Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock met with the Toronto media this morning following the team’s optional skate at MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke where only three Leafs took to the ice. Surprisingly, injured Leafs forward Leo Komarov was among those taking part.
Komarov was joined by backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney and forward William Nylander:
This has led to speculation that Komarov, who has missed most of the series against the Leafs’ first round series against the Boston Bruins with a lower body injury, might make his return to the lineup for Game 7 in Boston. Babcock addressed the speculation saying, “Komarov is ready to return,” but that he (Babcock) hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll play yet in Game 7.
According to TSN’s Kristen Shilton:
Mike Babcock says Leo Komarov is in a position where he would be available for #Leafs in Game 7. But Babcock hasn't made a decision on that yet, says game is going fast out there and Komarov hasn't played in a bit. So we'll see tomorrow what happens.
What’s your take, Leafs fans? Could the Leafs use a bit of Komarov’s abrasiveness on the fourth line? Or is it best to stick with a winning lineup? While they didn’t exactly produce on the scoresheet, the speed of Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen on the Leafs’ fourth line has given the Bruins some trouble the past few games. Komarov can’t deliver that kind of speed, but he does bring some nastiness to the lineup, something the Leafs could use in the hostile confines of TD Garden.
Again, no official word yet on whether or not Komarov will play tomorrow. But expect the media to hound Babcock tomorrow morning in advance of Game 7. One thing's for sure, we're willing to bet that Bruins forward Brad Marchand is looking forward to seeing his old friend Komarov once again.
After the "licking" that he put on Komarov in Game 1 of the series, there's some unfinished business between the NHL's two biggest, most annoying agitators.
This begs the age old question, "how many licks does it take to get to the center of Leo Komarov?"