Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
On the team’s performance overall despite the loss:
I liked lots of things about the game. I didn’t like their first goal. We made a mistake behind the net. Even their second goal was a line change by us. I didn’t like that. In saying all of that, we had lots of opportunities. Their goalie was real solid, to say the least. But they’re a veteran team that knows how to play and they play well. They can really score, but they defend as well. I thought they did that tonight. I didn’t think there was tonnes of space.
I think we can learn a lot by playing against them. I think it’s good that we have them three more times or four more times. You want to play good teams. We’ve still got to do more things right and be a little more patient… shorter shifts at times, all the little things. You need winning habits. I thought it was a good game though.
On the team’s start and ability to keep Steven Stamkos’ line contained for the most part:
In saying that, they probably look over there. They kept their big line contained, too, right? Point’s line against Matthews. Our line against Stamkos. Stamkos and those guys got a few chances there at the end when we were really pushing, but they’ve got a real good hockey team and real good depth. I thought it was a good game.
On Mitch Marner’s performance and numerous scoring chances in the game:
I thought the first period for him and his line was not very good. And then I thought he dominated the game in the second and third. I’ll talk to him about that tomorrow — when you’re going to be a driver on a team like he is going to be, it’s every night. You’ve got to be ready to go from the get-go. You’ve got to push. He’ll leave tonight thinking, “Geez, I should’ve scored on that chance.” That’s great, but if you get the chances, you’re going to score. To me, his work ethic, his deception, his speed, his tenacity — all of those things — if you’re him, you leave the rink feeling good, I think. You wanted to win, but you feel good.
On Frederik Gauthier’s performance in his season debut:
I liked Goat. I thought he skated. I thought he worked. He was good on the penalty kill. That is the best team in the league. He was out there and looked good to me. Didn’t cause any trouble. Knows how to play.
Even there, on the one shift he got hemmed in against their top line, he had a few mistakes from his wingers but none from him. He just did his job. I liked him.
Now, everybody comes out and everyone is great, and then the level watermark usually sets in. If you’re ready, the level watermark is good enough. If you’re not, it’s not.
On the ceremony for Johnny Bower:
I thought it was outstanding. When you are in hockey or you are in something of notoriety, people think of your career or the Hall of Fame and all of that. The measure of a man is the family he raises. Did you see all of those people coming out? It was unbelievable to see. That is what stood out in my mind. If he touched the Leafs and Leafs fans the way he has, can you imagine what he did for that family and the foundation he probably built with his wife for those people? I was moved, to say the least. It was spectacular.