Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.
On the team’s performance:
This wasn’t one of our better games. I thought we started good. I thought they were better than us in the second period. Both teams had chances. Both teams hit the post and stuff like that. They’re a good team and it’s always great to get a point. But I didn’t think this was one of our better games.
On Tomas Plekanec’s debut:
I thought he was good. He is going to obviously improve our hockey club and give us an upgrade and give us a guy that can play against anybody. He took a couple of penalties tonight and you don’t want to do that, but we’ll just get him used to playing with us and then he can really help.
On whether he plans to work Plekanec into the PK rotation:
I’m going to find PK time for him just because of his faceoff stuff and that, but until he’s been with us a little bit and figures out exactly how we do it and the amount of pressure we want… maybe that won’t happen tomorrow, but for the next time, he’ll be ready to go.
On whether the team is relieved by the deadline being in the rear-view mirror:
I think so. You think about it — they’ve been hearing about all of the stuff that was going to happen. It does me no good to say it’s not going to happen. What if someone decides to give you some sort offer and then it does happen? You just kind of listen to it all. As our team has gotten better, we felt that we had to give this team an opportunity. At the start of the year, you might’ve looked at it and said, “These free agents… maybe we’ll go and get more.” But I think the guys have worked hard enough to give themselves a chance.
We like our chances. We really do. No matter what anybody got today, we like our chances. We think our hockey club can play real fast. That’s why I didn’t like us as much tonight. We weren’t as fast as normal or as competitive. We’re just going to get better from here.
On how the Hyman – Nylander – Kapanen line looked:
I didn’t think Willy was as good as he was the other night, so it’s hard to measure everybody else. It’s hard to play center every night. It’s a lot of work. So that’s just part of the process.
On the benefits of Nylander experiencing games at center against good players like Stamkos and Point:
I think it’s great when you play against real good players. You want to play against real good players and you want to handle them. You want to be able to play against anybody in any situation. The key for the coach is — when you never have to protect a guy, you know he’s settled in. When you’ve got to protect a guy, you know it’s not there yet.
On the decision to keep the top power play unit off the ice to start the 4-on-3 that became a 5-on-3:
That 4-on-3 and then 5-on-3, we thought we’d hit the goalie once and then get our next group out. We didn’t want them to be tired. So then you think, “Geez, I should’ve put those other guys out first.” If I put them out first and they were tired by the time we got to the 5-on-3, I would’ve said, “Geez, why did I put them out first?” Anyway, I didn’t like it. How’s that? We didn’t score.