“Harpur did his job for us. I was impressed with him”
Those were Mike Babcock‘s words, used to describe the performance of Ben Harpur in what was the defenceman’s first game as a Maple Leaf. In a shocking twist, those who had just watched the exact same contest as Babock declined to share in the sentiment. They had every reason not to, frankly.
Even with the caveat of the preseason, Harpur appeared every bit as lost in a Leafs uniform on Wednesday as he did in the 103 games he previously spent as a Senator. Those blemishes weren’t exactly subtle, either. In fact, they were on full display.
Harpur’s litany of red flags — the flat-footedness, the inability to complete an outlet pass, the repeated lapses in net-front coverage, etc. — have now successfully followed him from Ottawa to Toronto. In roughly 11 minutes of ice time, Harpur looked less like an NHL calibre defenceman and more in line with someone struggling to keep up with the modern game — a battle of which Harpur assuredly is on the losing end.
Nevertheless, Babcock was impressed. Enough to publically offer his praise, even. The highest-paid coach in the sport enjoyed a front-row …
Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation