3 reasons why Sheldon Keefe failed as Toronto Maple Leafs head coach

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs
3 reasons why Sheldon Keefe failed as Toronto Maple Leafs head coach

The Toronto Maple Leafs fired coach Sheldon Keefe on Thursday after five seasons. Keefe's future with the team was in doubt after Toronto lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs to the Boston Bruins.

The Maple Leafs didn't have much playoff success with Keefe at the helm, so the team decided to make the move.

“Today’s decision was difficult," Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving said in a statement.
"Sheldon is an excellent coach and a great man; however, we determined a new voice is needed to help the team push through to reach our ultimate goal. We thank Sheldon for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last nine years, and wish him and his family all the very best.”

Following Keefe's firing, here are three reasons why he failed in Toronto:


Three reasons why Sheldon Kefee failed in Toronto

#1 Outcoached in the playoffs

The biggest reason for Sheldon Keefe's firing is the fact that he was outcoached in the playoffs.

Jon Cooper outcoached him throughout their playoff series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, as did Jim Montgomery last season. But the worst was Dominic Ducharme in Montreal outcoaching Keefe.

In the playoffs, home-ice advantage is massive, as the visiting team has to put their players out first, so the home coach has a chance to match lines. But Kefee didn't couldn't do that at all, going 16-21 overall in the playoffs.

#2 Not changing lines

Sheldon Keefe was often accused of using the same lines and not making any changes when his team was struggling.

Even in the 2024 playoffs when the power play was struggling, he kept the same unit together, where other teams would make changes to find a spark. Keefe trusted his players too much and didn't make changes when necessary.

#3 Players didn't show up

One of the biggest reasons why Sheldon Kefee failed in Toronto was due to the fact that his star players didn't show up when it counted in the playoffs.

Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Morgan Reilly struggled in the playoffs this season. Moreover, Toronto never had a star goalie during Keefe's tenure, which hurt the team's chances of making the playoffs.

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Edited by Bhargav
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