Former Leaf Defends Sheldon Keefe Amid Criticism

Published March 22, 2023 at 2:26 PM

Sheldon Keefe has had a hard time maintaining the support of fans, he has seen a lot of success, but has had a lot of struggles in the postseason. Keefe holds the best points percentage of any coach in the Leafs history. Yet, some decisions that he has made after the trade deadline have gathered negative attention with fans and the media.

Fans are mad at Keefe

Keefe holds a steady amount of rotation with the forwards and the defense groups, which has resulted in his players having trouble developing with their linemates. This has resulted in the Leafs seeing a lot of success for a few games, and then losing a few games, this could negatively affect them in the playoffs, specifically it can cost them home ice in round 1.

The Lightning are currently 3 points behind the Leafs. The Leafs are facing some rather easy opponents for the rest of the season, which tells fans that the Leafs should get home ice. However, Keefe's continuous experimentation with lines and changing the roster has been quite unpopular with fans, who believe he should just use the optimal lines.

During TSN1050's First Up, former Leafs defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo defended Keefe, he explained why Keefe is experimenting. He also wanted to stress the fact that Keefe is doing a good job and is simply keeping the bigger imagine in his mind. Colaiacovo explained that Keefe doing everything in his power to help the team achieve their goal of winning the Stanley Cup. Even if his methods are not popular with fans.

"They've decided to re-shape and rebuild their bottom six with the type of players that they brought in.. the competitive guys, the guys with playoff experience, the guys with size, the guys that bring more physicality. Because of all that - what Sheldon Keefe is doing, right now, he's learning about the players he has. Where is the best spot to play these guys? How do I get certain guys going? What is the best fit for certain guys when everybody's healthy and I have to provide a 12F/6D type of lineup? These are the questions he's trying to find answers to. In doing so, as he's trying to find those [answers], yeah, you're going to see some of these mishaps, you're going to see some of these flaws.. When you're asking a coach to coach a team, this is exactly what a coach should be doing. Some way, somehow, he's going to get the answers that he wants, and did he get some of those answers last night [in the 7-2 loss to the Islanders]? I think he did."

-Carlo Colaiacovo on Sheldon Keefe doing his job the right way, even if it means taking some heat in the short term

It is not easy to manage 14 forwards who are capable of playing with 9 defensmen who are just as capable. Finding the best lines is not as easy as looking at the statistics, you also have to watch how different players play together. Part of this involves finding out some lines do not work. Keefe is doing the right thing by experimenting to get the lines just right for round 1. If it involves a few losses, including a 7-2 loss to the Islanders, it is better to see them lose now, in the regular season. Hopefully this experimentation helps Keefe find the best lines for round 1.

As seen on Mapleleafsinsider - Former Leaf comes to the defense of Sheldon Keefe amid heavy criticism
March 22   |   154 answers
Former Leaf Defends Sheldon Keefe Amid Criticism

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