Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 8-5-3 on the season.
On the low-event game:
We knew as a coaching staff — obviously, we did the prescout — what we were in for. We knew it was going to be a grind. After the first period, the teams were on pace for 21-21 in shots. They did a real good job in the neutral zone. They did a real good job in their own zone blocking shots and staying on the inside. They just stayed with it, but that is what they have been doing. They’ve got good leadership there.
If you look at it, they’ve got stars in three positions in Kopitar, Doughty, and then in net. They’ve got some leadership for their group as they try to build it. Obviously, their coach and their staff did a real good job. They made it hard. There was no free space. It was hard, but I thought it was a really good game for our team to just stay the course. This is where we are. Just do things right. Don’t cheat and you’ll be rewarded in the end.
On Tavares’ first game back:
We were just talking about it. It doesn’t matter what you do or how hard you train or work. He was fine, but you’re not playing NHL games. I’d imagine Hyman is going to go through a stretch, too. It is hard when you are sitting out and everyone else is practicing. No matter who you work with now and how good the development team and all of that stuff is, it is still not an NHL hockey game.
On Nic Petan getting an opportunity next to Tavares:
I thought it was good for [Petan]. He went down, went to work, came back. Obviously, there is a guy for that spot, so there is not going to be a lot of opportunities. Mooresy is a real good hockey player, too. But it was an opportunity and we wanted to see Pete. Good for him.
On whether it was a tough night for the Matthews line until they scored two quick goals:
I thought it was a tough night for every line. I thought Kerfoot’s line was real good, but there wasn’t a whole lot — from their end, either. They didn’t generate anything, either. It was that you had to throw it in. You couldn’t get it through from the point. It was blocked shots. Some people will think it was ugly. I thought it was beautiful.
On Kerfoot’s contributions since joining the Leafs:
I think Kerf is a good hockey player. He is a real smart person. He is a good person. He works hard. He is greasy. He is competitive. He knows how to play. He is just going to get better and better. I think we could have an unbelievable line there with Mikheyev and Kapanen once we get it organized and once they get to know each other and feel good.
On Shore moving up into Marner’s spot for some right-side faceoffs:
I forget what happened. It was just the way it was. I mean, Hyman will take those right-hand faceoff draws when he is back. Hyms is good at it and will work at it. But Shoresy has done a heck of a job for us. He’s really done a good job.
On why he liked this style of game:
Just because of the fact that we need to go through that. We need to find out who we are. The harder the game is, the better it is for us. Would you like to win by a touchdown and everyone can relax and all of that? We’re not getting anywhere like that. This is important to do. You give up one goal. You play well without the puck. Your goalie makes some saves. We didn’t win it on specialty teams. You had to grind. It was good for us.
On Todd McLellan coaching a defensive style with the Kings:
Every team you coach is different. It is different because you’ve got a different group of guys. That is how he has to coach to have success with this team. I talked to him for a long time this morning and I did the prsecout. I’ve got a pretty good handle on what the program is there. He is going to do a real nice job.
On whether Hyman could be back for Thursday’s game:
I don’t know.