I get it, Nazem Kadri is out but is Tomas Plekanec really the answer?
Mike Babcock’s $6.25 million salary (US dollars might I add, Cha-Ching) is more than double any other coach’s in the NHL and suggests he knows what he’s doing. He has won the Stanley Cup, and coached a really solid, sustained successful playoff team in the Detroit for years so he has earned that money in his career.
Also, coaching salary is one of the few areas where the Toronto Maple Leafs could use their massive Scrooge McDuck style piles of cash to benefit their salary capped team so they predictably balled out on the free agent coach three years ago.
After taking the team under his tutelage and promising pain, the Leafs immediately dropped to the worst team in the league, drafted Auston Matthews and promptly made the playoffs the next year. Babcock promised pain and we all thought we got off easy with one tankingly bad year. Clearly the 2018 playoffs is the pain Babs was talking about.
The line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnek was notably the one factor in this series that Toronto would have to over come. We’ve known this since January when Toronto was matched up against Boston in the standings which remained the same for the rest of the season. Surely this was enough time to game plan right?
In two games those three forwards have combined for 20 points against the Leafs. So, no not enough time to game plan.
Undisciplined and utterly awful defensively, I have yet to see where Babcock has made his mark on this team in the playoffs, other than stymieing a team that should be an offensive powerhouse (see 2012 Men’s Canada Olympic team).
Horachek was really really bad as a coach but i’m not really sure what Babcock is doing to justify over $6 million a year, and the arrogance he carries when asked to explain his teams poor play and separate himself from the insulting comparison.
What fans have been crying for was a rolling of the lines when in Boston, which he couldn’t do. When not in the playoffs Toronto has owned the Bruins this season simply by playing fast paced hockey and directing everything towards the net. Babcock has become so obsessed with line matching that the Leafs have no rhythm in their game and are non existent in the neutral zone.
“Leaf’s need a statement game at home,” “you’re not in trouble until you lose at home,” blah blah blah. Throw all the cliches aside, Babcock needs figure out the one-line Bruins fast or else the Leafs have a wasted season.
Oh yeah, and he’s moving Plekanec to 2nd line center for game three, so I think a little more pain is coming for Leaf’s fans.