When the news broke last week that Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock was temporarily separating longtime linemates Nazem Kadri and Leo Komarov, Leafs Nation just about threw a parade down the middle of Yonge Street. The duo had been unproductive together for over a calendar month and, as a result, the team had struggled to string wins together. The trial separation, deemed an “experiment” by Babcock, proved to be successful after all. Kadri put up points and the Leafs won back-to-back games… funny how that works.
Today, the news coming out of Leafs practice from TSN’s Kristen Shilton may indicate that Babcock’s experiment wasn’t so temporary after all. The prickly head coach maintained that the pair would be reunited after the team’s brief two-game road trip, but at practice today Kadri remained on a line between wingers Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau. Komarov toiled on the 4th line with Dominic Moore and Kasperi Kapanen.
Oh baby… now THAT’S a lineup! Up front there’s real depth, any one of those top three lines can be counted on for offence. The fourth line, provided Komarov is motivated, could have some real bite too.
Leafs fans are just as excited about the defensive pairings, as well. It looks like FINALLY veteran Roman Polak will sit and watch the game from the press box in favour of rookies Travis Dermott, Andreas Borgman and sophomore Connor Carrick. Oh… and Nikita Zaitsev is back! Again, THAT’S a lineup!
Nothing official yet, but Leafs fans are hoping that this lineup carries over to gameday tomorrow as the Leafs prepare to take on the New York Islanders. Puck drop is 7pm tomorrow at the ACC! Go, Leafs go!