In what is a highly anticipated game for Toronto Maple Leafs’ Head Coach Mike Babcock—and likely the same for Assistant Coach Jim Hiller—the two will face off against their former team for the first time since their widely publicized departure from Detroit.

Babcock hasn’t liked the game of the Maple Leafs‘ veterans since he’s come on board—that’s of no surprise to fans and media who have watched this team for years—calling them out and lauding the play of the rookies on the team instead. A common theme with the team’s current ‘core’ is a carelessness toward detail and a lack of urgency in their approach to the game. Babcock looks to be dressing a veteran-laden squad, challenging them to step it up against his former team.

The last two preseason games typically begin to resemble something closer to early regular season games, and there’s going to be less acceptance of excuses when it comes to the feeling out process. That said, it’s a process that is going to take more than six preseason games to sort out. There are years of bad habits to wring out of some of these players. So far, there’s been lots of big talk from certain individuals, and little in the way of delivery.

“I believe to be the best coach you can be, players have got to know you love them. Then you’re allowed to make them more accountable.”

Eventually, that’s either going to stop or the players in question are going to be moved out. Again, however, there is no magic bullet. For a new coach, the initial challenge comes in embedding new systems into the players’ minds until it becomes second nature, which Babcock’s former GM Ken Holland has said in the past can be a 15-20 game process.

Detroit, of course, also has a new bench boss as well in Jeff Blashill, but there’s a great deal of continuity in that organization, as is tradition. He’s familiar with most of their young players having coached Grand Rapids for years, as well as with a number of the veterans, as he was Assistant Coach under Babcock a few years ago.

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Detroit Red Wings Projected Lineup - Oct. 2nd, 2015
Left WingCenterRight Wing
van RiemsdykKadriWinnik
Left DefenceRight Defence
Goal: Reimer

Detroit Red Wings Projected Lineup

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Left DefenceRight Defence
Goal: Reimer

Mike Babcock Pre-Game

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