Though a deal has not been completed, Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had negotiations with the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday regarding the possibility of becoming their next head coach.
The talks took place between Babcock and Sabres General Manager Tim Murray and began early in the day, a person familiar with discussions told the Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private and the Sabres have not publicly discussed their coaching search to replace Ted Nolan, who was fired in April.
The person stressed there were still a "few more deal points" to work out and added there was no agreement yet in place. Murray spent part of the afternoon in meetings with team scouts.
Babcock is still under contract with the Red Wings through June 30. The Red Wings, however, granted Babcock permission to speak with other teams. He visited Buffalo and met with Murray and Sabres owner Terry Pegula on May 10.
Babcock has not ruled out staying put in Detroit and noted his family enjoys living there.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Babcock has not yet made a decision when asked if he was leaving the Red Wings.
Babcock responded with a text message that read, "Not sure, know by morning," the newspaper reported.
The most recent talks with the Sabres took place on the same day Babcock was scheduled to meet with Red Wings GM Ken Holland.
Babcock also wanted to discuss his decision with his family, which has enjoyed living in Detroit.
The 52-year-old is one of the NHL's most accomplished active coaches after spending the past 10 seasons in Detroit. The Red Wings have not missed the playoffs under Babcock, and they won the Stanley Cup championship in 2008.
Oilers pick McLellan
The Edmonton Oilers hired Todd McLellan as their coach after a season in which they again failed to make the playoffs.
The Oilers announced the hiring at a news conference Tuesday.
McLellan appeared to be Edmonton's top choice since Peter Chiarelli became GM in April.
"We're not going to talk about playoffs here," said McLellan, sitting beside Chiarelli for the announcement. "We're going to talk about foundation. We're going to talk about creating an identity and building toward it.''
McLellan spent the past seven seasons as the San Jose Sharks' coach, making the playoffs in his first six. He has a career record of 311-163-66 during the regular season but is 30-32 in the playoffs.
Before joining the Sharks, he was an assistant for Babcock in Detroit. He also led the Houston Aeros, the Wild's top affiliate at the time, to the 2003 Calder Cup title as AHL champions.