Leafs Locker: Babcock looking to power up Nylander group

“That’s a good question,” is Mike Babcock’s favourite way of not answering a question, followed by quickly switching to another topic.

He invoked that Monday when pressed on why the power play unit featuring Mitch Marner, Nazem Kadri, Morgan Rielly, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk is doing better of late than Patrick Marleau, William Nylander, Connor Brown, Leo Komarov and Jake Gardiner.

“We have to get that fixed,” Babcock said earlier of the imbalance. “You need two units with fresh guys going out there. Our penalty kill is really good and won us lots of games, our power play has been really dangerous on one group and not as good on the other.”

The aforementioned Group 1 has six of the last seven goals with the man advantage, dating from the Auston Matthews’ shoulder injury.

“We feel we have the depth, we have to come up with a scheme and the work ethic and execution to make that happen,” Babcock said. “That will happen more when Matty’s back, but in the meantime, we still need power play goals out of that other group.”

DOZE WERE THE DAYS

Practicing 24 hours after daylight savings kicked in and an hour’s sleep was lost, no Leafs were seen nodding off or getting a puck in the head because of slow reflexes. While some pro teams employ a sleep doctor and the Leafs do have a large sports science team, the players were on their own to reset body clocks.

“If you asked them about it, they would certainly have an answer,” said Rielly, teasing the team specialists. “They tend to be pretty prepared. But my answer would just be to sleep.”

Frederik Andersen faced 40 shots on Saturday night, then lost an hour of shut-eye, but the team had Sunday off to recover.

“It’s like traveling one time zone, you take a day or two, but you shouldn’t feel it after that,” Andersen said. “We were pretty dialed in knowing what to do. You don’t want to take too long of a nap if you’re going to try and go to bed an hour earlier than you’re used to. Maybe the big coffee drinkers in here would hold off on their third or fourth cup.”

FORE A GOOD CAUSE

Zach Hyman has always had a special place in his heart for kids, through his children’s books and hospital visits.

Now he hopes to raise money for various youth facilities through his first annual charity celebrity golf tournament, July 30 at the Lebovic course in Aurora.

“It’s important to give back,” Hyman said. “I’ve been to a bunch of golf tournaments last summer and part of that was raising money. This is our first, for Sick Kids Hospital and other youth charities such as the OJHL, were I played and which helps get kids into hockey. The third part of our event is going to be a scholarship fund. I’m really excited.

“I have a passion of interacting with kids and helping them through my books (author of three and counting). Our team does the Sick Kids visit every year and that’s very inspirational. One of my good buddy’s neighbors was in there and we went to visit a bunch of times and cheer him up. And when I played at Michigan, our athletic department had a program with C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (Ann Arbor) that we’d go every Tuesday and visit.”

Hyman will announce at a later date which teammates and other celebs will participate.

LOOSE LEAFS

After making a rare start on Saturday and getting an assist, winger Josh Leivo dressed as a defenceman at Monday’s practice. Part of that was a second day away from the team for Nikita Zaitsev, who was at the doctor to have a persistent flu bug checked out. Matt Martin was on the fourth line, but as for guessing whether Babcock is going to add him for toughness on Wednesday against Dallas, the coach quipped “I wouldn’t try reading my mind. I don’t even know what’s going on in there.” … Some notable performances from the Leafs’ record 10-game home win streak so far: Marner had eight goals and nine assists for 17 points, Kadri 8-7-15, Marleau 3-5-8, Gardiner 1-8-9, van Riemsdyk 4-3-7, Nylander 2-5-7and Rielly 1-6-7. Andersen won nine of 10, getting lifted for one game because of injuryy … Garret Sparks made 20 saves Monday in the Marlies 4-1 win over Laval to set the AHL franchise’s record of 72 wins, passing Justin Pogge.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies

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