It’s one day before the Toronto Maple Leafs embark on another postseason. Usually the focus would be set on studying a 1st round opponent, or polishing areas of need. Usually it wouldn’t necessarily be set on major roster decisions.
It may not even be a decision, but the Leafs still aren’t quite sure who will be the backup goalie when Game 1 against the Boston Bruins goes Thursday.
You would hope that the backup goalie would be the one player dressed that never sees the ice, but as hockey fans know the starter getting pulled or an injury could make the backup one of the most important players in the game. For the Leafs, that player will (almost definitely) be either Michael Hutchinson or Garret Sparks.
Hutch would likely be the decision if it were up to the Leafs, but it may not be.
Yup, Hutch is having a kid and the delivery may be happening at an inopportune time for the netminder. Sparks, who has been sent on a 10-day program to try and correct his struggling game, is the next option, but the team doesn’t seem comfortable with him between the pipes just yet. In fact, he himself was open about the struggles and how they have affected him.
Mike Babcock touched on the situation as well, relaying a calm attitude, but also that he has no idea who will be suiting up less than 24 hours later.
What it comes down to is when Hutch becomes available, but Sparks joined the team in Boston. Needless to say, the confusing situation doesn’t necessarily sit well with Leafs fans that are looking to avoid another 1st round exit at the hands of one of their biggest rivals in the Bruins.
(H/T Toronto Maple Leafs, Kristen Shilton)