Nazem Kadri acknowledges Mike Babcock's behavior wasn't always ideal.
The Colorado Avalanche forward didn't say no when asked if some of his former bench boss' tactics to get the best out of players crossed a line.
"Sometimes," Kadri told the assembled media, including Sportsnet, after Colorado's morning skate in Toronto ahead of the center's highly anticipated return.
"I think Babs is a good coach. I just ... sometimes his methods, I think, weren't the greatest. That's just the fine line between players and coaches. I think as a coach, you've got to take that responsibility to kind of have your players' backs, and that's when you get the best out of them."
The Maple Leafs fired Babcock on Nov. 20 after suffering their sixth consecutive loss the night before.
Less than a week later, the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan reported Babcock had shamed a rookie in 2016-17 by asking him to rank his teammates by work ethic and then sharing the list with the team. The Athletic's Ian Tulloch later reported the rookie was Mitch Marner.