Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night, dropping the Leafs’ record to 6-5-3 on the season.
On the team’s performance in a game with a ton of special teams time:
Holy God there were a lot of penaltes. It was a tough game to play. You sit there for a while because you penalty kill and then you’re not getting out on that. And then you get out there and you get on a good run of multiple power plays. I thought both teams clogged it up real good. I thought both teams made it hard. It was hard to get the puck to the net. I thought parts of the game I looked up and it looked like there were eight shots, and stuff like that. There was not much going on. It was a competitive game.
We needed to win the game and find a way to win the game. I thought we had got through it when we got through the kill and then obviously, we took another one there on that high stick. It’s unfortunate because I thought we did a real nice job on the PK.
On Jake Muzzin’s status after leaving the game:
I mean, he’s injured, but it’s not his knee or anything. He’s got a charlie horse. I don’t know what that means, though. I don’t know the timeline on that. Obviously, he is a good player for us and an important player for us, but I thought Holl stepped up and played really well, to tell you the truth.
On Alex Ovechkin’s comments about the Leafs‘ young core before the game:
I don’t know if he is wrong. He would know. He knows. He lived it. But I mean, if you look at Steve Yzerman, he lived it. a lot of the guys live it. They live it until they’re 30. You’ve got to decide if you want to wait until you’re 30 or if you want to figure it out now. It’s the ultimate team game. You’ve got to sacrifice individual rights for team rights. I say it all the time: It is the two points in the game. It has nothing to do with the points you get yourself.
It is a process for young guys. Everybody in Toronto is in a rush all the time, but that is not pro sport. It is not real. You’ve got to keep building and building and building and be steady on the rudder. Keep going through things and matchups and learning to play with the league and how to be patient and not turn the puck over. Shift length — all the things that you’re just a good player and you haven’t had to deal with, but you’ve to deal with if you want to win in the NHL. Look at the age of St. Louis. That is just the reality of the situation.
The one thing about it is it gets your attention. It hurts your feelings, probably, a little bit.
On whether it means more when the team hears it from someone like Ovechkin:
Well, he knows. He lived it. He was the guy. He then figured out, “This is what we’ve got to do to win.” We talked about this last year: Fun to watch. Going 100 miles an hour. Got to learn how to play right.
On Auston Matthews’ fly by just prior to the Ovechkin 3-3 goal and whether it was that kind of play Ovechkin was referring to in his comments:
Well, he’s just talking about running and gunning and not being able to play… The bottom line: You’ve got to be able to keep it out of your net. You are not going to be outscoring anybody at playoff time. You’ve got to be able to outdefend them and then your skill comes to the forefront. That is what he is talking about.
Is that not a fair assessment? It hurts my feelings, I can tell you that. I am the coach. I am supposed to get all of this organized. But we know this. We are working towards it every day. We are talking about it every single day. Just because you’re talking about it doesn’t mean it is going to change right away. Sometimes it is just life lessons. In saying all of that, we think we are in the right process. We think we have good people and we are going in the right direction.
On Tom Wilson’s effectiveness:
He played there in Plymouth and I saw him lots as a junior. When they first got him to the NHL, I thought, “They wrecked this kid. They got him here too soon.” And he’s turned himself… He can play with good players. He is a good talent. He is mean. He is hard. He is physical. He is a factor, but he can play in the top six. Not many guys like that.