With a five day break on the horizon for the Toronto Maple Leafs, head coach Mike Babcock wants to ensure that the team’s mind isn’t elsewhere as they prepare for tomorrow’s home game against the Ottawa Senators. Once they’re done with the Sens, the team is off on a league-mandated bye week and won’t play again until Tuesday the 16th against the St. Louis Blues.
“The first message we do is make sure everyone has their trip organized today,” said the Leafs’ bench boss. “So that when the game is on tomorrow you haven’t already left [mentally], so that you’re focused on getting the points. We need the points.”
After winning two straight over the Vancouver Cancuks and San Jose Sharks, the Leafs dropped a 3-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. All three games required extra time, an indication that the team has been playing some tight hockey as of late. Could such a long break have an adverse effect on the young team? Forward Nazem Kadri certainly doesn’t think so saying, “Hopefully we can go away and get some positive energy. Catch some sun because there hasn’t been too much here in Toronto, it’s something that you can really feel energize the group when we all come back.”
About that sun… maybe pack a pair of skates because Babcock is hoping that his players will find the time to fit in some workouts during the week, saying:
“I want them to all take their skates to the Bahamas and find some ice, but you and I both know that won’t happen.”
A quick scan of Google shows no ice rinks in the Bahamas, but they DO have a roller skating rink! No word yet on whether or not that will meet Babcock’s criteria…