Rocky Thompson was not happy with Sheldon Keefe as the Leafs sent their top powerplay unit out in the third
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Sheldon Keefe catches a ton of heat from the Flyers bench, explains his controversial decision

Published March 15, 2024 at 10:22
BY RYAN SMITHERAM

Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs won their eight consecutive game over the Philadelphia Flyers in convincing fashion. The win didn't come without controversy and adversity for the Leafs, however, as they lost Calle Jarnkrok to an upper-body injury that will keep him out for "some time", and late in the third period, Flyers assistant coach Rocky Thompson voiced his displeasure with the Leafs over a powerplay.

With the Leafs up 6-1, head coach Sheldon Keefe sent out his top powerplay unit, much to the displeasure of acting head coach Thompson. Thompson had some choice words for Keefe behind the bench at the time and following the game, Keefe was asked about the decision and his thoughts on Thompson being upset.

"Yeah, understandably. I had no intention of doing that. I already reached out to the other side (Flyers to explain). We had tired people on our bench. I have to manage my team and my bench at that time, too. They got a shorty out of it."

As the Leafs had a commanding lead in the third, Keefe doubled up his ice-time to his third and fourth lines, which led to the decision to put out his top unit to begin the powerplay as he explained.


"Trying to double up some of our third and fourth line guys and then we get a power play and you don't want to put the top guys out, but the other guys were exhausted."

After the first whistle, Keefe adjusted his PP unit and threw Ryan Reaves and some other depth players over the boards, which ultimately led to a shorthanded goal by the Flyers late in the game.

Thompson was acting as the Flyers' head coach last night after John Tortorella was handed a two-game suspension for his antics behind the bench last week that saw him get ejected and fined $50,000.

I'd imagine we'll see some fireworks on Tuesday as the Leafs will travel back to Philly next week to face off against the Flyers once again. Torts will be back for that one, so you can bet it will be a very different game as the Leafs look to extend their win streak over Philly to 9 games.

POLL
March 15   |   685 answers
Sheldon Keefe catches a ton of heat from the Flyers bench, explains his controversial decision

Did the Flyers have reason to be upset at Keefe's decision to ice his top PP unit up 6-1 late in the third?

Yes10715.6 %
No41460.4 %
It makes more sense after Keefe explained it16423.9 %
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