Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night, the Leafs’ fifth loss in their last seven games.
On the team’s performance:
I thought they worked harder than we did. Any way you look at it, I think we are .500 in our last ten. Since Christmas, we haven’t been engaged enough. We haven’t competed at a high enough level.
If you just did a, “Who won all the races and who won all the battles?” They did. The game was fair in the end. I thought we were in a good spot, obviously. We had good chances in the first on the power play. We had the breakaway. We had the seam pass. In saying all of that, they kept winning more and more as the game went on. They deserved the win.
On the self-inflicted wounds on the second and third goals against:
There was no question about that. You can say that about the fourth goal, too. We are standing right there. We worked on that this week. Not mentally sharp enough and not physically engaged enough, either. We’ve only got ourselves to blame. Obviously, myself, as the head coach, I am responsible. We didn’t play well enough. We didn’t play hard enough. The players, the same way. We weren’t good enough. We’ll take a day off tomorrow and take a breath and we’ll get back to work because this is not good enough.
On losing five of the last six at home:
No question about that. Tonight, we got Freddy back. That should give us a boost. But, in the end, we didn’t manage it like it was a boost, so it cost us. We haven’t been good enough. You get what you get. The league is going by and everyone is getting better and we’ve hit a lull. We’ve got to get it turned.
On Jake Gardiner hearing it from the boo birds at the Scotiabank Arena:
What I would say is that he is a really, really good player and an important piece. He didn’t play good. The good thing about our fans is that they want us to win. They want us to play way harder than that. We want to play harder than that for them. I think we’ve done a good job over time here to be a real good team to watch. We weren’t good enough to watch. They pay their money and they’re allowed to say what they want. The bottom line is he’s an important player for us. We need him to be better.
On John Tavares’ comments that the team has to find another level:
We haven’t been very good. We can compete way harder than we are right now. For whatever reason, since Christmas, we haven’t found that level. I don’t know why that is. We have in games. I thought a lot of the Boston game, a lot of the Nashville game, the Vancouver game… But it hasn’t been every day at a high enough level. You’re not going to win. The NHL is too tight.