Leafs coach takes a shot at recently traded winger

T. Tadi
March 3, 2023  (4:42 PM)

The Toronto Maple Leafs emerged victorious with a hard-fought 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. Head coach Sheldon Keefe shared some noteworthy comments during his post-game press conference.

Keefe commended the team's newly acquired players for their determination and competitive spirit, emphasizing their importance in building a team that prioritizes physicality and toughness, particularly in the bottom six forward positions.
Following the game, Keefe credited the team's success to their willingness to battle along the boards, absorb heavy hits, and safeguard their net, which demonstrated their gritty play and competitive edge. Keefe singled out Acciari and Lafferty, the newly acquired players, for their tenacity and willingness to fight for possession of the puck. Additionally, he acknowledged O'Reilly for his ability to maintain control of the game in the third period and secure the victory.
The recent trade involving Pierre Engvall, who was sent to the New York Islanders for a third-round pick, aligns with the team's focus on physicality and toughness. Engvall was criticized for his lack of physicality and inability to compete for the puck along the boards.
«Guys defended really hard. Once we had the lead, I thought we just protected our net well. Looking at some of the plays where we advanced pucks, we took some real hard hits tonight in that third period to advance the play.

That is what it takes. Acciari and Lafferty were two players who stood out to me for really contesting pucks on the wall to get those out. That is what it takes to win. That is why you acquire those guys. The puck is in question on the wall, you know you are going to take a big hit, and the puck advances. It gets out.

Those are the kinds of things that help you win. I thought O'Reilly was a clinic in the third period in terms of taking care of the game and helping get the win."