John Tortorella Defends Sheldon Keefe Following Leafs’ Elimination

John Tortorella is a coach who always finds a way to make his media availability interesting, and today’s session following the Blue Jackets ousting the Leafs from playoff contention was no different.

Torts very neatly put into words here what many players have implied but never outright said over the years: Toronto is a brutal hockey market. The fans, the media, the reputation around the league make The Toronto Maple Leafs a difficult club to play for.

Of course there are many, many benefits to playing for the Leafs: this team is steeped in hockey history, and when they’re good the players are heroes to the city and broader fanbase. Obviously, their financial success can make for a luxurious stint for players, as well.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

But as coaches, GMs, and many players have experienced, when things go wrong they go really, really wrong, and nobody is immune from harsh criticism. Not even a brand new NHL coach who took over a flailing team and made an immensely positive impact in a short time.

Maybe a rival team’s coach saying it will have an impact.