Ryan O'Reilly Breaks His Silence Regarding Maple Leafs' Second Round Exit

Joe El-Khoury
June 9, 2023  (5:30 PM)

There's a certain level of know-how involved in hoisting the Stanley Cup, and Ryan O'Reilly is no stranger to it. He has tasted the pinnacle of success with the St. Louis Blues back in 2019, earning himself the coveted Conn Smythe Trophy for his exceptional performance during the playoffs.

O'Reilly, usually diplomatic in his conversations, appeared to blend his acceptance of the loss as a player with subtle hints of there being more profound, stylistic reasons contributing to the team's defeat.
This led to an intriguing question - if the team had the potential to fare better, what became their Achilles heel? The logical inference leads to the man behind the bench - Keefe.
Recently, O'Reilly was invited for a chat on TSN's Overdrive, where he opened up about the Leafs' disappointing exit in the 2nd round of the playoffs. His sentiments raised quite a few eyebrows and sparked a discussion around the coaching techniques of Sheldon Keefe.
"We kind of dug ourselves a hole quick and didn't respond. There are so many things we could have done differently. It's frustrating. We could have given that series a better chance. That's just the way the game goes sometimes. When you get into these moments where it's challenging, you have to find a way to pull something out of each other and find a way to give a bit more. Against Tampa, we did that.. again - there are so many things we could have done differently." - O'Reilly
O'Reilly's remarks seem to suggest dissatisfaction with Keefe's in-game strategy, insinuating that this frustration might be a significant factor if he decides to explore free agency.
Analyzing O'Reilly's subtly critical observations, it's apparent that Keefe's tactics did not sit well with him. The consequences of this disapproval might be far-reaching, possibly stirring the waters of the upcoming free agency.
It also makes us wonder, which other playoffs in the Maple Leafs' locker room feel the same way and are looking at the exit?