What the Toronto Maple Leafs Players Have Said About Their Coaches

Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs – Frederik Andersen (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images) /

After the first game under Keefe, fresh off beating the Arizona Coyotes, Leafs were once again questioned about everything that had just gone down. The Leafs Nation Network was able to collect great sound from the players, quoted below.

Tyson Barrie

On How His Style of Play Has Changed with the Coaching Change

"I think I’ve done a good job jumping [into the rush] in the past and choosing some holes it’s kind of what I’m accustomed to. I think our whole team was a little more aggressive and had a little bit more speed to the neutral zone. I think we had a lot of fun out there tonight and I think it showed. I think anytime a coach gets let go it means you’re obviously not meeting expectations. [Keefe] came in with a really fresh attitude and we all know that we haven’t met expectations and it wasn’t good enough. We needed to be better and we kind of felt excited, it was kind of like a fresh start. He was really positive and made a couple changes that really helped us big time."

On His Week Since News Broke

From practice the next morning, Tyson Barrie once again spoke to reporters.

"It’s been a whirlwind [week]. Lots of change and then we bring Sheldon in and lots of emotion in that. . . It’s been a crazy week, but a fun one."

Frederik Andersen and Alexander Kerfoot also made themselves available at the practice to answer questions from the press.

Frederik Andersen

On the Near Future of the Maple Leafs

"I don’t want to start talking too much . . . It’s going to be a testing time now to keep moving and keep moving forward off of this and build on it."

Alexander Kerfoot

"I don’t think there was any problem with communication before Sheldon or after Sheldon. This organization is really good with that and Sheldon’s no different. Coming in here as a new coach, obviously, midseason, there’s lots of things going on."

What We Learned

These quotes speak more to what wasn’t said rather than what was. Frederik Andersen held his cards close to his vest. There are many possible reasons why so it’s difficult to speculate why he wasn’t interested in sharing openly.

Alexander Kerfoot addressed the idea that Babcock’s communication with players was lacking. The speedy winger came to the coach’s defense without being overly direct. His responses were similar to Andersen’s in that it appeared as though he didn’t want to give too much information away.

Barrie didn’t take the same approach. He seemed eager to let the media know that he felt that there was now a greater opportunity to activate his offense. This sentiment happens to have also been proven to hold weight. There have been two games played under Sheldon Keefe. In those pair of matches, Barrie has scored two goals. In the previous 23 games with Babcock, he had none.

It has aided the defenseman to now be allowed to play a similar style to what he was doing in Colorado. Barrie said as much in a circuitous fashion, also adding that he’s also now having “fun”.

It’s never pleasant to see someone lose their job. It’s not something one should hope for. All that we the fans can do now, is hope that the change has been for the better for everyone involved, including Babcock. Perhaps now, the players will have more fun.

Next. Twitter's Reaction to Mike Babcock's Firing. dark

Time will tell how the team does under its new head coach. The Toronto Maple Leafs will look to turn things around. Meanwhile, it’s anyone’s guess what’s next for Babcock.