Keefe suggests major lineup changes possible for tonight's game

Ryan Smitheram
March 28, 2024  (9:26)

Sheldon Keefe looking on intently during a game
Photo credit: NHL

Following practice on Monday, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe surprised many when he announced that Morgan Rielly and Joel Edmundson were "day-to-day", nursing injuries, and that Edmundson likely wouldn't play the rest of the week. Tuesday, the Leafs played an "immature" game according to Keefe and Auston Matthews and were scheduled to hold a full practice yesterday.

As practice was about to begin, it was announced that instead of a full practice it was going to be a skills session instead as there were limited attendees. When asked about the sudden change in practice structure, Keefe revealed that a number of players are banged up and nursing some bumps and bruises.
"We were mindful of the fact that we just played three games in four nights, but quite frankly, we had a few players that I expected to be available for practice today that played last night that were not available for practice today," Keefe said. "All of a sudden, our numbers were real light and many of the things I wanted to do today were not going to be possible with less people. So I felt if it was going to be more of a flowing type practice then we can do that tomorrow morning and capitalize on the rest here today."

In his explanation for the sudden change in practice structure, Keefe suggested that there could be a vastly different lineup for tonight's game against the Washington Capitals.
"We think [some] just needed the day and then some that we'll have to see where we're at tomorrow. Both the guys that played last night and those that didn't, Morgan (Rielly) specifically," Keefe said. "But yeah, we'll just have to see where we're at tomorrow with a couple things to settle."

Keefe's comments suggest that although Morgan Rielly was a game-time decision Tuesday night, he could miss his second straight game, meaning that his injury is more bothersome than initially thought. The Leafs' plan on practicing this morning ahead of tonight's game against Washington, and as Keefe said, they'll go from there.
Following the Tampa Bay Lightning's win last night, the Leafs will need to play one of their best games of the season tonight regardless as the Bolts are now just two points back for third in the Atlantic Division.
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Keefe suggests major lineup changes possible for tonight's game

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