Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs post game
Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs post game

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators in the fourth game of the 2022-23 preseason.

On what he liked about the effort tonight:

I just really liked the effort of our guys. Even though we were playing against a lot of their players over there, the guys just dug in. We got things to go our way early in the game. It gave us some confidence as we built the lead.

Ottawa pushed back, as we expected that they would. They scored the goal and got a power-play goal to make it 3-2, but I thought our guys in the second period just really kept playing. We had a lot of really good chances.

Forsberg made some great saves to hold them in the game, but our guys just stayed with it. It was really good. That is what you want to see in a game like this.

On Nick Robertson’s improvements without the puck:

We have actually been waiting for him to make an impact in the game offensively at this level. When I say this level, it is obviously not quite the NHL here yet. The hockey will get tougher than it is this week. Every day, really, players get sharper and sharper.

It is good to see him make his mark offensively. There are the details without the puck, but what you are looking for from a guy like him is that he’s going to be able to make an impact offensively. That is what he does. That is what he is best at. That is what he has a history of doing. You want to see him convert it at a higher level.

I think we are starting to see that here in this preseason, but the games will get harder. The competition will get harder. I can see him improving and his confidence growing daily.

On Ilya Samsonov’s play:

I thought he was good. There were a couple of goals there that were kind of bang-bang. There were some bad bounces. But what I was really impressed with: Before we really pulled away in the game in the third period, he made some big saves. Tkachuk was in alone and that one really stands out, but there were a few others where they had clean looks and he was solid there.

In a game such as this where you are a little outmatched in terms of talent and NHL pedigree, you need your goaltending to be very good and for your guys to play really hard and put on a good performance. Samsonov in goal and the guys all the way through the lineup played hard.

I thought the offensive guys like Robertson and Malgin… you want to see them make a difference, and I thought they did. Aston-Reese, Kampf, and Aube-Kubel did their job today.

On the plans to pare down the roster:

We’ll look a lot closer to our team when we come back. When we play that game in Montreal, I think it will be a good chunk of our guys all playing in the game. We will start looking a little closer to what we expect to look like when we start playing for real.