Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs practice
Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs practice

After Friday’s practice, head coach Sheldon Keefe discussed Max Domi’s injury status, Timothy Liljegren’s participation in practice, Joel Edmundson’s first game back in the lineup, and managing ice time among the balanced lineups up front.

Practice Lines – Apr. 12

What’s behind Max Domi’s absence from practice?

Keefe: He has an injury that is a day-to-day situation. We just kept him off the ice today. We will see how he is tomorrow.

Is there a chance he could play tomorrow?

Keefe: There is a chance, yeah.

How did Timothy Liljegren look in practice today?

Keefe: He looked good to me. I haven’t gotten the reports on him, but he looked good. He went into the practice with the intention of pushing himself with an eye toward tomorrow. That is the goal. We will see where he is at tomorrow.

Ilya Samsonov mentioned forgetting about the loss on Thursday night and moving on. Does that speak to the mindset he’s honed through this season’s ups and downs? 

Keefe: I think a big part of where Sammy is at and where he has been in the last few months — or whatever it has been — is his mental approach. That has armed him with the tools to manage the situation he was in earlier in the season to get to this point. Those are the same things that are going to prepare him and should give him the confidence to push past it and get right back to it.

What did you make of Joel Edmundson’s first game back in the lineup?

Keefe: I thought he was okay for a guy who hadn’t played in a while. It is going to be important that we use the remaining games to build him back up.

As we saw, it seems like pucks are a bit of a magnet to his feet, but that is a credit to how he plays and a credit to him for stepping right in and putting himself in harm’s way once again. It is the type of guy he is.

He will continue to get better and get his game back to where we need it to be.

How do you approach load management with three games left? Is anyone with a knick going to sit, or is playoff positioning still a consideration?

Keefe: You are going to play the games and prepare to win each game. We will see where everything falls in the end in terms of our lineup decisions and such. We will take it on a case-by-case basis and make the appropriate decisions for each player and for the team.

In some cases, some guys maybe need a rest, as we saw with McCabe last night. We felt it was important, and he did as well. For other guys, if they are feeling good, have lots of energy, and their game is in a good place, I am sure they want to keep playing and ride it out.

We will look at it case by case, but going into tomorrow, our lineup looks similar, save for the Domi situation.

What’s your latest feeling on how the balanced approach is working with the forward lines?

Keefe: I have liked it. It has worked well for us. We have had contributions from each line. Last night again would’ve been the same situation, but obviously, the Robertson goal came back.

We have liked it. The results have been good for us save for last night, but last night, we scored five. Things worked out for us there.

In the last couple of games, I have started to work towards getting Willy extra shifts and moving him around a little bit. That was always part of the plan, too. Early on, I wanted to give the lines time to really get going and gain traction.

It is not really sustainable to get those guys the minutes they require over the course of a full game to make the difference you want them to make. You want to be able to have guys complement one another really well, too.

It is a balance for me and for them to spread it out and have support on all those lines while also being able to work together—especially if it is a favourable offensive situation we can capitalize on or if you need a game-breaking goal. We will have to manage that.