Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe
Photo credit: Sam Navarro - USA TODAY Sports

Sheldon Keefe responds to the NHL's decision to not suspend Mason Marchment

Published February 8, 2024 at 8:36 PM

The Leafs' core four showed up in a big way on Wednesday night, combining for 5 goals and 9 points between them in a 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars. A dominant showing, but at the end of the night, belt holder Ryan Reaves chose to single out Jake McCabe as the player of the game. He and partner Simon Benoit have combined to bring a sorely needed physical presence to the Leafs back end, but it was a hit by former Leaf Mason Marchment that caused controversy.

In the dying seconds of the second period, McCabe played the puck up the boards on his backhand. A couple of seconds later, he was blindsided by a hard hit from Mason Marchment. The hit left McCabe bloodied and enraged as he shouted obscenities at Marchment and the officials. Whether the hit was late or not was a subject of controversy. The referees on the ice deemed it a good hit, much to the displeasure of Sheldon Keefe. The Department of Player Safety sided with the Leafs' coach, fining Marchment $5,000, the maximum allowable under the current CBA, though many were of the mindset that it should have been a suspension.

Keefe was asked for comment on the hit, the lack of a call on it whether the fine was enough at the Leafs' outdoor practice today.

"Not my decision to make. I made it clear yesterday that certainly, it was a play that should have been penalized in the moment. It sets up the league to handle it from there, which they did." - Sheldon Keefe

Any time a hit, especially a late, blindside hit, draws blood like that, it's the coach's job to advocate for his player. Personally, I'm not sure if the hit warranted a suspension, but it was certainly a penalty-worthy play. Keefe had every reason to be angry.

The NHL's limits for fines are laughably low, so whether it was deserved or not really doesn't matter to Marchment. At the very least, Keefe and McCabe can feel vindicated. I do, however, find it hilarious that if Sheldon Keefe had bashed the decision by the officials or Player Safety, his $25,000 fine would have been 5x worse than the one Mason Marchment received for his blindside hit. Pretty ridiculous stuff.

February 8   |   536 answers
Sheldon Keefe responds to the NHL's decision to not suspend Mason Marchment

Do the Leafs need to do a better job of making sure they even the score when an opposing player steps over the line?

Yes, stick up for your teammates51696.3 %
No, an eye for an eye solves nothing203.7 %
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