22 July 2024

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe is like any other NHL bench boss in that he’s always looking for ways to keep his team motivated and hungry to win.

To light a fire under their players, sometimes that means a coach has to make a public spectacle of himself – and that’s precisely what we saw from Keefe Tuesday night at the end of the Leafs’ game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

With Toronto trailing 4-2 late in the third period, the Leafs were assessed a minor penalty in a play that replays suggested should’ve not been penalized. And Keefe, knowing that the penalty pretty much put the final nail in the coffin of the Buds’ game plan against the Golden Knights, decided to give the officials a piece of his mind.

Keefe unloaded on the people in stripes and was given a game misconduct penalty and an ejection for his actions.

 

But never mind whether Keefe was right or wrong to challenge the zebras on their call – what really is clear is that Keefe wanted to show his players he was battling for them. This was similar to when Leafs blueliner Morgan Rielly cross-checked Senators forward Ridly Greig after a perceived slight and was suspended for five games. Even Rielly said the force and placement of the cross-check was not appropriate, but the Leafs won all five games in Rielly’s absence.

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