John Tavares responds to Sheldon Keefe’s rant as rumours of getting scratched emerge!

John Tavares responds to Sheldon Keefe’s rant as rumours of getting scratched emerge!

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On Tuesday night, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe roasted his top players for their performance in the team’s 6-3 loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils. He called out his captain by name in unprecedented fashion:

“John Tavares has been the example for us. He’s been outstanding for us for a long period of time. He himself got carried away tonight. That’s our captain. So if that’s going to happen, well, like the rest of our bench is now, we’re just making it up as we go. When you do that, you open the door for the opposition to have a good night. And they did that. And I thought the last goal at the end of the third period there, that’s indicative of our second and third periods.”

On Wednesday, Keefe made an abrupt change to practice, holding a skills session with specific players instead. Media met with some players after the skate, and spoke with Tavares, seeking his reaction from being called out by his own head coach. This is what he told reporters, per David Alter:

“I think, especially the captain, you really want to be at the top of the list for of being accountable and setting the standard and the way we need to play.”

A lot went wrong in last night’s game against New Jersey, and sure Tavares did not take care of the puck or defend very well. He was also messy with the disc, throwing a blind pass into the middle to give the Devils a scoring opportunity and turned the puck over as did star forward Auston Matthews.

“They’ve got to be the example,” Keefe said of leaders like Tavares and Matthews.

When Keefe said that he would no longer be permitting careless mistakes that make “life easier on your opponent”, some pundits started wondering if he could do the unthinkable like Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella did against Toronto last week, and make his captain a healthy scratch.

Let’s see if Tavares’ response to Keefe’s response shows that he is willing to up his game before the head coach’s next rant!

On Wednesday however, Keefe expressed how well his captain had reacted to his comments, and explained why he called him out specifically : 

"He's been great and he will be great. I brought John up yesterday, as I did in the room with the team, because he's our leader and he's got to set the tone for our group."

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