After Sunday’s practice, Sheldon Keefe discussed David Kampf’s injury, Bobby McMann and Joseph Woll’s status, and the team’s outlook for the second half as they come out of the break in a playoff wildcard position.
Practice Lines – Feb. 4
Lines at Leafs practice
Knies – Tavares – Bertuzzi
Robertson – Domi – Gregor
McMann – Holmberg – Reaves
Lagesson – Brodie
Benoit – McCabe
Giordano – Liljegren
Four All-Stars on another pad
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 4, 2024
What is David Kampf’s status?
Keefe: He got banged up a bit just before the break. They weren’t happy with how it settled down throughout the break. He is not quite ready. He is going to get an MRI today.
He is unavailable for tomorrow and day-to-day at this point until we find out more.
How is Bobby McMann doing?
Keefe: It seems like he is good. He stayed with it and skated yesterday just to be sure he would be good to practice. It seems like he is ready to go.
What is the outlook for the goaltending situation this week?
Keefe: We will take it a day at a time, but the plan for tomorrow is that Samsonov will get right back in there. He did a terrific job for us before the break and was able to take some time away, but he also voluntarily cut his break short and got back on the ice. That shows me where his head is at and what he is thinking here.
We are excited about how he has responded and built himself up. He has earned the net coming out of the break.
Is Joseph Woll returning to practice soon?
Keefe: He got in a lot of work when we were away to the point where they felt giving him the weekend off from skating was appropriate. You will see him join the guys for the skate tomorrow morning and look to progress from there.
He was doing well today. It is more about just managing his situation. He is certainly not ahead of schedule of where they thought he would be, but they are right on schedule and it is just a matter of continuing to progress.
You won’t see him available to play this week at all for sure.
It was a busy four days for the All-Star participants. What is the plan for getting them up to speed?
Keefe: We just wanted to be mindful of what they have been going through in the last little bit. They were in the building today and took part in our meeting, but I left it to them to decide what they needed or wanted to get done on the ice.
They have been skating and touching the puck. They wanted to get out there and get some work in, but at the same time, it was clear they needed some time to recover from all sorts of fun, being in demand, and all of the things that come with being a part of that event, which seemed as though it was a terrific event.
I know they enjoyed their time. We are proud of how they represented themselves and the organization.
Today was about giving them some time. They will be ready for tomorrow.
Did you get to watch any of the All-Star events?
Keefe: I did. I was on a flight yesterday, so I missed pretty much all of the games yesterday, but I took in quite a bit of the rest of it on Thursday and Friday, and I was able to catch up on what I missed.
My kids were very interested in it, which I think is a sign that they did a good job. It was the most interested my kids were [compared] to previous years.
It was great. I enjoyed it. The guys represented well. It was fun to watch.
What is your outlook coming out of the break? You have three games in hand on the Wings and Lightning, but it looks like it is going to be a tight race.
Keefe: It is kind of what we expected in terms of the competitiveness inside of the division and conference. That is not a big surprise.
In terms of where we are at, I liked how we were trending and playing before the break. It gives us some positive momentum here. Hopefully, the break isn’t disruptive and we can get back to it.
The competitiveness of the division and conference is healthy for our team. It is going to demand the absolute best from us. We have responded well when we have been challenged and pushed or things have been difficult this season or in seasons past.
With this group, in particular, I’ve liked how we have responded and handled things. The fact that it is going to be challenging — I would expect it to be right to the very end — is good and healthy for our group. We are going to have to have a playoff-type mindset coming out of the break and all the way through.
What do you think the break could do for John Tavares looking ahead to the second half?
Keefe: I think it is great to have some time to decompress. For a guy like John, I don’t think he likes too much time away. He is one of a handful of guys who traveled with his gear. That is what he likes to do: stay active. But time away and time with family are really important.
Looking at the group, you get a sense of where everyone is at. It is a mixed bag even trying to design practice today. It is difficult not just because of the number of All-Stars who have had a demanding schedule, but you also have all sorts of schedules and routines this past week.
Some guys remained here and skated throughout. Some left but took their gear with them and got on the ice periodically. Some guys left, came back, and have been skating. And then you have guys who didn’t skate at all.
You are trying to get everybody back up to speed but are also being mindful of what everyone has been through. Some have put in a lot of work. In our case, with our All-Stars, it goes beyond just our players. Our training staff and equipment staff have been working maybe even harder than normal because of what they have been going through.
I have to be mindful of all of those kinds of things as we are looking to get back into the regular routine here.