With the Toronto Maple Leafs’ latest loss to the Detroit Red Wings this past Friday, it’s official… the Leafs are in a slump. The team has dropped three in a row and, frankly, have looked bad in doing so.
Maybe it’s the absence of superstar Auston Matthews, who has been out of the lineup the past few games with a mysterious “upper body injury”, or maybe there’s something more to it? In his latest article for Sportsnet, writer Sean McIndoe, better known by his online alias of Down Goes Brown asks the question, “Is Babcock to blame for the Leafs’ slump?”
No doubt that some of Babcock’s lineup decisions as of late have caused some division amongst the Leafs’ fanbase. The latest seems to be his insistence on playing veteran forward Leo Komarov so much. From McIndoe:
The current flashpoint is Leo Komarov, the 30-year-old winger with just one point at even strength on the year (excluding empty netters) who nevertheless keeps getting more ice time than just about all the forwards. Meanwhile, guys like William Nylander watch from the bench.
Fair point. Ditto for Babcock’s insistence on playing Roman Polak, as well. For a team starved for offence, does it make sense to play Komarov and Polak so many minutes? How about getting more ice time for players who can skate and move the puck like Nylander or Connor Carrick?