Pre-game comments ahead of Saturday night’s game versus Pittsburgh.

What is the mood you’ve seen from the players going into tonight?

Babcock: Excited. Last game, we had a real good morning skate and everyone was dialled in. Today, it wasn’t very good. So I’m hoping the transfer is perfect. How’s that?

You’ve got to be excited. It’s Saturday night, it’s in our building, we’ve earned the opportunity. If you’re not excited for the opportunities… that’s why you play. You play in opportunities that you perceive are big games. For our team and our organization at this time, it’s a big game. For Pittsburgh, they’ve got two left, or whatever they’ve got. It’s different for us and different for them, but it’s important that we play hard and play right. Last game, we didn’t move. We watched them skate and work and we stood around. We’ve got to come out and work tonight.

If there is a fine line between getting up for a big game but not letting it become too big?

Babcock: I think so. I think a big part of it is not letting yesterday get in the way and let it wear on you all day today. The national anthem is going to start. You’ve got lots of time to get ready. That doesn’t mean you don’t do your maintenance today, eat right, and all of those things, but there is no sense in grinding yourself into the ground all day. Get ready and play hard.

How much do you care about who they rest tonight?

Babcock: If you look at it last game, you’d say the opportunity was a pretty good one with the lineup they dressed. All of those people who I didn’t know their names skated us into the ground. Suddenly, I got to know some guys’ names. That’s what happens. They come in the national league, you don’t know who they are, they skate around and they have the puck all the time, and you get to know their name fast. I got to know some guys on Tampa the other night. I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about that. I’d get ready myself and do what we do, and when we do that we have a lot of success. Doesn’t matter who we play.

Brian Boyle was saying he’d like to generate some more offense and get some offensive opportunities. Have you seen him capitalizing on his chances or creating those offensive chances?

Babcock: Boyler’s expectation and mine are totally different, then. I want him to win faceoffs, play heavy in the offensive zone, be good defensively, and make sure they get no opportunities when he’s on the ice. All that stuff he is talking about is a bonus. How’s that?

Did you watch the game last night?

Babcock: No. I just went to a movie with my wife. I haven’t been to a movie and she said we’re going to a movie. The movie was way more fun than watching that game. I think the other important thing about that is that I think you should win your way in. I think you earn the right to be in there. I thin if you do a good job – you people [in the media] – then you get to cover the Stanley Cup playoffs, right? If we do a good job, we get to be in them. If we don’t, we don’t get to be in them. I think you should win your way in.

What movie did you see?

Babcock: Uhh, what’s it called? I don’t know. I loved it, though. I laughed a lot. The three retired guys that lose their pension. It was unbelievable. I laughed. It was great. They robbed the bank. Anything else? See you guys.

Morning Skate: Marner, Kapanen, Bozak

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