Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, dropping the Leafs’ record to 18-5-2 on the season.
On the passing of Walter Gretzky at age 82:
Before I take questions, moments ago, I got the terrible news of the passing of Walter Gretzky. I’d like to pass along my condolences to the Gretzky family on behalf of the entire organization. It is a terrible loss of a great man that gave so many terrific things to our game and to our sport. He certainly leaves a legacy behind that we will never forget.
On whether he had met Walter over the course of his hockey career:
I had met him a few times. He certainly wouldn’t remember me. One memory really stands out in Pembroke. He came to visit with the NHL old-timers at one point in time. I had some time to chat with him there. Great man. He gave us so many great memories. There is Wayne’s legacy, obviously, but throughout his entire life, he gave so much to the game.
The lasting memory I have of [Walter in Pembroke] is him sitting around for hours, it seemed, throughout the game signing autographs and taking pictures with everybody who wanted one and chatting with anybody who wanted to talk to him.
It was pretty cool to see someone of his stature — what he means to the game and what he has brought to the game — out in Pembroke, Ontario taking part in an event like that for people who wouldn’t normally get such an opportunity.
On whether fatigue was a factor in the game for the Leafs:
It was just one of those games, I think. We just went through it in Edmonton. There are some games where everything kind of goes your way. Today was one of those games where everything went Vancouver’s way. They certainly played hard and deserved it. When you play like that, normally, things do end up falling your way.
A night like this for us tonight is tough. On our first shot of the game, we put the puck in our own net. They get a power-play goal, and we don’t. We are unable to make good on the chances we did get. We didn’t do enough to generate more chances to give us more opportunities.
They played a good, hard game. They got a lead and defended it well.
On whether adjustments are required for Saturday or if a day’s rest is what is needed most:
I think a day’s rest is certainly going to help us. That is a no-brainer. There is an adjustment to be made just coming from one series to the next. That in and of itself is an adjustment. It is a different style of game out there. Again, it is a different game because on the first shot of the game, all of a sudden, you are down 1-0. That makes it hard.
We were the team that was getting leads in Edmonton. The game changes. It is a different game and they are a different team — Vancouver is — when they score first like that. When they score, it gives them a lot of confidence. We are a team coming in here on a back-to-back having to dig ourselves out of a hole.
And yet I thought we did a good enough job defensively to give ourselves a chance to hang around and look to earn some points in the third period. They just were quicker and harder than we were in the third. They seemed to have more in the tank.
On Joe Thornton’s limited minutes:
He is fine. We were chasing the game. I wanted to shorten the bench and get Hyman back with Matthews and Mitch. I didn’t really intend it to go the way that it did in terms of really shortening it down, but it was just the way it worked. Once we got down two, I thought we really had to press for a bit to get at least one. I just kind of lost him there. That is really it. Things will be back the way we started here for next game.
On Jack Campbell’s status for Saturday:
It is too early to tell. With our goalies here, it has been kind of a day-to-day thing. We are not knowing until mid-afternoon which way things are going to go. We have talked to Hutch and made sure he is always ready to go given the uncertainty around our guys. We will just have to continue to evaluate as we get going.
Fred felt good today, so that was positive. He will be available for us next game.