Sheldon Keefe looking on from behind the bench
Photo credit: Daily Faceoff

Former NHLer fires shot at the Maple Leafs for powerplay fiasco

Published March 18, 2024 at 8:24

There are a lot of unwritten rules in sports and a lot of them are archaic in nature. In basketball, you're never supposed to run up the score in the final seconds of a game. In football, you're supposed to kneel down to end the game, letting the clock run out without actually making a play. In baseball, you're not supposed to admire your homerun with a long stare and slow trot around the bases.

Hockey has a few unwritten rules of its own and it seems like the Toronto Maple Leafs broke one of them last week. In their 6-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, Sheldon Keefe decided to put the first unit of his lethal power play on the ice with less than 3 minutes to play. Flyers assistant coach, Rocky Thompson, took offence to Keefe's decision and decided to give him an earful from the opposing bench. The first unit didn't last all too long and Keefe eventually brought out his bottom-6 players to finish things off.

Keefe explained that he wanted to give certain players a rest since they were very tired and that he has a team to manage and a bench to take of care. Regardless, his decision technically broke one of the unwritten rules in hockey where you don't bring out your top power play performers in a game that is out of reach. Some were okay with the decision, some mocked the Flyers for being upset, while another faction agreed that it was out of line. Former NHLer and analyst on TSN, Aaron Ward falls into the latter category:

"Just FYI. @Canes up 7-2 on @Senators with 3 mins left, get a power play, and Brind'amour sends out the 4th line first. I'll just leave that there. Talk amongst yourselves."

His tweet was a direct shot towards the Maple Leafs and how they handled their business on Thursday. In fact, it became a bigger story than it actually should've been but it took the hockey world by storm. Ward, a former Hurricanes player as well, enjoyed the fact that his former team followed the unwritten rule and acknowledged in further comments that he was just trying to point out to "one NHL team fanbase" how things should be done.

March 18   |   565 answers
Former NHLer fires shot at the Maple Leafs for powerplay fiasco

Did Keefe break an unwritten rule?

Yes, it's been around for a very long time14926.4 %
No, he can do whatever he wants as head coach28149.7 %
Yes, but they shouldn't have taken the penalty13523.9 %
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