Mike Babcock turned to the media on Monday ahead of the 7th, discussing the end of the series series in Boston, three peaceful games by Mitch Marner, the possibility of contributing Jake Gardiner and John Tavares in the series.
Your team had a good success refusing after the losses in the series. What do we need to finish them tomorrow?
Babcock: I think it's the same thing as in other games. The men, apart from the end of the game and at the beginning, were better than us. They were faster and they played better. We have to respond and be better. I thought we started really well, and then for any reason, whether we were tight or frustrated, we did not skip for 30 minutes as we could or did as we could and we were in trouble. The conclusion is that tomorrow we have to be better. This is an opportunity for our hockey club. We look forward to that.
How can Mitch Marner create some more insults? He just got one chance in three matches.
Babcock: I think Mitch's biggest thing is that you are playing against really good players. Just breathe. Do not spend a lot of time worrying about what everyone else thinks. Just breathe in and play and enjoy. When he was a kid, he was probably playing road hockey, and at this time of year, whoever scored the winning goal the night before … Be the same. Just go out and play.
You made Jake Gardiner easier in this series and returned after the injury. What do you think, how did he go in the series?
Babcock: I think the Gards are good for us in the fact that they can still move. Obviously, he's hurt and it's pretty easy to see when you're watching. But today I've been talking to him and we should be good for us and easy. It does not play against the same games it used to be, but just be easy and be safe. When you get on the offensive blue line, be alone.
What kind of adjustments do you want to see in the sentence?
Babcock: Well, we can not let him in. I think the biggest thing is when you get the bad thing to get passivity instead of just gas. Let's go. We put pressure on them. One goal was immediately removed from the face and bounced off. Get you on the heels. And then we were passive to the next. They have good players, so do not be passive. Let's go for them. I thought we really did play the game the last time we were in Boston. We plan to do the same.
In NHL and at the Olympic level you were in one-game situations. How realistic can you control the situation in one game?
Babcock: I think you can control your preparation. I mean, before this series, I do not think anyone is really surprised. Before the series, when you've looked at the teams, these are good teams in NHL. I do not think there is much to give. By saying this, that would be a great opportunity for our team. I think you enjoy the situation. Enjoy being in it, but you have to play good detail. You have to play the way we should play and watch out for, and then you have the chance to be successful. I think that's what it's all about. You want to be in this situation and you want to be on your way. It should be fun.
You have thousands of fans who are really worried at this time based on the past years. What do you say to your fans?
Babcock: I do not worry much about it. When I walked around Yorkville, I hear people will be … They were great last night. "Let's take them to Boston." Everyone, including our fans, wanted to win yesterday. But our fans … I mean, I live in town and walk around. They are pretty blown and want us to be successful. We want to be successful for them. The game will be played on ice. We have to do it.
You obviously want to stick to what has given you success, but in game 7 do you start to risk or try different things?
Babcock: No. 100% Contrary to it. But I appreciate the help.
When you brought John Tears, did you think he could be the creator of the difference and make a difference on that stage?
Babcock: I would say that he is the creator of the difference and that our team has become better. It's great for us all the way to the end. He plays against good players and I think he was great in this series. It does not differ from what we talked about Mitch, the same goes for John. Be outside, be free and drive, and do what you are doing. You play against good players who are difficult to compete against you. There will be something to give. Make sure this is your way.