It’s only September 24th and Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is already in mid-season form. In advance of tonight’s preseason matchup against the Montreal Canadiens at ScotiaBank Centre in downtown Toronto, a reporter questioned Babcock’s decision to “stack” his power play unit on Saturday night’s 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. In particular the reporter, who we’re unable to identify merely by voice, wondered aloud why Babcock elected to pair superstars Auston Matthews and John Tavares together. The exchange between himself and Babcock is vintage Babs.
Check it out:
Babcock exchange with reporter on Leafs top PP group:
Reporter: “Why stack one unit?”MB: “Who said I did?”
R: “But why put Matthews and Tavares together?”MB: “What do you want me to do?”
*pause*“I didn’t know I stacked one. Whoever scores more, goes out more.”
In other words… “Whey did you become an NHL coach, bud?”
Babcock went on to defend his stance saying that whoever creates offensive chances and finds the back of the net will be out on the ice when the Leafs head to the powerplay. He’s not playing favorites… at least not this early in the season.
For what it’s worth… how do you NOT stack your PP unit with Matthews and Tavares? I mean… what kind of question is that in the first place? Do you think that Mike Sullivan gets questioned when he puts Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby together on the PP? You think Joel Quenneville gets questioned when he puts Jonathan Toews together with Patrick Kane on the PP? On the flip side... how much heat would Babcock get from the Toronto media if he elected to NOT pair Matthews with Tavares on the PP. Damned if you do, damned if you don't...
In all fairness, it’s likely that Babcock is just sick of the preseason and is eager to drop the puck on the regular season already. The veteran head coach has already made comments that the preseason is too long and that 3 weeks is all he and his staff need to get a good evaluation of the talent on his team. Enough already, let’s drop the puck on the 2018-19 NHL season already! We're pretty confident that Babs is with us on that one...