Sheldon Keefe being outcoached when Leafs need him most
Sheldon Keefe's decision to leave Michael Bunting out of the Maple Leafs lineup for Game 5 against Tampa Bay backfired as Toronto missed the opportunity to close out the first-round playoff series. Leafs fans are also questioning Keefe's loyalty to Justin Holl, who has been on the ice for 14 goals against through five games with the Lightning.
- Second take away, Sheldon Keefe, a lot of people aren't happy with Sheldon Keefe, man, and just some of the decisions. And at the time, they make sense. Especially when it comes back to, do you put Michael Bunting back in the lineup?
And I guess in hindsight, yeah, it's easy to say like, oh, yeah, he messed up, was the wrong call because they lost the game. Even though there were a lot of factors that go into it, I mean, disciplined or not, Michael Bunting's one of your best players, has 23 goals in the season, another 50-point player.
You leave him out, you don't want to mess with a winning lineup. I get it. They went to Tampa, they won those games. The games that Bunting has been in, they've been winning. Even though they have been outplayed, but hey, they're winning. So maybe it's the whole-- it was a whole, like hey, you don't want to mess with a winning formula.
But hey, the winning formula didn't look perfect. And it showed again. Same mistakes are taking place. But for Keith, in particular, some of the decision making or some of the decisions that he had where it was odd, the Leafs go up 1-0. And then immediately, after he puts the Giordano, Hall pairing on, which hasn't been the greatest.
And they didn't have a great night all together. Like I know a lot of people are focusing on Hall, and we'll get to that later. But Giordano didn't have the perfect night either. His positioning was all out of whack. That was tough. I don't know.
I feel like overall, when it comes to straight coaching, Cooper has had more wins than Keefe even though regardless of the team success. And I think this is another example that the team just can't get anything going in the neutral zone, man. They just can't. And that's when they're at their best when they can really hold on to the puck and skate through the zone, they can't.
Either they have to try to make a stretch pass and try to make a bank pass. They have to try to lob the puck up, dump in chases. And that's not where the Leafs are at their best. And Keefe hasn't been able to make that adjustment to perfect it. And in a game like this, where you think, hey, if you're messing up that much, and now, I'm talking about a whole here, if you're messing up that much, maybe this is a date game or this is a moment where you take a seat.