The Columbus Blue Jackets are still waiting to hear from the NHL and NHL Players Association about their joint review regarding the accusations surrounding coach Mike Babcock, who allegedly violated players' privacy by insisting they show him personal photos. Babcock and captain Boone Jenner have already released statements on the matter, but the league and the NHLPA are still taking a deeper look.
Earlier this week at the league's offices in New York City, the NHL and NHLPA officials met to discuss the accusations made by ex-NHL player and "Spittin Chiclets" co-host Paul Bissonnette that Babcock has made Blue Jackets players show him pictures from their phones. On Friday, the NHLPA released a statement on the meeting.
"NHLPA officials Marty Walsh, Ron Hainsey and Don Zavelo met with the NHL earlier today at the league's New York City office regarding the matter involving Mike Babcock. During this meeting, we provided the NHL with an update on our ongoing review. We do not have any further comment at this time."
On a recent episode of the "Spittin Chiclets" podcast, Bissonnette said a player texted him accusing Babcock of making Jenner go through his iPhone photos via AirPlay on the office TV. According to Bissonnette, Babcock was doing this to determine Jenner's character.
"So, he gets to Columbus, and one of the first things he does is he calls in Boone Jenner, the captain of the f--ing team, and says, 'Let me see the photos in your phone. I want to know the type of person you are,'" Bissonnette said.
The Blue Jackets looked into the accusations themselves and released statements from Babcock and Jenner shortly thereafter. Babcock asserted that Bissonnette's characterization of events was "irresponsible and completely inaccurate."
"While meeting with our players and staff I asked them to share, off their phones, family pictures as part of the process of getting to know them better. There was absolutely nothing more to it than that.
"The way this was portrayed on the Spittin' Chiclets podcast was a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive.
"These meetings have been very important and beneficial, not only for me but for our players and staff as well, and to have them depicted like this is irresponsible and completely inaccurate."
In his statement, Jenner said that the nature of the meeting between him and Babcock was "blown out of proportion."
"While meeting with Babs he asked me about my family and where I'm from, my upcoming wedding and hockey-related stuff. He then asked if I had pictures of my family and I was happy to share some with him. He showed me pictures of his family.
"I thought it was a great first meeting and a good way for us to start to build a relationship. To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing."
Around the time the Blue Jackets released those statements, ex-NHL defenseman Mike Commodore backed up Bissonnette's story on X. Commodore said he had also heard similar stories about Babcock going through the phones of players and staff.
"All of this is 100% true," Commodore wrote. "I heard about this exact same incident out of (Columbus) 6 weeks ago. Recently I have heard about it happening to multiple players and staff. I was waiting till camp to come out with it to protect sources."
Throughout his career as an NHL head coach, Babcock has faced accusations of player mistreatment. Former Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen accused Babcock of verbally abusing him, and Babcock allegedly made star forward Mitch Marner rank his teammates by their work ethic during his rookie season.
The Blue Jackets just hired Babcock on July 1, after his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs officially expired. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said the team was "very thorough" in its process of hiring Babcock.