Game Day: Mike Babcock
Do you actually speak to the other coach before these games?
Babcock: If he brings in an AHL roster tonight and I play an NHL team, do I get anything out of the game? No, so why not have a similar type of team so you can evaluate your team? Does that make any sense?
When you have guys that have been with the Marlies a few years, do you appreciate the way they can step in with the same system?
Babcock: The Marlies have had excellent, excellent talent these last couple of years. They’re going to have a heck of a team this year, to say the least. It’s great when you have good players. The other thing about it is there are too many players here for the 23 spots that are NHL capable. It’s important that those guys know what’s going on and they’re ready to go. The other thing about it is, every year that I’ve been in the league, someone starts in the minors and the next thing you know they’re on the team right away. Everyone is all up in arms and then they’re back. Let’s just play.
After seeing Rielly and Hainsey together, is it still what you have in mind?
Babcock: I never said that. You just said that. They’re a work in progress, like everybody else.
Miro Aaltonen and Calle Rosen appear to be two guys in the battle for jobs.
Babcock: There is way more than that. This is what I knew would happen today. Don’t go there. There is a whole bunch of those guys in those battles. They got the first opportunity with the big club. How’s that?
Have they exceeded the expectations?
Babcock: No. That’s why we signed them. We thought they were good.
When Marleau made the Olympic team for Sochi, it was seen as automatic in a lot of people’s eyes. You have been a supporter of his. What is it that…
Babcock: Elite skater. Elite smarts. Can play without the puck. Does it right every day. Doesn’t let you down. He’s pretty good and dependable. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for a guy that does it the same all the time, and so you can trust him. That’s what you want — guys you can trust.
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines
Hyman – Matthews – Nylander
JVR – Bozak – Marner
Marleau – Kadri – Leo
Martin – Aaltonen – Brown
Rielly – Hainsey
Gardiner – Zaitsev
Rosen – Carrick
Montreal Canadiens Projected Lines
Pacioretty – Mitchell – Gallagher
Hudon – Plekanec – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Danault – Hemsky
Byron – De La Rose – Froese
Mete – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Davidson – Benn