If the lunchtime practice is a measure, then it will be Tomas Plekanec skating between Zach Hyman and William Nylander for the foreseeable future — the foreseeable in the NHL being the first shift of the next game, which for the Toronto Maple Leafs is in Washington Saturday night. Otherwise the Leafs’ practice after back-to-back games in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale was stay-the-course stuff, the main elements in place. The most unusual aspect of the practice was almost certainly that there was any practice at all. Leafs coach Mike Babcock is not a proponent of practice the day after two games in two nights. After practice Wednesday, he said that it wasn’t his call but rather the players’. Babcock said that they expressed a preference for having time off in Washington rather than here. Who’s he to nix it? And likewise, other than being the highest-paid coach in the league and the Leafs’ taskmaster, who’s he to shuffle stuff right now? Save for a couple of dropped points in a couple of games, things couldn’t be rosier with the team in the last 15 or 20 games. There’s a danger in overthinking it and maybe the sun has something to do with it but Babcock wasn’t looking to implement anything new or tamper much with what isn’t. Of course, when nothing changes, someone is going to be somewhat put out because on every roster there’s someone who wants more.
Leafs’ decision to move Plekanec up more bad news for Kapanen
Sportsnet | Feb 28