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Mike Babcock following Monday practice

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs



Mike Babcock spoke to the media before the Leafs departed for Calgary on Monday. Here's what he had to say...

Opening Remarks:

Bozak is not making the trip to start with, he's not feeling good. Matthias isn't coming on the trip to start with, he has whiplash. Lupul has a -- not a lower-body injury, not an upper-body injury -- let's call it the middle body injury, how's that? He's not coming on the trip.

On opportunities for Marlies call-ups:

There's opportunities for guys so we'll have a look at them and see how we do. Our plan obviously is pretty straightforward, we weren't very impressed with ourselves as a coaching staff or as a team, the way we played in the first eight minutes the other night. We had a day-and-a-half to prepare and the game was over eight minutes in. I don't think you do anything for your sweater or your organization or your pride or how you feel when you play like that. I know those things happen in sport, we don't want it to happen. It's real clear how we have to play with our lineup, we went through that this morning and did a system review on video before we went on the ice. We know exactly how we play, we expect to do well on the trip so let's get out there and have some fun.

Do you think the group is better positioned to avoid a drop-off like when van Riemsdyk went out?

We can't do that obviously and the other thing about it is, we were really rolling there when James was with us. Obviously we're more offensively challenged, but that doesn't mean you can't find ways to win. Play well without the puck, check real hard and compete real hard and score on your power play, stay out of the penalty box. There's lots of good ways to go about it. I think there's a real challenge for us and we're excited about doing it.

What do you look for in practice after a game like Saturday?

Well I just expect us to compete. We had a day off yesterday. Did anybody watch the Super Bowl? Did anybody see the people compete? I love the way people compete that win. It's unbelievable. To me, if you're watching at all and you're watching how hard, how important team is and how important speed on defence leads to winning. There's lots of great things we could have learned yesterday and have an off day and get back here and get refreshed. I thought our guys practiced real hard and, like I said, I thought we had a good meeting before. That's over with, let's get on with it.

What have you heard about Arcobello and what he has done with the Marlies?

He shoots it in the net. I watched the Marlies play before the Ottawa game because they were on, they were right on TV, I was done so I watched them play. He didn't play that night but he flat out shoots it in the net so I haven't seen that at this level here. We've talked about that. Leivo is a real good player down there, came here, went back down there and lit 'er up so now he gets another opportunity. Clune has been real good for us. We expect those guys to be important.

What's the biggest challenge in making the AHL/NHL transition offensively?

Well size and speed. You're not playing against trees on the back end in the American Hockey League, you're playing against regular sized people. Here you're playing against trees and they're good and they're fast and they close on you quick. Some guys are real good players at that level and don't make the adjustment, other guys can do it at both levels. That's a big part of it. There's an opportunity here. Every time you get an opportunity it's up to you. I'm dying for someone to score a goal. If you've scored in the past, you're going to get your opportunity. Do something with it.

James [Reimer in net] tomorrow?

Yeah.

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