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Game Journal: Game 80 - Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs



3:10 PM: Tonight's officials will be Garrett Rank and Brian Pochmara. Devin Berg and Tony Sericolo will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in can watch on Sportsnet, listen on TSN 1050 and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Bob McGill preview tonight's game below.




3:00 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

46 Lindberg - 42 Bozak - 15 Parenteau

38 Greening - 39 Nylander - 37 Kapanen

23 Laich - 54 Gauthier - 40 Grabner

53 Carrick - 56 Froese - 28 Boyes

Defence

52 Marincin - 44 Rielly

51 Gardiner - 20 Corrado

48 Campbell - 29 Brennan

Goaltenders

31 Sparks

45 Bernier

Columbus Blue Jackets

Forwards

38 Jenner - 17 Dubinsky - 13 Atkinson

43 Hartnell - 41 Wennberg - 20 Saad

11 Calvert - 25 Karlsson - 28 Bjorkstrand

71 Foligno - 9 Campbell - 40 Boll

Defence

27 Murray - 3 Jones

29 Goloubef - 58 Savard

46 Kukan - 47 Prout

Goaltenders

72 Bobrovsky

70 Korpisalo



2:45 PM:
Sam Carrick was recalled by the Leafs this morning. Here's what he had to say ahead of Wednesday's game...

Leafs TV

Are you more comfortable after getting some experience last year?

Yeah, you know, last year is a totally different year so I don't like to compare them too much but it definitely makes you more comfortable when you come back up now that I've been here last year. I'm just focused on these next remaining games, especially tonight, just making a good impression.

How have you developed as a player since then?

I think I've worked on my offensive game, especially as of late, in the minors. I feel like I've been confident out there and that's the biggest thing is being confident and when you're confident things just seem to go well for you. That's the main thing. The other thing is I'm playing with great players down there and they help me and I help them. It's just been a great situation.

Does this feel like a reward for your play since your return?

A little bit, I wasn't expecting it too much. I was more focused on having a good finish down there, we've got six games left. I was focused on having a good finish to the year and just be hot going into the playoffs. The team has been playing really well. It is rewarding to come up, definitely. That's every hockey player's dream is to play in the NHL and to get an opportunity to do it is an unbelievable feeling. I'm going to soak it all in right now and look forward to tonight.

Did you wonder at any point when it would be your turn to be called up?

A little bit. I look around that Marlies room and I see so much talent and hard work and you've got to tip your cap to those guys. They all deserved it and for myself I took it as motivation that I need to get better and improve my game. Obviously if they wanted to call me up they would have earlier. It's on me. I need to be better and that's what I've focused on and I think I've slowly improved as the year went on.



2:30 PM:
Tyler Bozak spoke the media on Wednesday morning. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

Is there something to it being the last game of the season and wanting to have a good performance for the fans?

Yeah absolutely. We obviously, first and foremost, want to win and put in a good effort. We're going to prepare and come here and get ready to play and try to put in a really good effort to finish the season as strong as we can here.

With your optimism for the future here, what would your message be to fan be?

I think you can tell that during the games they can see how the culture has changed around here. We're working a lot harder, we're in a lot more games, they get to see a lot of potential with the young guys. You can even notice just with the volume in the building and the excitement, I think everyone is a lot more excited this year and can see good things coming in the future.

Do you feel like it's easy for the kids to keep the intensity up with the auditions for jobs going on?

Yeah, they all work extremely hard, they all have good attitudes and they're always happy and young guys. It definitely helps me for sure, just keeping me happy and seeing them. They've been doing a great job and we've got a few games left here and we've got to play strong. Hopefully we all finish strong.

Does changing the lottery system to have an incentive to win strike you as a good idea?

Yeah, I think so. I think that would be good. It's hard to say, I haven't seen what all those guys have said. I don't know, I don't really have any ideas on what they can do. We're all competing and we all want to win and I think every team is the same way. Everyone wants to win, I don't think anyone is trying to lose. We're all trying to win and we want to win and we're going to try and win the last three games.

How do you react to talk of tanking a season?

I see where people are coming from, obviously you want the number one pick and if you lose you've got a better chance of getting it. I see what people are saying, but within our room there's not one guy in here who wants to lose. Everyone hates losing. We're going to go out there and try to win and try to win every game that we can.



2:00 PM:
Here's what Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock had to say ahead of Wednesday's game.

Leafs TV

What kind of impression has Colin Greening made on you and what do you see his role being moving forward?

Well I think we'll figure out what everyone's role is moving forward here over the next -- we've got four months, so we can get that done. As far as Greening, he's played well, he's a big body, he shoots the puck real hard. He plays simple, gets to the net, he's been good for us and he's been a good guy. We're going to evaluate our whole group and then decide on who fits best.

Do you see the benefits of having those four months coming up?

There's no question we've got lots of work to do but anybody who's hoping for a vacation at this time of the year shouldn't be in hockey. The reality is this isn't what you want. The exciting time of the year is just about ready to start, real players are going to engage here and dig in and it's going to be competitive. I hear all the time, 'It was like a playoff game.' No it wasn't. In the first round, the second round, the third round and the finals are different than anything else, a whole new animal. When you think about it you have to experience those things and, normally, even when your team is good you experience some setbacks your first couple of years at it until you learn how hard it is and how hard you've got to compete. Just because you were good in the regular season doesn't mean you're going to be hard enough to play at playoff time.

What do you know about Sam Carrick?

Just a hard guy. To tell you the truth, to me -- I only saw him much early but he's really come on and they felt he should be rewarded. Obviously we're doing what we can to set up that team for success. This is another opportunity to do that and plus we get a look at him so we know what we have.

Is there extra incentive for the guys to give back to the fans with a performance tonight?

I think what you try to do is each and every day is important and you try to give everything you can each and every day. So, for you to come to me now and say this game is more important than the last game, I don't buy that as much. I just think we should be maximizing every day. Now, have we been great every day? No, we haven't. Have we worked pretty good on most nights? I think so. Do we have more to give? For sure. Each guy is responsible for their own performance here tonight. We're going to try to be as ready as we can as a team and -- they want to do well too. Everybody wants to do well. Let's prepare and play hard.

Do you think Bozak is back to where he was prior to the injury?

That's a good question. What we've done here of late because we're playing more kids, there's more opportunity for kids. He isn't getting the same opportunity it was then. Even tonight in tonight's game without Naz, kids are getting more opportunity. With him we'll just evaluate him like anyone else at the start of next year and figure out where he's at.

Do the ideas around re-structuring the lottery to encourage teams low in the standings to win games have merit for you?

I started some talk yesterday and I want this to catch action. Teams that make the most money in the League get to spend the most money on players. I'd like to get that action going too. The rules are what they are. I coach the team.

1:30 PM: The Maple Leafs play their home finale at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Leafs are coming off of a 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday. Colin Greening scored a pair of goals while TJ Brennan added a solo tally. Jonathan Bernier made 32 saves in the loss. Garret Sparks is slated to start vs. Columbus.

The Blue Jackets last played on Monday and lost by a 4-2 score to the New York Rangers. Nick Foligno scored twice while Joonas Korpisalo made 26 stops in the loss. Sergei Bobrovsky will start against the Leafs.

Stay tuned for comments from Coach Babcock, the Leafs and projected lineups.

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