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Babcock on injuries, Rielly and Kadri

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


Here's what Leafs head coach Mike Babcock had to say before the team left for Dallas on Monday afternoon.

Any update on Bernier or Winnik?

No.

How quickly can you change practice habits in players?

That's a great question. I don't know. I think they've practiced real hard. I think as they understand more they get better and get used to what you expect. You don't have to explain quite as much. I think our guys have worked, I don't think that's been an issue at all for us. They've worked in the weight room and been professional and gotten after it in practice so that's a positive.

Is playing Rielly on the PK over the PP something you knew you'd do when you took over or something that developed over the summer?

Well we're doing that -- all you've got to do is look at the stats and he should be on the power play, but we're trying to get him to learn to play without the puck and focus on that totally. I never knew until I watched him without the puck and then that became an area that I thought if we want him to be the best player he can be we've got to get him without the puck first. The other stuff is natural for him so it's no issue. He didn't play on the power play, we threw him out there last game because we were one short up front and then the next thing you know he has a power play assist. Obviously he's a good player, some people might say it doesn't make any sense but it makes sense to me and that's all that really matters.

What makes Kadri so good at drawing penalties?

I think he's just been competitive. He's skated and he's had the puck a lot so that's good for him. Obviously for the amount he has had the puck and the amount of offence he has created, he'd like to score more. We'd like him to score more too. To me the competitive part of his game, his play without the puck, the way he is playing has been a vast improvement almost game-in, game-out. We've just got to keep him going.

Will Winnik travel with the team?

I'm pretty sure both guys are traveling. Nobody has told me they're not so I assume they are.

Maintenance day for Phaneuf?

He has had the flu so we kept him at home. He's going to be on the plane.

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