Leafs head coach may have just taken a shot at a recently traded winger

Scott Rowe
March 3, 2023  (1:39 PM)

The new look Maple Leafs visited the desperate Calgary Flames on Thursday evening and came away with two points in a tightly contested 2-1 victory. Following the win, there were some interesting quotes from Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe during his post game press conference.

"Guys defended really hard. Once we had the lead, I thought we just protected our net well. Looking at some of the plays where we advanced pucks, we took some real hard hits tonight in that third period to advance the play.

That is what it takes. Acciari and Lafferty were two players who stood out to me for really contesting pucks on the wall to get those out. That is what it takes to win. That is why you acquire those guys. The puck is in question on the wall, you know you are going to take a big hit, and the puck advances. It gets out.

Those are the kinds of things that help you win. I thought O'Reilly was a clinic in the third period in terms of taking care of the game and helping get the win."

-Keefe on the win over CGY and the performances of some of the team's newly-acquired players

These comments really seem to tell the whole story for Keefe, who clearly likes the compete level of his new players, but possibly takes a shot here at the recently traded Pierre Engvall. Engvall has been much maligned during his time as a Leaf, mostly due to his unwillingness to throw a body check and to play along the wall. Although fast and defensively responsible, his play would consistently leave fans frustrated that the 6'5 220 lb winger, never played like the hulking forward that he is.
Dubas and Keefe seem to be on the same page as Engvall was shipped to Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders this past Tuesday for a 3rd round pick. Toronto is now adding players with the will and drive to win, committing to playing a strong game and working along the walls, something that seems to be missing from Engvall's game.
Physicality only ramps up in the playoffs and it is now clear that both Dubas and Keefe are aware of this. Grit and determination, especially in bottom six, has finally been prioritized. Keefe now has the type of players he values, so it's now on him and the players to develop their identity and finally push through and exorcise the Leafs' playoff demons.
MARCH 3   |   1506 ANSWERS
Leafs head coach may have just taken a shot at a recently traded winger

Do you think Keefe was taking a shot at Engvall here?

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