Matthews denies rift with Babcock, wants to play with Marner more

Eliot J. Schechter / National Hockey League / Getty

Auston Matthews insists there's no tension between himself and head coach Mike Babcock.

"Our relationship is fine," the Toronto Maple Leafs star told reporters, including Sportsnet's Chris Johnston, at the club's dressing-room clean-out session Friday.

Matthews was presumably asked about it because Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos speculated Thursday morning that Babcock lost trust in Matthews down the stretch.

The 20-year-old center said that notion is totally untrue and that the media will speculate as they choose, adding that he wasn't pleased when he heard it being floated, according to TSN's Kristen Shilton.

On another note, Matthews acknowledged he doesn't make the lineup decisions but said he'd like to play with Mitch Marner more in the future, per Johnston.

Marner echoed that sentiment, according to NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger.

Matthews spent much of the season alongside Zach Hyman and William Nylander, ultimately finishing up the series against the Boston Bruins primarily alongside Hyman and Connor Brown.

Marner and Matthews played a total of 72:46 together at 5-on-5 over 62 games in the regular season, posting a 61.64 Scoring Chances For percentage and a 48.57 Corsi For percentage.

They played together for 11:28 across the Leafs' seven first-round playoff games, compiling a 54.55 Scoring Chances For percentage and a Corsi For rate of exactly 50 percent at 5-on-5.

(Analytics courtesy: Natural Stat Trick)

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Matthews denies rift with Babcock, wants to play with Marner more
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