Leafs Hotstove:

Mike Babcock fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe named head coach | Maple Leafs Hotstove

And Sportsnet:

At this point we have more questions than answers, and until the Leafs knock off a couple more games, it’ll be hard to know what those answers might be. So, with all this uncertainty in the air, a poll we can all have a definitive answer for:

What will you be doing with your babsocks?

Burn them, à la a John Tavares Islanders jersey28
Put them on eBay for that sweet, sweet discontinued product cash9
Wear them today to mark a day of mourning55
Panic order six pairs before they actually discontinue them35