Sheldon Keefe’s post game media address after his team’s 2-1 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the 2016 Rookie Tournament:
You mentioned 200 feet of ice earlier. Did you see a lot of that [type of play] from your squad here this evening?
Sheldon Keefe: I thought our effort and our intentions were good. I thought maybe the legs weren’t quite where we need them to be to able to get to our spots. But our guys worked. It’s never easy playing in the first game; it’s never easy playing in the tournament. Our guys were working and trying to find their legs to get to where we wanted them to be.
Who did you like tonight in terms of the game? Who impressed you out there?
Keefe: I thought a lot of guys did good things at different times. I don’t know if it would be right for me to single out anyone in particular. This was a game where there wasn’t a real offensive standout or anything like that. I thought each line had good shifts. Each guy probably had some shifts they want back too. I thought it was a good first game; the effort was good, I thought we were in control of the game for a good chunk of it. I didn’t like how we finished the game in the third period, whether that was just kind of losing the purpose we needed to play with or just lack of energy. I don’t know what that was, but overall, for the first game, we were pretty happy with the guys.
You indicated you wanted to see some different things from Marner. Were you pleased with the way he got physically engaged a couple of times? He took on a couple of their bigger guys. It looked like that weight training in the summer is stating to pay off.
Keefe: Yeah. I think he’s a guy who knows how to use his body well. You don’t have as much success as he’s had in his career if you’re not able to do that. I thought he did it well. He separated some guys and won some of those pucks for his linemates – those kind of things. I think that’s part of the package. I’m not so sure that’s new for him. I’ve seen him do that before.
You also said you were interested in seeing Trevor Moore, and certainly he gave you some pause for thought with some of his plays.
Keefe: Yeah, I liked his game a lot. It was my first time seeing him in a true game. He’s got good quickness, he handles the puck, he’s a shooter, he gets available well. He obviously had a good finish on his goal. I thought he complemented that line nicely today. It was good to see that from him.
Did you like Frederik Gauthier’s presence at the net at times this evening?
Keefe: Yeah. A couple of times I think we’d like to see him really dig in there and hold his ground, but getting in the net front and having pucks flying by – those are the kinds of things you’re not use to having happen in the summer time, and having to compete for ice and those kind of things. That’s what this is for – get back used to that, get comfortable again. I’d say it was a good step for that. It was nice to have him on the bench – him and Colin Smith at center ice today, having guys who have been there kind of leading their lines and talking on the bench and helping each other out. That helped our group.
What do you think about Dmytro Timashov? He looked very composed when he had the puck, and he likes to have the puck a lot.
Keefe: Yeah, no shortage of confidence when he has the puck, for sure. He’s looking to make things happen. There was a number of plays today that I thought ended with him, where he was trying to make something happen and it didn’t quite click for him. But, at the same time, he made some pretty elite plays at different times. We saw enough from him at this camp last year, and obviously he’s had success at the World Juniors and in the Quebec league. We’ve come to expect those kind of things from him. I think he’s got a lot better in him than he had today, and I’m sure we’ll see that from him here soon.