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From the Branches: Everybody loves Morgan

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Mike Babcock has some nice things to say about Rielly

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Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Rangers
That is the face of a leader.
Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

Maple Leafs Hot Stove has the transcript of Mike Babcock’s post-practice interview yesterday, and he used some of that time to praise Morgan Rielly and the steps forward he’s taken this year.

I think what stands out most – when you think leadership, you think about some sort of speech or saying something. To me, leadership is just modeling and doing it every single day.

Leaving aside the “modeling” comment (I too think Morgan Rielly could be a model! But we’re talking about hockey right now), this quote makes it sound like Babcock might disagree with our commenters but agree with me on who will end up with the Maple Leafs captaincy. Leadership! Consistency! A fantastic pun opportunity!* Slap a C on Morgan Rielly’s jersey this minute, why don’t you?

*Okay, Babcock probably doesn’t care about that, but I do. Imagine the amount of fun that we could have with Captain Morgan. I’m a blogger, I have to care about puns.

Have some links for your Thursday:

ICYMI

The Johnny Bower memorial is today at the Air Canada Centre - Pension Plan Puppets
A public memorial will take place today for one of the most beloved Maple Leafs of all time

Shameless Trade Speculation: What would it take to get Kris Letang to the Leafs? - Pension Plan Puppets
Dreaming is fun!

Steven Stamkos to be Auston Matthews’ captain: see what they’ll be wearing - Pension Plan Puppets
We’re assuming Auston Matthews is going to the NHL All-Star Game, but it feels like a safe bet.

Women’s Hockey Wednesday links: USA and Canada Olympic rosters, news - Pension Plan Puppets
Plus, the Pegulas buy the Beauts, Canada finalizes their roster and two major tournaments begin this week.

Toronto Marlies name a captain and official alternates - Pension Plan Puppets
It’s important to try bold ideas out in the minors first. Maybe someday the Leafs will follow suit.

Wow, we wrote a lot of stuff yesterday. Guess our staff was feeling frisky after the holiday break.

Stuff We Didn’t Write

What the Toronto Maple Leafs Expect from Frederik Gauthier
The club also called up Frederik Gauthier, who when drafted was expected to play the role that Kadri is currently playing. A third or fourth line shutdown centre role.

Hockey royalty gathers in Toronto to pay tribute to Johnny Bower - The Globe and Mail
Those in attendance included NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Team Canada hero Paul Henderson, Canadiens great Yvon Cournoyer and Leafs icons Red Kelly, Darryl Sittler, Doug Gilmour and Rick Vaive

31 Thoughts: NHL's trade market cracking open - Sportsnet.ca
In the first 2018 instalment of 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman touches on the Max Pacioretty situation in Montreal, the NHL's trade market, Canada's Olympic team and much more.

Patrick Maroon Suspended Two Games For Hit On LA Kings’ Drew Doughty - The Copper & Blue
Maroon served five minutes and a game misconduct for headshot to Drew Doughty

Oilers try to fix abysmal penalty kill, turn around disappointing season - The Globe and Mail
Edmonton, who stumbled out of the gate and has yet to find a winning rhythm, is dead last in the NHL on the penalty kill with a 70.8 success rate

The Maple Leafs are back in action tonight at 7pm against the San Jose Sharks. May they fare better against this nontraditional market team than the last one.