Hey everybody, I’m back with a look at how the Leafs have fared without Komarov in the lineup and the adjustments Babcock has made since. Even though it feels a lot longer to me, it was just 10 days ago when he got beat down by that big bully William Nylander (insert sarcasm sign) and sent him off the ice with a sore knee. 🙂
Now before I started writing this I would have thought for sure that Johnsson got called up AFTER Leo’s injury but he wasn’t. It was the day before to play against Dallas on March 14th. To be honest I was pretty excited to see him get a chance. I heard so many good things about him with the Marlies.
After playing that game, I thought that he didn’t really stand out and didn’t do anything to keep him in the lineup. I just figured it could be chalked up to first game jitters and he really didn’t get to play that much anyway. He also got banged up by Radulov so that could have thrown him off. Anyway, I digress. All that really has nothing to do with Komarov being out, just thought I would look into Johnsson’s first game with the Leafs. I think this kid’s a keeper.
So back to big brutish Billy Nylander taking out his own player. The following game after the injury was against the Habs. Johnsson got another chance to get in the lineup and he was on a line with Hyman and Nylander. He looked pretty good. They also put Moore on Plekanec’s wing (which looked weird to me but whatever) and Johnsson got his first goal as the Leafs beat the Habs 4-0. So they didn’t seem to miss Leo in this game. But it was the Habs so…..
The following game was vs Tampa. It seems that Leivo took Komarov’s spot, and they kept Johnsson in the top 6. Did I mention that I like this kid?
Anyway, as we all know, the Leafs blew a 3-0 lead against one of the top teams in the league to lose 4-3. Would it have made a difference to have Leo in the lineup to preserve a lead? Maybe. Maybe not. In this case I would say no, mostly because of how the goals were scored. And as much aas some people freaked out over the blown lead, if you think about it, it’s usually the Leafs that win come from behind games. You have to lose one once in a while. It’s just the way life works sometimes.
The following game was vs Nashville. Matthews is back. Neither one of Martin, Moore or Leivo are in the lineup so it appears that Johnsson is taking Komarov’s spot.
Did the team miss Leo when they kicked Nashville’s ASS??!! Not at all.
Now to the most recent game vs the Red Wings. According to the lineup, it’s Johnsson in Komarov’s spot again. I’m seeing a pattern here.
The Leafs won 4-3. So I would say in the greater scheme of things, they didn’t need Leo in this game either. Considering it was the Red Wings however, they should have had an easier time of it, but it what it is. A young team that either plays up or down to its competition almost every game.
What would I do?
Well, If I was Babcock, (muahahahahaha) and I’m seeing how well Johnsson is playing in Leo’s absence, I let Komarov take his time and heal up as much as he can. Let Johnsson get in a couple more games.
Right now we’re at 10 days since the injury. The media was saying Leo would be out about 2 weeks. Maybe give him at least two more games off then get in a couple of games before the playoffs.
BECAUSE, when the playoffs start, I’m DEFINITELY putting Komarov in instead of Johnsson for defensive reasons. Boston is most likely who the Leafs will play and they are chippy. Between Marchand, backes, Chara, and a few others, you need Leo in there to grind it out with them. You need a guy with more experience in playoff situations. If the Leafs were playing Tampa, I would think harder about putting Johnsson in the lineup but would probably still go with Leo.
If I’m Babcock, I sit down with Johnsson and let him know that he’s going to the Marlies for the playoffs and if there’s an injury to a winger, he’s most likely going to be the first one called up to play. Leivo and Martin will continue to sit all things remaining equal. Let him play the next two games against Buffalo and Florida. If Leo’s healthy, give him the last two, yes you read that right, the last two game of the season against the Islanders and Winnipeg.
So to answer my question, should they keep Komarov out even when he’s healthy? Well if he’s healthy enough to play in the next two games, my answer would be yes. However, try to make sure he gets at least two games in before the playoffs. I’m sure Leo and Turlteneck will love interacting with Brad Marchand in the playoffs!!