HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK
On the team’s ability to match up physically with Washington: I thought that part was good. There was a lot of penalties, wasn’t there? … It was a hard game that way to play. You sit there for a while on the penalty kill and then you’re not getting out on that, then you get out there, you get a good run and then we get multiple power plays. I thought both teams clogged it up real good. I thought both teams made it hard, it was hard to get the puck to the net. I think partway through the game I looked up and there was like eight shots or something like that. There wasn’t much going on. It was a competitive game. We needed to find a way to win the game, I thought we’d get through when we got through the kill [in overtime] and obviously, we took another one there on that high stick. It’s unfortunate because I thought we did a real nice job on the PK.
On Muzzin’s status: He’s injured, but it’s not his knee or nothing. He’s got a charley horse. I don’t know what that means, though. I don’t know the timeline on that. Obviously, he’s a good player for us, an important player for us. I thought Holl stepped up and played real well.
On what Ovechkin had to say about the team this morning: Well, I don’t know if he’s wrong. I think he knows because he lived it. If you look at Steve Yzerman, he lived it. A lot of guys live it until they’re 30. You’ve got to decide whether you wait until you’re 30 or do you want to figure it out now? It’s the ultimate team game and you’ve got to sacrifice individual rights for team rights. I say it all the time, it’s the two points in the game and it has nothing to do with the points you get yourself. It’s a process for young guys. Everybody in Toronto is in a rush all the time. I get it but that’s not pro sport; not really. You’ve got to keep building and building and building and steady on the rudder, keep going through things. Matchups, learning to play with the lead, learning how to be patient and not turn the puck over, shift length – all the things that you’re just a good player and you haven’t had to deal with, you’ve got to deal with it if you want to win in the National Hockey League. Look at the age of St. Louis. That’s just the reality of the situation. One thing about it is it gets your attention – it hurts your feelings probably a little bit.
On if hearing that type of message means more from someone like Ovechkin: Well, he knows. He lived it. He was the guy. Then he figured out, ‘This is what we’ve got to do to win.’ I mean, that’s why when he sees us – we talked about this last year: fun to watch going 100 miles an hour. You’ve got to learn how to play right.
On Ovechkin referring to mistakes that were later made by the team in tonight’s game: He’s just talking about running and gunning and not being able to play – the bottom line is you’ve got to keep it out of your net. You’re not outscoring anybody at playoff time. You’ve got to out-defend and then your skill comes to the forefront. That’s what he’s talking about. Is that not a fair assessment? It hurts my feelings; I can tell you that. I’m the coach, I’m supposed to get all this organized. But we know this. We’re working towards it every day. We’re talking about it every single day. Just because you’re talking about it doesn’t mean it’s going to change right away. Sometimes it’s just life lessons. But, in saying all that, we think we’re in the right process, we think we’ve got good people and we think we’re going in the right direction.
On the effectiveness of Tom Wilson: You know, [Wilson] played there in Plymouth and I saw him lots as a junior. When he first got to the NHL, I thought they wrecked this kid, they got him here too soon. He’s turned himself – he can play with good players, he’s good talent, he’s mean, he’s hard, he’s physical, he’s a factor, but he can play in your top six. Not many guys like that.
TYSON BARRIE (1 ASSIST)
On tonight’s performance: Yeah, I think we played hard tonight. Obviously, you know, we give up one in overtime. We fought hard to get there and, you know, anytime you give a team like that four straight minutes on the power play they’ll make you pay. So, it’s a bit disappointing but it’s a big point to get.
On if Tom Wilson hits players or runs players: I think he does – I think he finishes checks sometimes and I think sometimes it’s definitely on the line. He plays hard. He’s one of those guys, he’s got a track record, meaning he kind of toes the line but, you know, obviously, he got a charging penalty there so he came a little bit hot.
TRAVIS DERMOTT (12:56 TOI)
On how he feels after making his season debut: It was okay. I felt happy with my game, more or less. I made a couple mistakes that I expected myself to make but a couple of good things. I got my feet underneath of me, got to feel the speed of the game again, got to feel a few hits to get the confidence going with my shoulder. Overall, I don’t think I can take too many negatives. Obviously, we want the two points – that’s the end result we’re looking for. Other than that, on a personal note, I’m not too upset with how I performed tonight.
On the emotions he felt tonight: Anxious before the game. Just wanted to get things going. Really excited just to be here, be in front of the fans. Being able to come out for our home fans instead of being away, so that’s really nice. Just kind of excited to get my feet underneath of me. I think I’ve been waiting for that for a really long time. It’s weird, I’ve played this game my whole life but you almost forget what to expect out there until the first couple of shifts go by, you’re thinking and you’re overthinking. I don’t know, it’s weird – you can’t psych yourself into it. You have to take the first two shifts by storm and play from there.
MITCH MARNER (1 ASSIST)
On his penalty in overtime and Ovechkin’s game winner: I saw an opportunity to try and lift his stick and as soon as I went for it, he moved his stick off to the side. Thinking about it I probably should have left him to Ceci or someone else who had him on a 1-on-1 sort of play. I was just trying to help and unfortunately got him in the face. Holl had two massive blocks there and then unfortunately the third one goes.
On the club’s compete level tonight: I thought we stayed patient with it, there were a lot of power plays and penalties. I think it was hard to get in the groove for some guys. I thought as a group we stayed patient with it, we didn’t force too many things, we came back, we were helping each other out and talking and getting out of our zone pretty quickly. It’s just unfortunate how it ended.
AUSTON MATTHEWS (2 GOALS, 1 ASSIST)
On tonight’s game: I thought we competed well. I thought we got off to a good start. Obviously, important for us to score the first goal there. We played a good hockey team on either side, lots of penalties both ways, forced an OT and then, obviously, a couple penalties in overtime. It kind of cost us because we can’t really get guys out there. But, I mean, overall, I thought we competed well tonight.
On if it’s challenging to get momentum when there are so many penalties: A little bit. I mean, I think it helps when you capitalize on those power plays, I think it gives you a little bit of momentum, a little bit of a jump and we didn’t really capitalize on one until the third period. So, it was a pretty big goal, but when you get that many power plays – obviously, we gave up some power plays as well – it kind of takes you out of rhythm.
MORGAN RIELLY (1 ASSIST, 33:16 TOI)
On losing Muzzin to injury tonight: Yeah, it’s tough, obviously, when someone goes down, but I thought we did a good job of managing it. All in all, I think there were good things done. Obviously, you don’t want to lose with that end result but it is what it is. So, we’ll talk about it tomorrow, we’ll watch some video and try to get better from it.
On what wasn’t working for the power play tonight: You know, I can’t really remember, there were a lot of them. I think that we got chances. We got a goal which was important at the time and I thought the breakout was okay, the exits were okay. I can’t really remember a lot of specifics about it to be honest with you. We’ll watch it tomorrow and probably work on it in practice and that’s an area we want to improve on.