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Some are calling for Sheldon Keefe's job; here's one scenario in which it makes sense to fire him


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Dean Chaudhry
December 4, 2023  (8:56)
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This is prefaced by the notion that 1) the Tampa Bay Lightning actually fire their long-standing and 2-time Stanley Cup champion bench boss and 2) that the Toronto Maple Leafs would have the stones to not only fire Sheldon Keefe mid-season, but be confident enough to believe that they can replace him with Jon Cooper.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are finally in a free-fall after what has been a decade of superior and dominant hockey. Stanley Cup champions generally have to gut their rosters after a trip to the finals and the Lightning have also had to contend with a stagnant cap and COVID-interruptions. Still, they have managed to largely stand the test of time with their core intact.
Jon Cooper has been the head coach of the Lightning since 2013. He sports a 490-260-72 record in the regular season, 86-59 in the post-season, has 2 Stanley Cups to his name, 4 trips to the finals, another 2 trips to the Conference Finals, and 9 post-season runs in total.
The 2023-24 Lightning are currently 10-10-5, mired in a 4-game losing streak, just got shellacked by the Dallas Stars by a score of 8-1, and don't possess the same potent depth that propelled them to multiple championships. Their top guys are still producing but it stops there.
It's no secret that coaches also have a shelf life and once you pass the 3-4 year threshold with the same group, sometimes your words fall on deaf ears. The passion disappears, the drive is no more, and the coach becomes the black sheep. The Lightning are an aging group, they've got a lot of games under their legs, and their lineup has been shredded to pieces in the last few seasons.
The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, are almost in a similar position as Keefe entered the season as the 8th longest tenured coach in the league and was almost out of job after their most recent playoff failure. Things haven't been easy for Keefe this season either, but the Maple Leafs have done just enough to stay afloat with the other contenders.
If the Lightning, who are currently outside of the playoff picture decided to part ways with Cooper, the Maple Leafs should be the first team working the phones to bring him into the fold, even if that means that Keefe becomes a casualty. The Leafs haven't done anything spectacular or special in the post-season during his tenure and if there is anybody that can change the culture on a whim, it's someone who has advanced to the Conference Finals 6 times in an 8-year span.
When the Leafs and Kyle Dubas parted ways in the off-season, the organization should have gutted the rest of main staff members and let Brad Treliving set up shop. Keefe is by no means a bad head coach, but how many more seasons and playoff failures do we have to watch to understand that there's something wrong with the philosophy and the system in place?
A new voice could bring about new horizons and with the Maple Leafs possessing some of the most lethal firepower in the NHL, they need a head coach who can get the best out of every single one of them and Cooper is that guy. Whether or not he actually becomes available is the first question. The second is would he even want the job?
POLL
DECEMBER 4   |   906 ANSWERS
Some are calling for Sheldon Keefe's job; here's one scenario in which it makes sense to fire him

If Jon Cooper suddenly became available, would you want the Leafs to fire Sheldon Keefe and pursue him?

Absolutely72580 %
No, stay the course18120 %
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