Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, completing a sweep of their five-game homestand.
On whether it was a total team effort with the defense down to five with Jake Gardiner leaving injured:
It was Freddy’s effort, anyway. Let’s be honest: Freddy was real good. We weren’t very good, for whatever reason. They had jump and we didn’t. We scored early and then we were able to score on our chances. Freddy was outstanding. We had some guys who really battled. I didn’t think we — at any time, really — were really that good. But we battled hard and found a way to get ourselves a win.
On Jake Gardiner’s status:
They just told me he’s got some sort of… I don’t even know what happened, to tell you the truth. They just told me he’s got some sort of lower-body thing. He’s got some kind of spasm or something like that, and they just couldn’t get it to relax, or whatever. They wouldn’t let him come back.
On having to manage the bench with just five defensemen:
It affects it because you don’t have as many guys, but I would say to you: If you play in the offensive zone and you cycle, it’s no big deal. When you spend the whole game in your own zone, there are some miles on those D. For whatever reason… It’s a great win for our team, two points are hard to come by, but it’s good we have a day off tomorrow. We can take a breath and get ready to go again.
On whether the game felt in control even with the massive shots against total (57 shots):
What I said to the guys going into the third period was: Here we are. We are set up perfect here. I hadn’t thought we played great. Let’s get out and play. Obviously, Mitch and Naz and Marleau had her going. They had it on a string. They scored enough that the rest of us were allowed to leave here tonight with a win. And then Freddy… I mean, Freddy was outstanding.
On whether he’s worried bad habits are setting in despite the wins:
I didn’t say that. I just thought we didn’t have any energy and weren’t very good tonight, for whatever reason. Now, I don’t know, does it have anything to do with what we did yesterday? I don’t know. We weren’t very good.
On why Marleau, Kadri and Marner have worked so well as a line:
Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know for sure. I used them together — Kadri and Marner — last year and they were no good together. They didn’t even go. It was like we wanted to try that and thought it would be good, but it just didn’t work. So we went back to what kind of had worked.
You know, Bozak and James and Marner, I thought, were outstanding last year. It didn’t work this year. That’s the beauty of having more players. You can move them around, and once in a while, you get lucky. You tell everyone how smart you are. No, I mean…
On the initial plan to use them as a line only on the road:
That’s what I was going to do, and then Mitch decided to play hard enough that it didn’t much matter. What’s worked good, too, is Leo is playing on our fourth line, or starts on our fourth line, and he’s playing 14-15 minutes a night anyway. It doesn’t make much difference. Each night you evaluate who is playing good and then you move them around accordingly.
On whether Gardiner will be able to practice Friday:
It’s a day off tomorrow, so once we get through tomorrow, we will kind of have a better handle on it. It was some sort of spasm or something. They knew he had it, but he thought he was fine. When he got out there, he wasn’t fine.