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Keefe pleased with Leafs’ effort despite evidence to the contrary

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Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
1 month ago
With the Toronto Maple Leafs on the ropes after a disheartening showing in Game 4, Sheldon Keefe decided not to read the room when assessing his team’s play. Let’s hear it from Keefe, via Sports Illustrated’s David Alter:
He is not wrong in saying that the Leafs were competing: they were fighting over which tee time to book for later this week.
Joking aside, Keefe’s assessment of how his team played could not be any further from the truth because their effort was the opposite of good. There were too many lapses in judgment when it came to their decision-making on the defensive end, they were too timid offensively despite all of the power play chances, and they were not able to get the saves they needed. It is no wonder the fans booed the team at the end of the second period because not only was the effort unacceptable, but the fact this could be the last time a game is hosted in Toronto this season makes the comments all the more infuriating.
There have been so many things wrong with the Leafs in the playoffs that have carried over from last spring and in years past. They are not getting any offence going, they are handily losing the special teams battle, and their goalies are the second-best in the series. Combine all of that with how well the Bruins have been executing their game plan and it’s no wonder this feels like the end is nigh for the Core Four as they are on the precipice of another embarrassing defeat.
It felt good to see the Leafs finally overcome one playoff demon a year ago, but what has transpired since John Tavares scored in Game 6 of the 2023 first-round series shows they are still a ways away from getting to the next level. They are stuck being the bridesmaids and are never the brides, which is what the legacy of this core will be if they go out quickly.
It makes sense why Keefe isn’t going to admit defeat just yet but he needs to be more aware of the reality of the situation that is now at hand. Sure, the Leafs might have had their moments in this series where they demonstrated their talent, but those have not been consistent enough. Keefe is very quickly running out of answers for how to get the team out of this massive hole largely they have put themselves in.
The series certainly isn’t over but it sure does feel like it. Keefe’s assessment of his team’s performance only further validates the frustration fans are feeling about the Leafs right now.

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