Did you like the way your kids responded today against a veteran club?
Mike Babcock: I thought we played good. In two key areas of the game we gave them two free goals, which I don’t like. They got the 5 on 3. All in all, I thought we did lots of good things. I thought we had them in lots of trouble here tonight with our speed and the tempo of our game. I thought Auston’s line was real good. Bozak’s group was good early. All in all, it was a good evening for us. We’re going to get a lot better quick, obviously. Putting Naz in the lineup would make a huge difference and give us one more line. But I was happy tonight.
Have the kids shown you enough to make your job difficult on who to cut and who to keep?
Babcock: Yeah, but we’re going to keep a certain amount of kids anyway. I think the ones we’re keeping have earned the right to stay here. Lou and I will figure all that out here and make our announcements. I’ve been impressed with our kids. I think we’ve got enough veterans to help them along the way. We’ve got enough real good kids with energy that are going to get better fast.
What did you see from Marner’s game tonight?
Babcock: I thought he was good. I thought their line was better early than late. I thought the pace of that line fell off a little bit, but I thought they were good. He’s got lots to learn and he’s going to learn a lot, obviously, but he’s competitive, he’s fast, he can play without [the puck], he’d block a shot, knows how to play his own zone. I think he’s a real good player.
Did tonight’s game epitomize Zach Hyman’s work ethic that you talked about all camp?
Babcock: He’s just a real good player. He’s a real good player that helps good players be better players because he gets you the puck all the time. I thought he had a good night. He’s had a lot of good nights, though. He’s just impressive.
With he and Connor Brown, the guys who have come through here a second time now, was there more onus on them to step up given the Marner and Matthews equation?
Babcock: The only thing I’d say is that some of the guys you’re talking to me about, I think, are already on the team. I don’t even know why we’re talking about them. I guess the way I look at it is – we’ll make these decisions, and we’ll make the announcement on Monday like I said.