Jenner: Babcock saga brought Blue Jackets 'closer'
Columbus Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner doesn't believe his team has been left fractured in the wake of the turbulent Mike Babcock saga.
"I think the past week has really probably brought us together closer," he said, according to NHL.com's Jeff Svoboda."I am proud of the group for that, to be honest. It's a different situation. No one has ever been in this spot."
The Blue Jackets found themselves under the NHLPA's microscope in September after podcast host Paul Bissonnette said a player told him newly minted head coach Babcock had asked the team for their phones, scrolled through their camera rolls, and projected the images onto a larger screen.
Jenner and Babcock both suggested that the situation was blown out of proportion, with the veteran center saying at the time that it was "a great first meeting" and "good way for (them) to start to build a relationship."
The NHLPA and the league were initially satisfied with Jenner's account but reportedly had a change of heart when several of Columbus' younger players said they weren't comfortable with what unfolded, per Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.
The Blue Jackets players had a discussion about the dramatic state of affairs late last week, and defenseman Zach Werenski said he and his teammates left the meeting "united" and "on the same page."
Babcock resigned Sunday, saying it'd be "too much of a distraction" for the team if he stayed on as head coach.
Earlier in the offseason, Werenski said the Blue Jackets were unfazed by Babcock's controversial reputation, believing that it was all behind him.
Pascal Vincent will take over the reins in Columbus. It's his first gig as an NHL head coach.
"We're going to move on," Vincent said. "I know our players have been working extremely hard this summer. I know what we did as coaches, and our focus right now is we are looking ahead. What can we do today to get ready for tomorrow?"
The Blue Jackets' 2023-24 season begins Oct. 12 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
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