Sheldon Keefe offers true thoughts on Jake Muzzin

The Leafs blue liner won't play again this year.



The Toronto Maple Leafs announced the unfortunate news earlier this week that defenseman Jake Muzzin's season is in fact over thanks to his cervical spine injury; he'll reportedly be re-evaluated at Leafs Training Camp this fall. 

A veteran of 683 National Hockey League games with the Los Angeles Kings and Maple Leafs as well as a key piece of the Kings 2014 Stanley Cup championship, Muzzin brings intangible leadership that will certainly be missed on the ice.

"He is an integral piece of our leadership group, and that won’t change," Keefe explained. "We will get everything we can out of him that way. He is going to give us everything he has even though he is not going to be in uniform."

"He wants to win as badly as anyone. That is one of the intangibles he has brought here to Toronto. To that end, it is nice to see him every day as much as you know it would be very difficult for him to not be in uniform. He is giving us everything that he can."

But the good news for the Leafs is that Muzzin continues to be a part of the team, attending every game and still being around his teammates and offering valuable leadership - even if it isn't on the ice. 

"He has been in this facility every day that we have been here," Keefe explained. "He is at every game. He has made most of the road trips with us."

"It just speaks to his character. He’s continuing to be a part of it and doing all he can to help the team while not playing and also still pushing himself. You see him in the gym consistently doing everything he can in his control. Unfortunately, his body is just not going to allow him to play this season."

And needless to say, his teammates appreciate still having him around as the regular season begins to wind down and a crucial playoff push ahead.

"Again, it speaks to his character to stay with it," Keefe continued. "Our players love having him around and enjoy his personality, his friendship, his leadership, and his perspective on things. It is a different perspective not being in uniform every day, and yet he still has connections to our team. He knows how we play. He knows what the expectations are. He has great bonds with our players."