Sportsnet blasts Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe for “horrible” decisions

They sure let the Leafs bench boss have it.



The Toronto Maple Leafs were unsuccessful in their recent outing, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Los Angeles Kings at Scotiabank Arena and dropping their record so far in 2023 to 5-3-1.

But it was a lineup decision from head coach Sheldon Keefe that really rubbed Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne of the "Real Kyper and Bourne" show the wrong way. Essentially, they felt that by Keefe moving William Nylander up to the first line to play alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, the head coach was sending a subtle message to the rest of the players that he didn't trust them enough to try and mount a comeback. 

"The thing that probably bothered me most last night was the feeling and philosophy that they're still trying to outscore their mistakes. I got pissed off the most at watching him load up Nylander, Marner and Matthews. I think it's a horrible message to 17 other guys that says, 'we're just going to put these guys together and its going to fix us. We're going to come back and win and everyone's going to say way to not give up.' To me, the least of his worries to start the third period was trying to find three goals to tie the game up," said Kypreos.

"Your number one priority to start the period was to put three guys on the ice who could compete. Who could fight for a puck and win a battle. You start there and if it means sitting asses down, you do it. Loading up was the least of your issues or worries." 

Bourne would agree with Kypreos, saying that the players who were battling over the course of the night deserved the chance to try and lead the comeback effort.

"I would think he's been around this Leafs team long enough and the post-season long enough in the NHL to recognize its not about earning every regular season point you can but conditioning your team for the playoffs that the people who work get rewarded and we reward based on merit and not potential and last night, giving more time to the guys that were dogs by and large did not seem like the right answer when he should've sat one of them down," Bourne replied.

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