Mike Babcock is hoping to get the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1967, but after being uncharacteristically philosophical and protective in first two seasons with Toronto, the 54-year-old bench boss has started being more critical of his young club.

Known for being a taskmaster and relentlessly pushing players to play the game the way he wants, Babcock kept his hard-driving critique mostly in check while the Leafs were rebuilding, but after making the playoffs and adding veterans Patrick Marleau, Ron Hainsey and Dominic Moore this summer, expectations have gone up for the Leafs.

"The big message is you come out of three days of camp, you thought everything went real good,” Babcock said after a 6-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Sept. 18. “But it just goes to show you as a head coach in the NHL, that you should live scared every day, (because) a disaster is coming next."

With Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Connor Brown, Nikita Zaitsev and Mitch Marner entering their sophomore season, Babcock has begun to show less tolerance of the youthful mistakes they made as rookies.