Sheldon Keefe slams his players over the Liljegren/Marchand incident.

Sheldon Keefe slams his players over the Liljegren/Marchand incident.

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe publicly called out his own players on Saturday morning.

Jonathan Larivee

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been called out by their head coach, and in very public fashion.

On Saturday, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe spoke to the media following a controversial incident earlier this week in which Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren was injured. Liljegren was sent hard into the boards after a battle with Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand and it was clear from Keefe's comments on Saturday morning that the coach was not happy with how his team responded to the incident.

Keefe was asked how he felt about his team's response to the incident and he made no effort to hide his displeasure.

"I hated everything about it," admitted Keefe on Saturday.

Keefe did try to argue that this behavior is atypical from his team but I'm not entirely sure that the Maple Leafs fan base would agree with his assessment of that particular detail.

"It’s not what we want to be about," said Keefe. "At times we’ve responded very well in those situations in the past. It’s about consistency though."

In spite of Keefe's effort to downplay the lack of response from his players the Maple Leafs fan base has not been so willing to give the players a pass. While it's fair to argue that a great deal of the criticism has been directed at National Hockey League referee Wes McCauley, who made no call on the play, the players have also been dealing with their fair share of criticism.

While Keefe's comments may light a fire under the players in the short term, those same critics don't believe it will have a lasting impact.