Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday afternoon.
On how the game played out:
I thought their goaltender was good. We scored twice in the first period, but I didn’t like our first period. I thought they were better than us. I thought, after that, I liked our game a lot. It was a great game for our team. It is the kind the game… You’ve got to learn how to win all kinds of games.
They’ve got good faceoff guys. They are a veteran team. They make it hard on you physically because they’re physical on offense, they’re near your net, and they’re making it hard for you to handle them. We had 17 d-zone faceoffs in the first period. They were on us. Even when we won, we didn’t execute.
We left the period 2-1, or whatever. I thought we played a pretty good game. I’d like to see us score. I don’t know how many power plays we had, but we stayed in their zone the whole time and had real opportunities. It didn’t go our way, but I really like the opportunity for our team. You’ve got to win all types of games.
On Michael Hutchinson’s performance in his unexpected Leaf debut:
I thought he gave us a chance. That’s all you can ask for from the guy.
What was the sequence of events? They called me and told me Sparky couldn’t go. We knew he was going to play. I asked what his first name was. He told me. I asked him what he likes to be called. He said, “Hutch.” I said, “Have fun.” How’s that?
On Frederik Andersen’s progress toward a return:
He was out [on the ice] again today. Everything is moving along according to our medical people that way. But it is what it is. He’s ready when he’s ready. I didn’t think, for us, that you could… I thought Hutch gave us an opportunity and that’s all you can ask for him. We’ve got to do our part.
On whether he expects Garret Sparks in practice tomorrow:
I don’t have any expectation. I don’t know what is going on. We are just talking about finding another goalie. We want [Kasimir Kaskisuo] to be playing. We don’t want him sitting around. Maybe we’ve got to find another goalie and go from there.
On what William Nylander’s first goal is going to do for him going forward:
Ideally, what it is going to do is get him to compete harder and skate harder and take a load off of him so he can get going. I thought he was going to get the winner here tonight. I thought one wasn’t going to be enough. In the end, that’s all he got. We need him to help our team and be a productive Leaf. We think he can be and we think it is just a matter of time.