Accountability makes it way to Toronto as Sheldon Keefe scratches David Kampf

Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
6 months ago
It seems like it has been a long time coming for David Kampf this season but following the 6-5 loss to the Blue Jackets where Kampf made a critical blunder on Columbus’ tying goal the press box is now where the Leafs’ fourth line season but will reside for the night.
The lack of tolerance for mistakes like Kampf means that Pontus Holmberg will step into the fourth line centre role for Saturday night against the Hurricanes. The rest of the lineup likely remains the same, at least to start as the consequences of actions might result in some in game changes as well.
The move seems like it was a “this is harder on me than it is on you” type discipline for Kampf as Keefe has always leaned heavily on the defensive centre even when the numbers suggested that it isn’t a good idea. The fact that Kampf is sitting is a reminder that he is on the Leafs to be a beacon of defensive play amongst the forwards and not attempt risky offensive plays when protecting a narrow lead.
You could certainly make a case for any number of Leafs forwards sitting due to their defensive blunders, Max Domi being an obvious name that comes to mind but the reality is there are different expectations for each player and no one is holding Domi in the same defensive regard as Kampf. It’s also a lot easier to send a message to the fourth line.
The loss last night seems to be bringing a change of behaviour in Sheldon Keefe. He’s never been one to call out his players (save for the Mikheyev and Vesey comments during the Amazon series) but the past 24 hours has seen Keefe share his frustration with both Ilya Samsonov and David Kampf to the media. It will be interesting to see what kind of response this receives from the Maple Leafs.
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