Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, dropping the Leafs’ record to 4-3-1 on the season.
On all the special teams time (specifically five penalty kills) in a back-to-back game:
Some guys are freezing and some guys are getting killed. I thought tonight, as you said, we started good. I thought we were set up good and playing well. We had a couple of sort-out problems at the start of the second period and took penalties. We spent the rest of the night chasing the game. I thought we tried to crawl our way back into the game.
I overplayed guys in the third; you’re chasing the game, and in the end, we didn’t have enough to get it done. It’s disappointing because I thought we were set up pretty good. Bottom line is we’ve got to find a way to play better in these back-to-backs.
On Michael Hutchinson’s performance:
I haven’t had the opportunity to go through the game. We’ll look at it close on the flight. The bottom line is we’ve got to do a better job of keeping it out of our net. A couple of the sort outs in the d-zone weren’t good enough. It’s one thing if they’ve made a play that is unbelievable, but if you’re not standing next to your guy, it’s on you.
I thought we did a real good job tonight on the penalty kill, to tell you the truth. We gave up the one 5-on-3.
It’s not good enough. You need to find a way each and every night. You need different people to do it each and every night. You can’t give up as many goals on the back-to-backs. That is ten goals in [the second halves] of a back-to-back. Can’t do it.
On moving Ilya Mikheyev up for some shifts on the Tavares line:
Obviously, we were trying to get that line to go, right? We’re moving guys around all the time and I don’t know how great that is, either. I thought he had great legs. He was flying. That line — the Kerfoot line — was never getting on the ice because those two guys were penalty killing, and then I’d come back and give Matthews and Tavares going off of the penalty kill. I just figured it was a better opportunity to get him more ice time.
On Kasperi Kapanen’s performance on the Kerfoot line:
I thought Kappy was good. I thought that line was great. They just never got to play because of the special teams. I thought Kappy skated really good. The penalty kill goal was important for us — kind of got us momentum, got us rolling after that. He has been good. Positive for us.
On the day off tomorrow and prepping for the challenge against Boston on Saturday:
Big game for us. What is interesting is that it doesn’t matter who you play any night, there is nothing to pick between the teams. Night after night, you’re in a real grind. We have a history with Boston. They’ve eliminated us from the playoffs two years in a row. Getting the day off tomorrow is important for our group, too, but we’ve got to get back at it. We think there is a whole other level for our group and we’ve got to get to keep getting better.
On the difficulty of four back-to-backs in the opening month of the season:
If you just do the math in the league and have someone who can do that, you can figure out the winning percentage. It is 29%. It is real. It is a bigger deal at the start than it is later, if that makes any sense, when you get used to it and get more rhythm in your game. But we can’t worry about the schedule. We’ve got to worry about the game we’re playing and we’ve got to play right.