Maple Leafs’ Keefe calls out slumping Nylander to select up tempo, engagement


Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe has seen sufficient.

Or, relating to the latest play of William Nylander, not practically sufficient.

The gifted ahead has gone three video games with no level, throughout which his engagement has dropped off. It’s solely the second time in 2022-23 that Nylander has produced zeroes on offence in three consecutive video games.

Keefe has been down this street earlier than with Nylander, the place the participant has required a verbal kick within the butt to get again on observe. It appeared that Nylander had labored these types of lapses out of his recreation, however apparently, he’s not all the best way there but.

“He and I’ve talked about this,” Keefe stated on Monday earlier than the staff departed for New York, the place a recreation towards the Islanders on Tuesday is the begin to a four-game journey. “I simply discover when the puck is hitting his stick, his ft aren’t transferring to the identical diploma on attacking. There’s much more perimeter, much more eliminating the puck.

“I would like him to hold on to it. I would like him to problem. I would like him to be on the assault. I wish to see numerous tempo from him. That’s when he’s at his finest. Get again to doing that. It’s been too lengthy since we’ve seen that persistently from him. However as we’ve seen by a lot of the season, it’s definitely there.”

Nylander stays in second in Leafs scoring with 79 factors in 69 video games and has set a career-high with 35 objectives. Yet another level will equal his profession excessive. That makes his newest swoon a bit extra puzzling.

Keefe is maintaining Nylander on a line with Sam Lafferty at centre and Bobby McMann on the left, a trio that labored collectively on Saturday in Ottawa towards the Senators within the Leafs’ 5-4 shootout win.

“Taking part in him extra with guys who’re going to skate and transfer their ft, he could be the man that actually drives issues,” Keefe stated. “That’s actually the concept and it’s nothing a lot past that.”

Keefe stored Alex Kerfoot and Calle Jarnkrok on Auston Matthews’ wings, and likewise maintained the road of John Tavares between Michael Bunting and Mitch Marner.

The fourth line noticed a reunion of David Kampf between Zach Aston-Reese and Noel Acciari. The latter returned after not taking part in in Ottawa.


If Acciari is holding any arduous emotions towards Carolina Hurricanes ahead Jesse Puljujarvi, there was no proof of that on Monday.

Acciari resumed practising and deliberate to play in New York after he needed to depart the sport on Friday following a collision with Puljujarvi within the first interval.

“I watched it a few instances,” Acciari stated. “He was making an attempt to carry the road, I used to be making an attempt to backcheck and he caught me off-guard when he put his palms up. That’s all.

“It’s a hockey play and simply should get previous it. It wasn’t something main. I’m able to get again on the market.”

Acciari missed the sport towards Ottawa for precautionary causes.

“Simply didn’t really feel proper,” Acciari stated. “The coaching workers, medical doctors, teaching workers, everybody was good about it. We simply needed to make it possible for I felt one of the best I can and taking these additional couple of days undoubtedly helped.”


Can one shootout purpose carry some confidence to Alex Kerfoot? “Hopefully, yeah,” Kerfoot stated. “It’s good to see one hit the again of the online. Haven’t seen one hit the again of the online shortly. Hopefully, that’ll be an indication of issues to come back.”

When Kerfoot slipped the puck between the legs of Sens goalie Mads Sogaard on Saturday, the Leafs ahead ended the nine-round shootout in Toronto’s favour.

Kerfoot has not scored in 24 video games, along with his earlier purpose approaching Jan. 17 towards Florida. Regardless of taking part in in the entire Leafs’ 69 video games, Kerfoot has simply seven objectives.


Ahead Nick Robertson was again on the ice on Monday as his lengthy restoration from shoulder surgical procedure, which was executed in January, continues. The 21-year-old winger, who was damage in a recreation on Dec. 8, did some gentle skating as his teammates practised on a special pad on the Ford Efficiency Centre. When the surgical procedure was introduced, the Leafs stated it was season-ending … With Ilya Samsonov quickly to be a dad, Keefe indicated that Lafferty is also anticipating a child quickly … The Toronto Marlies signed defenceman Jonny Tychonick to a two-year American Hockey League contract by the 2023-24 season. The 23-year-old Tychonick, a local of Calgary, had 26 factors in 35 video games this season for the College of Nebraska-Omaha. He initially was drafted by Ottawa within the second spherical of the 2018 NHL draft.

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