Mike Babcock and the Diving Save

By all accounts, Mike Babcock will coach either the Detroit Red Wings or the Buffalo Sabres next season. The Sabres appear to be offering more money, the Red Wings offer stability and a ready-made roster. His decision is set to be made by Wednesday.

The Red Wings have previously stated that they would not be outbid for Babcock’s services. I don’t actually believe that but I’ll roll with it for a minute.

Babcock has said he’ll check in with Detroit general manager Ken Holland before deciding. There is an opportunity there for Holland, a chance to make one last pitch, if necessary, but it’s an opportunity he should not take.

One of my favorite writers, Rands, has a piece on The Diving Save. The idea is that there are people who, when they tell you that they’re leaving, you have to do everything you can do to stop.

People leave for lots of reasons. Compensation is a big one. Control is another. How interested they are in the work they’d be doing. The list goes on. From that list they make a decision.

If Mike Babcock calls Ken Holland in the morning and says he’s leaving for Buffalo, Holland will have one chance to tell him why he’s wrong and should stay.

And Holland shouldn’t do it.

If Mike Babcock decides that he’s done with Detroit, he would only be staying because Holland was able to change his mind. Holland should remember Rands’ warning about a successful Diving Save.

Last worry: you need to remember that this person who recently decided to stay also recently decided to leave. They completely imagined and started acting in a world where they were leaving the company. We humans are fond of structure, habit, and familiarity, and this recently-saved person picked a new company full of strangers and opaque opportunity. This human had to make a brave leap to make this choice, and just because they chose to stay for now doesn’t mean they’ll remain.

Author: Clark Rasmussen

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996 with no idea what it would lead to. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development.