Sheldon Keefe does not like where his team's game is at right now
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Sheldon Keefe not doing himself any favours to win back the Leafs' locker room with latest comments

Published January 18, 2024 at 11:19

With their most recent collapse and a frustrating loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs have now lost 7 of their last 11 games and have now fallen all the way down into the Wild Card picture in the Eastern Conference.

For a team who was expected to come out this season and win the Atlantic Division outright, this is, quite frankly, unacceptable. Listening to Mitch Marner's comments from Tuesday's post-game media availability, you wouldn't think the players are concerned about their slump at all. However, head coach Sheldon Keefe certainly appears to be concerned, and rightfully so.

On Wednesday, Keefe addressed the media and essentially threw his team under the bus for nobody stepping up and leading the team by example. Keefe told the media that he's at a loss, as he doesn't feel that he can trust anyone in the most important moments of this recent stretch of games. Nobody's going right now, and it's a huge problem.

"Who are we going to rely on in those moments? Who's going to go out and get the job done? 42 games in, I still have a lot of questions, quite honestly, about who is going to go out and you can say for certain is going to get the job done for us."

Keefe knows that his players have it in them to take over games and hold leads to secure the win. Even though the Leafs have experienced collapse after collapse of late, losing games in which they have carried the lead very late and in disappointing fashion, we have also seen them dominate from horn to horn and whistle to whistle a number of times this season. Take the 7-0 win against Pittsburgh and, more recently, the 3-0 win against Los Angeles for example. Keefe even felt as though the Leafs have been playing fairly well in each of the last 4 games they have lost after giving up the lead.

"As much as things are intense and pressure rises in those critical moments, it's still the same game they played in the early periods to get those leads and be in control. It's there. It's in us. It's on me to continually remind them about that — but push them at the same time to find their way through this."

Keefe also told the media that he had called a meeting with the players this week to address these blown leads and late-game collapses that are costing the Leafs valuable points in the standings. He confirmed that he had sent a very blunt message to his players about finding everything within themselves to return to being the "elite regular season team" that they were last season. Let's hope that message was received.

The Leafs are in Calgary tonight to take on Brad Treliving's former Calgary Flames. With the Detroit Red Wings having passed the Leafs in the Atlantic Division standings and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils nipping at their heels in the Wild Card race, this is a must-win game for Toronto.

January 18   |   1121 answers
Sheldon Keefe not doing himself any favours to win back the Leafs' locker room with latest comments

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