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Maple Leafs fire head coach Sheldon Keefe

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Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
1 month ago
Sheldon Keefe was fired as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team announced Thursday.
Keefe took over as Toronto’s head coach midway through the 2019-20 season, posting a 212-97-40 cumulative record over the course of five regular seasons. He’s fifth on the team’s all-time wins list and his .665 winning percentage is the best mark in Maple Leafs history. During Keefe’s five seasons, his regular season success couldn’t translate to the playoffs and it’s ultimately why the organization decided to move on.
“Today’s decision was difficult. Sheldon is an excellent coach and a great man; however, we determined a new voice is needed to help the team push through to reach our ultimate goal. We thank Sheldon for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last nine years, and wish him and his family all the very best,” Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving said in a team-issued statement.
The 43-year-old spoke to reporters Monday during his end-of-year press conference, where he expressed confidence his coaching ability, while taking responsibility for the team’s first-round loss to the Boston Bruins.
“We’re in the results business here,” Keefe said Monday. “We didn’t get results and we haven’t met expectations. As head coach, I take responsibility for that. When you have a team that has expectations and have goals in mind and you don’t reach them, it’s not a good feeling. My job as a head coach is to find solutions and chart a path ahead for the group to come through and to succeed at the most important time of year and we haven’t done that. I do feel a year ago we took a step in the right direction as a group. I loved the resolve we showed in this series in Game 5 and 6 in particular that gave us a chance to compete in Game 7, but clearly we didn’t do enough and that sits with me.”
Keefe was well-regarded within the organization for his ability to develop young players, leading the AHL’s Toronto Marlies to a Calder Cup victory in 2018. He was well-liked by his players from all accounts but his tactical flaws were exposed routinely during the playoffs and ultimately, the Maple Leafs may look for a coach with a proven track record of elevating their teams during the postseason. Craig Berube, who led the St. Louis Blues to the Stanley Cup in 2019, has been widely speculated as one of Toronto’s top targets.
The Leafs Nation will update this story as further developments unfold. 

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