Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 6-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets that dropped the Leafs’ record to 17-7-2 on the season.
On the team falling behind in the game and whether it was due to fatigue in the back-to-back:
It is hard to say [why]. We had a lack of attention to detail, a lack of structure, and a lack of purpose with the things that made us successful. It is hard to say what role fatigue played in that. It is not what our team has looked like for a long time now.
It is easy to go to the fatigue factor, but it is not good enough. We need to find ways here. It is just the reality of the schedule. You play back-to-backs. If anything, you have to be that much more focused, that much more detailed, that much more structured. It didn’t work tonight, clearly.
On the knee-on-knee hit by Neal Pionk that injured Rasmus Sandin:
It looked to me like it is a five-minute major. It is a knee-on-knee. A guy gets carried off. But I didn’t get much from the officials in terms of how they saw it. Obviously, they didn’t see it. If they see it, they probably would’ve called it differently.
The league, I am sure, will have a look.
On the team’s response standing up for a teammate after the hit:
You make the decision there as a coach. I felt we needed to have a response. On the shift just prior to that, Matthews was getting manhandled. It was a four-on-four call, but to me, one of the best players in the world is in a situation like that… That should be a power play there, in my opinion. That is how that should work. It didn’t.
That’s fine; we go play four-on-four, and on the next shift, you get one of your guys carried off and there is no call there. It should be a four-on-three and a five-minute power-play in a two-goal game. It is not.
I just felt, at that point, we needed to have some sort of response. Our team was emotionally engaged at that time. We needed to have a response of some nature. You are willing to just go with it at that time. We’d like to get a penalty kill there and give ourselves a chance to come out of it, but it didn’t work out that way.
I certainly did like the emotional response of our team given the circumstances.
On Joseph Woll’s first loss in the NHL:
I thought he was great tonight. You just have to watch it in terms of the goals that went in. Those are elite players that are getting clean looks at the net. I thought he looked excellent today. In a lot of ways, he looked maybe better tonight than he has on any other night. He stood tall. He competed.
I thought he was really good today. There were one or two there — maybe on the second goal, he would like to get a save on that, but that is a guy in alone. We have to protect him better.
Given the calibre of players coming in on him and the quality of chances, I thought he was excellent today. I thought he competed. He doesn’t have to worry about this one too much. If anything, it should give him confidence and swagger because he stood in there all the way through. I was really happy to see how he stood in and competed tonight.
On Woll taking contact outside of his crease a night after Jack Campbell took a hit in Minnesota:
This situation tonight is entirely different from yesterday. It is an unfortunate situation. He drops his stick. He is scrambling for it. The guy is coming hard to compete for the puck. He is way out of his net.
Today was way different than yesterday. I have no issue with anything there, but obviously, the safety and health of our goalies are important. To see a guy get shaken up like that — you don’t like to see it. It was nice to see him be able to continue to play.
On Kyle Clifford entering the lineup as well as the play of the new defense pairs:
I thought the way the game went, especially early on with two penalties in the first five minutes, and there were a number of power plays… To get Cliff really going and involved [was difficult].
In terms of the D pairs, I liked some of that. I would like to watch it back, but I thought early on in the game, we liked it. The goal was for the night was for us to spread out our minutes a little bit better given the circumstances of the back-to-back. We had some guys log some heavy minutes yesterday. I thought balancing it out a little bit better would give us an opportunity to spread it out, and at the same time, give us a look at some different pairs.
We have been pretty steady with what we have gone with in our top four, but we wanted to try that tonight. I’d like to watch it back. Earlier, we gave up a lot of chances. I don’t know how much of it was necessarily on the defense. I thought we had been very connected with our forwards and D, and tonight, we just weren’t. It left our D out to dry tonight.
On the interactions between the benches:
Nothing out of the ordinary for the type of game that it was and the emotions involved. They weren’t happy, but obviously, I wasn’t very happy, either. That is the way it goes. When there is stuff going on and it is not being called, the emotions get really high, and those are the kinds of things that you see. I don’t think it is out of the ordinary for the way the game played out.