Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares being interviewed by the media.
Photo credit: Sportsnet

John Tavares Breaks Silence On Benching Decision By Leafs Coach Sheldon Keefe

Published January 16, 2024 at 7:40 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs had something occur that hasn't been seen all too often during the big four era in Toronto. Captain John Tavares was benched during the final period of their recent game. After the game Tavares spoke to the media about the game and the decision.

Tavares Benched In Stunning Move By Keefe

The Toronto Maple Leafs had a marquee matchup against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. The Maple Leafs came out strong and took a 3-0 lead. As they were feeling good and confident things would only start to slide downhill.

The Maple Leafs would start to slide and give up not one or two or three or four goals but five goals in a row. During this slide, Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe made a shocking decision to bench captain John Tavares.

Tavares would go on to play only three minutes of the third period against the Avalanche and the Maple Leafs would indeed lose. Since the game ended Tavares was able to comment on being benched and the situation moving forward.

Tavares Breaks His Silence On Benching Decision By Keefe

On Tuesday while speaking with the media Tavares finally addressed being benched during the disappointing loss. In his comments, Tavares once again shows why he was chosen as a leader of the Maple Leafs.

"You control what you can control and be ready to go out there and execute," Tavares said of Keefe's move on Tuesday as he and the Leafs await a meeting with the Oilers at Rogers Place in Edmonton. "In a situation like that, [you're] just trying to be external as well and encouraging your teammates and be supportive and making sure you are ready for when your name is called."

A lot of players in that situation would have gotten disengaged from the game or frustrated. Instead, Tavares continued to support his teammates and stay prepared for his moment to contribute again.

While Tavares didn't get an opportunity to lead his team on the ice against the Avalanche he will certainly get to do so when the Edmonton Oilers and Connor McDavid come to town. Watch for Tavares to have some extra jump after being sent a message by Keefe.

As Read On - Maple Leafs Daily - John Tavares responds to being benched by Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe
January 16   |   1452 answers
John Tavares Breaks Silence On Benching Decision By Leafs Coach Sheldon Keefe

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