The Toronto Maple Leafs played a hard-fought battle against a very good San Jose Sharks team that has had their number for many years, and aside from the beard-ripping storyline, one thing that went a bit under the radar was Leo Komarov's ice time.
It's been rather elevated this season, inexplicably so.
James Mirtle of The Athletic outlined this in a recent article, it was revealed that Komarov's 24+ minutes on Thursday night was the 55th highest number of minutes for any forward on any team in a National Hockey League game all season.
It was the most any Toronto player has played all season, and it raised the question - why did Mike Babcock choose to use Komarov this much?
The question was asked at a press conference following practice this morning, and the answer leaves some confusion.
The quote suggests that he thinks the numbers are wrong - that Komarov did not actually play that much last night. The numbers probably don't lie though, and what this indicates instead, is that Babcock is genuinely unaware of just how much he's been using the Finnish forward lately.
That's mildly concerning when you think about the fact that Komarov has been given way too much priority on the ice, when the team needs to score goals and he doesn't provide them. True - the Leafs were shorthanded a lot on Thursday and he's one of their most utilized penalty killers. But the stats show that he isn't necessarily as effective as one would think, and there's a lack of justification for how much usage he's getting.
It begs the question, is Babcock actually unaware of his player usage?