Mike Babcock’s post-game comments after the 2-1 overtime defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks on March 18, 2017
Babcock: Yeah, I thought it was a good game. It was tight, tight, tight. They had the puck lots. In saying that, I didn’t think we gave up quality chances at all. They’re a good team, a veteran team. You’re disappointed to lose. You’d like to win that game obviously. We had some real good opportunities. Hyman made two unbelievable passes to Matthews — one where he hit the shaft – so two unbelievable plays there. I thought it was a good hockey game. It was tight checking and there wasn’t a whole lot of room. They’re a good team though, and they’re skilled and they play good. I was impressed with a couple of their kids that I didn’t know were good, that I had seen in junior but hadn’t seen them [in the NHL]. I thought they were good.
What was your thinking with going with Boyle against the Toews line?
Babcock: I was just going to do it for one shift because we won last game when we started them, but [I don’t know] how much thinking I did to be honest with you. I just thought they were playing good. I was able to use Bozak all over. I was rolling everyone out the door. I thought everyone was given enough minutes and playing good enough that I used Bozie kind of all over. I didn’t hard match Toews as much. I used Bozie sometimes and Boyle, just depending on where the faceoff was and that. But I thought everyone played good, so I played everybody.
How crucial was that point in such a big game toward the end of the season?
Babcock: I just think that we’re going to be… every day you talk about how big the game is, but that’s what we’re going to do right to the end. You can just tell by looking at it. It’s a huge point for us today; an absolutely huge point. But we’ve got to keep getting better. I thought we were – as good as we played at times – very respectful of them. I’d have liked to see us go after them a little bit more, but that’s all a part of the process, too.
What’s it like to roll four lines continually given there were no penalties pretty much?
Babcock: Yeah, it was good. Obviously, there was one penalty in the game, right? So the refs let them play, but there wasn’t a whole lot of shenanigans going on, to tell you the truth. It was just two teams racing up and down. But I thought there were lots of good battles. Both teams had real good sticks. There wasn’t a bunch of room out there. It was hard to make plays.
How do you feel the new defensive alignment is going?
Babcock: I wouldn’t read too much into the defensive alignment. Sometimes when it’s not working you just change something up. I thought Marchy was solid today. I thought our D was good. We didn’t make many mistakes. I thought we had a lot of good players here tonight. We’ll get Carrick back here eventually and obviously he’d go right in the lineup.