Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-4 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night, improving the Leafs’ record to 21-14-4 on the season.
On the latest news on Ilya Mikheyev:
He’s at the hospital and he’s getting evaluated. It looks like he’s got a deep cut. We are just going to have to get it sorted out. He is going to stay in New Jersey tonight and get evaluated. We’ll have to figure out what needs to be done.
On when he realized the injury is serious:
All I saw is him coming off without a glove. At first, you just think he is missing a glove. You then kind of get a sense that something more serious is happening there. I think our players recognized it even before I did. That is one of the terrible things you hate to see in the game.
On the seemingly increased frequency of injuries caused by skate blades in the league:
It seems to be more frequent these days than it was even when I played. I am not sure if that is actually the case, but it seems to be. It is unfortunate. There has been lots done to try to prevent these types of things. Some of it is unpreventable, of course, with the nature of the game. We’ve got to continue to find ways to prevent it as best as we can.
On how the team reacted on the bench:
The bench was a little shaken at the time. It seemed like every stoppage in play, the guys were kind of looking for an update. They were concerned about their teammate. In terms of what impact it had on the game itself, I don’t think it had any. When the puck dropped, the guys were just focused on playing.
On whether the team showed good resilience to eke out the two points:
Resilience is a good word to describe it. We’ve shown some of that, really, throughout the last little bit — being a resilient team. There is not a lot to like about our game today, obviously. But it is December 27th here and we got two points on the road, so we will take it and get on the plane, recognizing that we have to get a lot better tomorrow.
On what factors have led to Zach Hyman’s increased offensive production:
Hard to say. He has been a good player in this league now for a long time. He is playing with good players and he gets them the puck in good spots. The thing that has really impressed me is just the poise he has shown with the puck. He is making plays himself. He’s not just winning puck battles and letting the others come in to clean it up; he’s getting them the puck and actually moving it into good spots. That has been really good to see.
He is playing with a lot of confidence right now. Guys like playing with him. A lot of good things happen when he’s out there.
On the keys to success during the team’s 12-4-0 run:
Before tonight, I thought it has been really good starts. We’ve played with the lead a lot. That has really helped us. That is an important thing and a trend we were really trying to fix with the team — just to play with the lead as much as we could. We’ve done that. And what we talked about earlier — just being resilient and being confident we can score and find our way back in games.
We’ve got to find ways not to give up the chances and the goals like we did here and be able to stop them from scoring and give us a chance to kind of get the game back.
On whether there were teaching moments defensively in the game:
I am going to throw this one out for the most part, frankly, unless some of the players have questions about some of the decisions I might have made with their linemates and ice time and what have you. We will use it for that, but in terms of teaching, I think we are just going to toss this one out and be happy with the two points and just kind of start fresh tomorrow.