A rift appears to be forming between Sheldon Keefe and one of his top players

Mike Armenti
December 30, 2023  (2:57 PM)

Sheldon Keefe may be losing the Leafs' locker room
Photo credit: NHL

Throughout the course if an 82-game season, I don't think anyone is going to agree with their coach 100% of the time. Players and coaches are bound to have disagreements, and sometimes they're more public than maybe either side would have liked them to be.

Last night, during the Leafs' 6-5 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, we caught a glimpse of Sheldon Keefe attempting to explain something to one of his top players, William Nylander. It quickly became clear that whatever message Keefe was trying to send went in one ear and out the other as Nylander had completely tuned out his coach.
The Leafs Nation's Nick Alberga shared this clip last night and his take on Keefe's attempts to reach Nylander just says it all:
Nylander, in the past, has openly stated that sometimes he needs to be pushed and Sheldon Keefe has done a good job of pushing Nylander to be better in the past. However, this time around, Nylander looks like he couldn't possibly be any less interested in anything Keefe was trying to tell him, completely ignoring his coach. Is this a sign of a rift between the coach and the players? Maybe.
Over the past few seasons, Keefe was able to get a lot out of his players, and while that still remains true, to a point, there's no question that something isn't quite right in Toronto right now. The Leafs are struggling as much as ever against the league's bottom-feeders and the players appear to be tuning Keefe and the rest of the coaching staff out. Yes, Matthews is scoring at a lethal pace and yes, William Nylander is on pace to break 100 points for the first time in his career, but there is a lot wrong with this current Leafs team and you don't need a microscope to see it.
30 DECEMBRE   |   1363 ANSWERS
A rift appears to be forming between Sheldon Keefe and one of his top players

Do you think Sheldon Keefe has lost the locker room in Toronto?

Yes112782.7 %
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