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FLASHBACK: Mike Modano details how he was scratched prior to milestone game by Mike Babcock

There has been plenty of controversy surrounding the former NHL bench boss in recent years.

Michael Whitaker

One of the most successful head coaches of the modern NHL era, Babcock guided the upstart Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to within one game of the 2003 Stanley Cup championship. Following his hiring by the Red Wings in 2005, he proceeded to win a total of 458 games in the Motor City that included four straight 50-win seasons, the 2008 Stanley Cup falling one win short of a repeat in 2009.

However, after his dismissal by Toronto in November of 2019, his career came under scrutiny after multiple reports from former (and current) players painted Babcock in a less-than-flattering light regarding his treatment of them and coaching style. One particular scathing testimonial came from Johan Franzen, who said that Babcock was "the worst person I've ever met". 

And it wasn't long ago that Hall of Fame forward Mike Modano, a metro-Detroit native who played the final season of his NHL career with the Red Wings in 2010-11, detailed a story in which he was made a healthy scratch by Babcock in what would have been his 1,500th regular season game. 

“It just happened to come down to one of those last couple games that I got healthy scratched, so I would have hit that 1,500 right on the nose in our last game in our Chicago, but I got healthy scratched a couple games before against Minnesota at home in Detroit, so I ended up with that 1,499. Yeah, it was a bitter pill, still to this point it would have been nice to finish at some type of high note after that season I went through in Detroit, so yeah it’s a tough one. I’m kind of torn on that one.”

Modano then went on to say that teammates including the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom and Kris Draper weren't happy about the decision, and that GM Ken Holland would have intervened had he been aware. 

“Yeah, Drapes (Kris Draper) was (upset) ... you know, it was really kind of last second. No one really knew until they got to the game and saw what was happening. And then word spread through the locker room, you know, ‘He would have got 1,500 the next game,’ so Nick (Lidstrom) was a little upset. Kenny Holland didn’t know about it actually until he got to the game. He says to this day he probably would have stepped in and told Mike, ‘We need to have him get to this milestone.’ So yeah, the older guys were frustrated, and I think some of them were already frustrated with Mike at the time way before that. They were all feeling for me at the time.”