DETROIT - If a contract extension between the Red Wings and Mike Babcock is indeed imminent, it appears to be news to the Detroit head coach.
An animated Babcock addressed reporters after the Red Wings' practice Thursday, candidly shooting down a media report that surfaced last night suggesting he was about to re-sign with the Original Six NHL club.
"Guys, this is like a fantasy world," Babcock said when asked about the report.
"I'm happy here. I like the general manager, they treat me good. I don't know what else I can tell you."
Babcock is in the last year of his current contract with the Red Wings, but he said he and general manager Ken Holland decided not to discuss contract negotiations during the season to prevent such talks from becoming a distraction.
"As far as negotiation between Mike Babcock and Ken Holland, there is none," he said. "Do we ride on the plane together? Yeah. Was I out with his wife and his daughter the other night? Yeah. I think I had a glass of red wine and he had Coors Light. There's nothing more to tell.
"I'm not hiding anything, I'm not making anything up, this is just reality. So let's not do this again tomorrow."
The Red Wings have made the playoffs for nine straight seasons under Babcock, winning the Stanley Cup in 2008.
They appear to be poised for another strong season. The Red Wings entered Thursday in first place in the Eastern Conference (17-6-6, 40 points).
Babcock said the Red Wings' impressive record this year should not come as a surprise.
"If you think I'm working harder this year because I'm in the last year of my contract, it makes no difference," he said. "I grind, that's what I do. I'm a professional grinder, I love winning."
Babcock shrugged when asked whether he was getting tired of answering reporters' questions about his contract status.
"They can write whatever they want, you guys get paid to make stuff up I guess," he replied. "But the facts ... there's got to be something to do with the facts in the media somewhere, doesn't there? You'd think."