Photo credit: TSN
Sheldon Keefe Benched Bunting after He Disrespected Him
BY MACKENZIE STERN-KOLESNIKOW MARCH 27, 2023 (9:05)
One thing did go wrong in the game, it appears that the relationship between the Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe and pending UFA Michael Bunting is slowly deteriorating. The two have known each other since the Soo Greyhounds, so arguments might be a regular occurrence between the two. In fact, part of the reason behind Bunting joining the Leafs was because they had Dubas and Keefe. Perhaps fans should not dig too far into the incident that occurred during the third period.
Keefe Benched Bunting
While the Leafs were up 2-1 with just 6 minutes left of the third period, fans witnessed what appeared to be a disagreement between Keefe and Bunting. Keefe was clearly explaining something important to Bunting, gesturing with his hands to make a point, however Bunting ignored him and turned away to watch the play. Keefe did not like this, and Bunting was benched for the rest of the game, he only played 12:25 minutes, which was one of the lowest icetimes on the team, except for Wayne Simmonds and Zach Aston-Reese, who did not play for more than 11 minutes.
Fans noticed that Keefe has been really tough on Bunting lately. He has been moving him down the lineup when he feels that Bunting is not playing up to his potential, he has also called him out in the media. Keefe has also been frustrated by the amount of penalties that Bunting has taken this season. Bunting is the Leafs' best agitator, who is not so popular with the referees this year.
So far, neither Keefe nor Bunting have commented on the incident.
As seen on Mapleleafsinsider - Bunting snubs Sheldon Keefe, winds up benched for the rest of the game