Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Friday night, dropping the Leafs’ record to 1-1-0 on the season.
On what happened after falling 2-1 behind:
I sensed that we stopped playing. We lost three or four shifts in a row coming off of that goal. As soon as we scored that goal, the message on the bench was that we need to keep pushing.
When you score a goal like that and you have control over the period the way that we did, for us, if we want to be a team that is going to accomplish anything, the game should be over from there. We should be able to take care of the lead and build on the lead.
Obviously, it showed that we are not there yet.
On the adjustment period for TJ Brodie:
All of the new guys are adjusting to the system, to new teammates — all of those kinds of things. It is going to take some time. I think TJ has been fine for us. I thought he was a standout for us in the Montreal game.
Nobody was really a standout for us today, obviously, but Brods has been fine. He plays the kind of game where you have to watch it back on video to really focus on what he is doing to really see the value in it.
On the need to bear down in the defensive zone:
That has been our message from day one. Part of it is bearing down. Part of it is just the structure pieces of it — making sure you are on the right side of the puck, real fundamental things that we weren’t real good at today. That is part of it for sure.
We have given up too many goals here through two games. That is an area we wanted to get better in. Obviously, we are not yet. That is hurting us.
At the same time, I think our offense has been really poor as well through both games. Despite the fact that we got seven plus the OT goal — eight goals — through two games, to me, offensively, we are nowhere near where we need to be, either.
On the need to get more at the net after 20 shots on goal vs. a team that hadn’t played since last March:
I don’t see what the length of time from the last time they played matters. They have been back practicing and scrimmaging just like we have — in fact, they have been doing it longer than we have. I don’t think that is a relevant part to anything.
It is more about the style, how they play, how they compete. They are going to be content just to be on the inside and make it difficult for us there.
We are trying too speed up our game a lot offensively and challenge that a lot more. We just haven’t done that. That is going to take some time. That is a big adjustment for a lot of our guys. But that is something that we obviously need to do a better job of.
You are trying to set up the perfect shot and perfect play toward the net, but there is a great number of goals that are just randomness — put the puck to space, try to out-number the opposition on loose pucks. Really, all of their goals came off of loose-puck situations like that.
We had great control of the game for long periods of time, but we didn’t accomplish much with it. Again, it is another thing that has been a message to our team since day one of camp. It is a big adjustment for our team. We’ll get there. Playing against this team again tomorrow night and a number of times throughout the season, with how they play, there will be lots of practice with that.
On Frederik Andersen’s play through two games:
I would say, obviously, too many pucks have gone in the net. As we have talked about a number of times, it is not all on him. We have to do a better job in front of him. We have had lots of bodies, lots of loose pucks around the net here tonight. We have had lots of breakaways and stuff like that in the Montreal game, which he stood tall on save for the one.
There is a lot more happening here. We need to improve in a lot of areas. Fred would probably agree that goaltending is one of them, but there are a lot of other things happening out there that we have to get better at.
On the comfort level with the new power-play units and whether he will consider going back to the top unit from last season:
We talked about it. We expected to use that unit from last season at different times. We have been getting it some practice reps. Obviously, we used it today and a little bit in the Montreal game at different times.
That said, we do feel like we need to give some time to those other units and those other looks, and get more people involved. Not having the exhibition games hasn’t given us ample time to really get a feel for what that can do to our team.
Part of it is the effects it has on the power play itself, and then also the effects that it has outside the power play, with how you use people and how involved other people are in the game — spreading out minutes, all of those kinds of things, and having to find roles for the players to do that.
We have a lot happening there. It is not just about the success of the power play. We are trying to see if we can have a greater outlook to it but yet still have success with the people that we have.
Obviously, we scored a power-play goal in the first period. That was a big one for us and we gave it back just by a bad penalty compounded by a bad error cheating on the penalty kill. We get caught on the too-many-men. We gave that power-play goal back.
There are things that we have to continue to get better at. The best part of these back-to-back situations is that you get to go right back at it again tomorrow.