Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 6-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night, dropping the team out of a playoff spot at the All-Star Break.
On a second blowout loss in a week:
Reality checks come. I thought that we were an immature team down in Florida. We were an immature team here today. That is how we are approaching these things. We are not performing. We are not playing to any level of discipline or consistency. It is what happens.
On what the group needs to fix:
We need to recognize that it is important and how we have to prioritize it. We need discipline and consistency like I was saying. We had, I thought, a great defensive game last time out and put together a good game. The players this week, I thought, responded really well to the loss of Morgan Rielly. We put together good efforts, but the discipline and the consistency to do it all the time — that is what we are looking for, and that is what is reflected in the immaturity of our group. That is put to the test even more with the loss of Muzzin and Rielly — two important voices on our team. It is a reflection of where we are and how we need to get better in that area to be able to do it all the time.
On whether he talked to Frederik Andersen about pulling him from the game at 3-0:
I didn’t talk to him about that. I just told him that I was going to work at getting the group better in front of him and we needed better from him.
On whether he even considered the goalie pull:
I contemplated it for sure. I didn’t discuss it with him.
On whether Andreas Johnsson playing every other shift in the third was a result of his conditioning:
Yeah, just trying to get more out of him and trying to push him past his limits from a conditioning perspective at this stage. That was a big part of it.
On the decision to go eleven forwards and seven defensemen:
A combination of things. We wanted to get Liljegren in — that was the biggest thing. We did have some game time stuff that was minor, but we weren’t quite sure what we were going to look like. We were pretty comfortable if we needed to go with seven [defensemen] to get Liljegren involved. I just think that it’s important for us and our organization to see him take a step in his development. He’s been up here a couple of times and he’s been around, but we need him to take a step. We need to see him on the ice in the NHL. I hadn’t been using the fourth line much. I figured with the break coming, I wasn’t likely going to use them much today, so it was a chance to get him involved.
On if this loss makes the upcoming break less enjoyable:
No. I’m going to be able to enjoy it. I’ll spend it with my wife and kids tomorrow. It won’t be that bitter. What it is — it’s a sign that there’s a lot of work to be done. The plan, of course, was to have a mix of work and pleasure and that will certainly be the case for us, our staff, and our players. They have a break here and a chance for them to recharge, get away, and all of that. I’m sure there will be some reflection on their end, too, because they’re not happy with what’s happened here.
On how to get the team focused again going forward:
We have to just continue to remind them about it. What’s nice about events like this and events like Florida is it’s obvious. It’s right there. It’s on us as a group to reflect on what we want to be about. It’s on me to help bring that out of them, but I also think there’s some reflection there about what we want to be about.
On whether he addressed the players after the game:
I didn’t, no.
On Frederik Andersen’s rough stretch:
I don’t think he’s happy with how things have gone here as of late. I think that he recognizes that he can be better and that he’s part of our group and that our team can be better down this stretch. I think we’ve had some nights where we’ve scored a lot and we’ve gotten better results. Nights where we don’t score like this, or we don’t have our game early, a goaltender of his caliber has the ability to keep us in that game and allow us to find our legs and find our game. We have to be better as a team, make fewer mistakes, help out our goaltender, and help out our defense.
On sitting out Timashov and giving Brooks another chance:
Yeah, just sitting him down for a game. Similar to Liljegren, I wanted to get Brooks in a game here as well. We’re expecting to have some bodies back coming out of the break and our chance to look at Brooks and give him some extra experience is short so we wanted to get him involved here again.