March 31, 2023

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Luke Fox of Sportsnet: The Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a 4-4-2 start and are losing to teams that they should beat. They should still make the playoffs but they won’t scare any playoff team.

Would a big trade or a new coach change things for them?

Coach Sheldon Keefe when asked if he was concerned about his job security.

“I’m just going to focus on what I can do here.”

This not a team that Keefe constructed, that is GM Kyle Dubas. Dubas brought in cap friendly players but not ones that can make a difference.

They don’t have enough players that play with grit and players that play hard. Ones that would fill that role they haven’t been able to afford or didn’t fit into their plans – Nazem Kadri, Zach Hyman, Connor Brown, Ilya Lyubushkin, and Mason Marchment.

Jonas Sieel of The Athletic: Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe benched Mitch Marner last night for about six minutes after some costly errors by the winger.

Keefe questioned the play of some of their top players a few weeks ago and it was something that upset Marner as well.

Could these moves backfire on Keefe?

10 games into the season seems a little early in the season for firing talks to be taking place. Keefe has been pushing his players hard during practice and they don’t seem to be responding.

The Leafs started last season 2-4-1 before winning 15 of 17 games.

Marner said they started worse last season, and added on the rising heat around the team:


“For us, we’re blocking that out. We know we got that confidence in that room. We got the players in that room. It’s just making sure we stick with our programming, stick with our systems, and stuff’s gonna start falling for us. It hasn’t here recently. I think we just gotta play a little simpler sometimes, get pucks more to the net, just be more direct with it. I think sometimes we got a little too carried away, trying to look for too much of a pretty play.”

William Nylander was used as their third-line center position last night as Alex Kerfoot and Calle Jarnkrok haven’t worked out so far. Toronto Marlies center Pontus Holmberg could be given a shot or they’ll need to look elsewhere.

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