A cheery, loose atmosphere prevailed in the Maple Leafs dressing room on Tuesday, from head coach Mike Babcock playfully urging the media to create some controversy with trades or rumours to players more willing to stay longer and talk not just hockey, but life in general.
Perhaps it was the team’s annual visit to the Hospital For Sick Children on Monday that made an impression. Babcock segued into the impact of the visit when asked how the Leafs deal with the ups and downs of 82 games that is only one-third complete now.
“You try to make sure your life is good. There’s your life at the rink and your life at home. The players are no different than anyone else, worried about what room their baby is sleeping in and their families.
“Everyone has something going on and that was what was great about yesterday. You go there and realize the little things going on in your life aren’t very big. When you listen to a kid and he’s telling you he has treatments for nine more weeks and he’s all jacked up about it, you have a look at yourself and it’s a big slap for you.
“To me, we’re in a great situation, we play in the greatest hockey market in the world, we’re covered big time, we have a good team, a good thing going. Let’s keep it going. That part has got to be good, now you have to keep your home life going.”
FOR THE KIDS
It was new Leafs forward Patrick Marleau’s first time visiting Sick Kids. As a father of four boys, aged three to 11, he was an enthusiastic participant.
“It’s nice to be able to go there and brighten up some kids’ days and the families’ days,” Marleau said. “It means a lot to take their minds off what’s going on. These kids are going through some tough times but we were able to hand out some autographs and put some smiles on some faces.”
The Leafs believe they are giving goaltender Frederik Andersen a better sight line on shots these days, helping him avoid surprises off the rush that were vexing him a few weeks ago.
“He’s been great at that and he understands the systems we want to play,” centre Nazem Kadri said. “We want to take away certain areas of the ice where we don’t want shots coming from. Even though sometimes on the road, teams pile up shots, I feel we do a good job of keeping them to the outside and Freddy does a good job seeing them.”
Joseph Woll, Toronto’s third-round pick in the 2016 draft, was one of three goalies named to the Team USA’s preliminary roster for the world junior championship in Buffalo starting later this month … The Marlies were practicing on the pad beside the Leafs on Tuesday. The farm team has weekend games in Laval against the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate … Marlies forward Andreas Johnsson, one of their hottest shooters of late, will miss the team’s game Friday. He has been suspended for a hit in the game against Hartford last weekend, getting a major and 10-minute misconduct.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies