“We have a fantastic city and we can’t let this get in the way of what we’ve got going.”
Those were the words of Mike Babcock after the win last night. He said that the deaths of their fellow Torontonians yesterday were all any of the players talked about before the game. And yet, we all know that you have to life your life. Sometimes it’s even more important to not let life be derailed by violence.
And so we go to the hockey:
Babcock talks a lot about what maybe might be called “clutch”. I like his definition of players that show up for the big moments, the ones you remember: “All that means is doing your simple part for the group to have success.” Or in other words, you play your own game within the team, and I think we saw a lot of that last night.
Look at Auston Matthews, who can’t buy a goal, and you saw a guy doing all the other things he does: stealing the puck, keeping it away from the defenders, driving the net, etc. He was playing his game.
Babcock also says, “The first ten minutes in Boston should be a tonne of fun.” Yeaaaah. Fun.
I found it interesting that he namechecked Andreas Johnsson, Travis Dermott, and Kasperi Kapanen and talked about them playing in a big game and how that helps the development of the team. The Leafs are playing two games here. They’re trying to beat Boston, but they’re also playing the games of the future. Those players are on this team now, and not sitting in the press box, so they win the games of the future.
And now we tilt the microphone up a little and get ready for some excited goalie thoughts.
There’s a really good question that basically asks: Freddie, do you feel emotion at all and will you feel more in game seven? He cracks a dry joke without changing facial expression at all.
He’s also very reasonable about the Backes elbow. If you’ve never watched the Leafs promo videos of Andersen playing Matthews in NHL 18, you should. That’s where he gets his emo on.
Now here is someone who is up. They do this one right in his face, not the podium, which is too bad. There’s a classic post-playoff-game interview with Danny Briere sitting behind the table answering questions, and the very small man who just dominated the ice, calmly talking about the game he played is somehow very compelling.
Marner isn’t really a calm guy, but he can be thoughtful. He speaks very well about the events of Monday night and how he feels about. “This world is made for loving each other and making each other better.”
On the third period: “We don’t want to sit back. We’re done with that.”
He talks about the late penalty kill, and he sounds like a fan in the stands. He also really likes the way Tomas Plekanec plays. And then he tells the story of that game in 2013. He turned it off and went and played video games. He really is the fan in the stands, and the best player in this series.
He’s a quiet man, so lean in to listen.
He calls his big PK block luck, and he trots out the story that he just goes over the boards when he’s told, but he looks a little proud of his contributions.
He mentions that the video of the fans in Maple Leafs Square was played at their players’ meeting.
“Stanley Cup playoffs, game seven, we’ve been down three to one. It doesn’t get better than that for us.”
Hey, it might, you know. It just might get even better.
Brown likes the way they played with the lead in the third period. So do I, and I liked Brown’s performance in the whole game.
He relates that he heard about the horrible events of Monday when he woke up from his pre-game nap. But he also talks about seeing the fans in the city and how they feel about the Leafs. Another Toronto boy who feels all sides of a difficult but also amazing day in the city.
Tuesday is the day off, and Wednesday is Game Seven in Boston.