Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s worst loss of the season, a 6-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
On the team’s performance and whether it was hurt by the back-to-back situation:
I don’t know about the back-to-back. We started really well. I thought we were playing really well. Then, like you’ve seen us, we got impatient and we turned the puck over. They base their offense on tracking back and having numbers at their line and waiting for you to turn it over. We didn’t stay patient enough with our plan. In the end, they capitalized. I mean, the third period was nothing. That really hurt us.
I believe this is a lesson we have to learn. That is what the regular season for — you’ve got to learn these lessons. They’ve got more of a veteran team than us. You can tell by how they take care of the puck. We turned it over too much and gave up too many transition opportunities.
On whether it’s disappointing to get that effort in a bigger regular season game than normal:
We shouldn’t have turned the puck over. That’s the bottom line. I thought we started good. We played well and we had a puck, and then we got away from it. It is a lesson we have to learn. We are fortunate that I think we have 19 games left. If you do this in the playoffs, you lose. You’re done right away. Period. We’ve got these dress rehearsals. In the meantime, you’ve got to get points to get into the playoffs.
On the play of the new pairing and the plan for the defense with Travis Dermott and Jake Gardiner out:
I don’t know. We’ll look at the game here. Ozhiganov will go back in next game and then we’ll just go from there. We also have Rosen, who has got a chance to get better. We are going to figure it out because obviously these guys aren’t coming back right away and we need six good ones.
On whether surgery is being contemplated as an option for Jake Gardiner:
At this time, it doesn’t look like it. That is what the doctors have ruled out. I am not a doctor. I don’t know. You go day to day. He’s obviously got to make improvement. When he makes the improvement that they say he is going to make, then there is going to be no surgery whatsoever.
On whether the crowd atmosphere factored into the result:
I thought the energy was spectacular in warmup and at the start of the game. The whole thing. You must be a real special player and a real special person for them to honour you like that. They only boo you if you’re important. If he were most of us, they wouldn’t even know who you were. What an honour that is. I thought our team handled that really good. I thought we played good and started good. To me, the crowd had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. Our play with the puck through the neutral zone had everything to do with the outcome of the game. It cost us.
On Garret Sparks’ performance in net:
I haven’t looked at it totally. Anyway you look at it, they got a lot and we got a little.
On how John Tavares handled the return to New York:
I just think you knew how he was going to handle it anyway. He is a proud guy. We wanted to come here and win for John and we didn’t get that done here today.