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One Leafs star may be in the press box next game, if Keefe's comments ring true


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Dean Chaudhry
December 31, 2023  (10:06)
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Leafs winger Mitch Marner
Photo credit: NHL

After another disappointing and rather embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Toronto Maple Leafs returned home to face the Carolina Hurricanes on the second half of a back-to-back last night with a much more confident goaltender patrolling the blue paint in Martin Jones.

With Ilya Samsonov falling further into the abyss on Friday, Jones played a relatively strong game against the Hurricanes last night, stopping 27 of the 29 shots fired his way, but thanks to a pair of blunders by Mitch Marner, the Leafs never had a chance to come back in this one.
The elusive playmaker might not have directly handed the Hurricanes the game tonight, but his late tripping minor with 4:15 remaining in regulation coupled with his awful giveaway at 6-on-5 with the net empty helped Carolina seal the deal.
The penalty itself didn't directly lead to a goal like his interception did but it certainly did quell the momentum that the Leafs had been building late in the game - and Marner knew it. Thankfully, the Leafs successfully killed off the minor against a red-hot Hurricanes power play, but when Marner made an ill-advised cross-ice pass to William Nylander, Sebastian Aho had a read the entire way through and picked it off easily and skated back up the ice to bury one in the empty net.
Nick Robertson scored with 10 seconds left to bring the Maple Leafs back to within 1 goal but it was too little too late as they dropped their 3rd game in 4 days since coming out of the Christmas break. Marner will wear a lot of this one, I'm sure.
What will be interesting to see here is how Keefe handles Marner's costly late blunders. Last night, he sat David Kampf in the press box for less and preached that there would be "less tolerance" for costly mistakes moving forward. Since Marner made two of them in short order at the end of a game, I'd imagine that Keefe will consider giving Marner the night off on January 2nd to remain consistent with his message. If he doesn't, perhaps there are bigger problems in Toronto than we thought.
POLL
31 DECEMBRE   |   1479 ANSWERS
One Leafs star may be in the press box next game, if Keefe's comments ring true

Should Mitch Marner spend a game in the press box for his error, like David Kampf was forced to do last night?

Yes, that was a horrible stretch to end the game77352.3 %
No, we don't need $10.9M in the press box.43029.1 %
Demote him to the 2nd or 3rd line for a game27618.7 %
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