Marner, Nylander and Keefe address the heated exchange on the bench

Mike Armenti
April 28, 2024  (9:46)

Matthews and Marner exchange words on the bench
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Sheldon Keefe have officially addressed the bench argument between Marner, Nylander and Auston Matthews in the 2nd period of last night's frustrating Game 4.

With the Leafs down 3-0 in the 2nd period to the Boston Bruins in a very important Game 4, tensions appeared to boil over on the bench, with Matthews, Marner and Nylander exchanging words and gestures that everyone could see were heated.
When the 3rd frame began, there were some notable changes in the lineup, as Matthews did not accompany the team back out for the 3rd period, having been pulled by the team doctors as he continues to battle through what is believed to be a serious case of food poisoning. The team was also led out by Joseph Woll, who had yet to see the ice in the series.
Following the game, the big question on everyone's minds was "is there a rift forming in the Leafs' locker room?" Marner, Nylander and Keefe all addressed the issue.
Marner: "Yeah, I mean, I don't think there's any [frustration]. We're grown men, we're talking about plays out there that we just wanna make sure we're all 100% on and know what we're doing. Just a little bit off page there and we're not yelling at each other because we hate each other, we just want to all be on the same page and help each other out to try to get the best offensive chance and didn't work out that one opportunity. But I mean, Willy and I, Auston, we talked about it after, we're just trying to make a play and fortunately enough, it didn't happen on that one."

Nylander: "Yeah, you know what, that's just the way ---I mean, we expect a lot from each other and we love each other. So I mean, just to push each other, have a high ceiling, I think is great."

Keefe: "I don't sense any frustration. Guys are pushing one another, guys are competitive, guys want to win. You know, it's all it's all part of it."

The Leafs downplaying the incident may seem reasonable on the surface, but in a series where they haven't been able to generate much of anything, it would be more of a surprise if there WASN'T any frustration in the locker room.
Hopefully the team can get back on the same page and prepare for Game 5 back in Boston, because there's no room for disconnection or a failure to execute in an elimination game.
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Marner, Nylander and Keefe address the heated exchange on the bench

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