Mike Babcock sits at the other end of the briefing room, looking cautiously excited, like a kid playing with his older brother’s Transformers. The Leafs, desperate to make the playoffs for the first time since Auston Matthews 7th birthday, have managed to trade their one card (Matthews, currently on a pace to score 328 goals this season) in exchange for some of the Blue Jays current mojo. And possibly Russell’s Martins’ ability to catch things with a glove from behind a moving screen.
It’s an audacious plan that few are sure whether or not to take seriously, or even finish reading a detailed but likely fabricated account of. As is evidenced by the questions thrown out by the scrum of reporters gathered in the ACC this noon hour.
“What are you even talking about?”
“Can Russell Martin skate?”
“Or Matthews run?”
“Who signed off on this?”
“How is Matthews going to play a late afternoon baseball game in Cleveland and then make it to Toronto for a 7:00 PM puck drop? It’s a six hour drive, or a five hour flight by the time you factor in arriving with three hours to spare for an international journey. And what about Russell Martin? It’s an entirely different set of pads, that’s going to take time too. Have you thought about any of this.”
“Guys, guys,” Shanahan breaks in, trying unsuccessfully to pull both a serious face and a ‘Take October’ t-shirt on over his suit jacket, nearly knocking off a hurriedly taped on Leafs logo, which is covering that of the Blue Jays. “Don’t overthink it. Just let it be beautiful.”