Keefe: Leafs can deal with Habs hex and move on

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The shadow of the Montreal Canadiens clouded Sheldon Keefe’s summer season and so they’ll be prime of thoughts by three exhibition video games, the season opener in a number of weeks and common schedule play proper into April.


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However the coach of the Maple Leafs is cautious to delineate the surprising letdown towards them within the playoffs to what these video games now imply in 2021-22.

“Two various things,” Keefe stated previous to Saturday’s match, which comes nearly 4 months for the reason that painful handshake line in Recreation 7. “There may be (studying) the flexibility to complete the job, to keep up who you’re and what you have got the flexibility to do.

“However the different piece of it’s that we are able to’t neglect we’re an excellent hockey crew and we completed quite a lot of nice issues final season. As a lot as we all know we failed, we have been in place to win a playoff sequence due to what we’d finished.

“Then we misplaced three video games in 5 days. That’s actuality, we’ve got to stay with that. However we are able to’t throw out all the great issues. It’s a brand new season, we’re turning the web page, specializing in the current, re-establishing the issues that labored for us and elevating the usual in that sense.”


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Captain John Tavares was to play in his first heavy scrimmage since his grotesque Recreation 1 damage in that sequence, however he, too, put the occasion into perspective. He confused rejuvenation over revenge because the motivator for himself and a Toronto lineup sprinkled with newcomers.

“We don’t take a look at this as altering a complete lot of what went on final 12 months,” Tavares stated of Saturday and past. “We have now to give attention to what we wish to do.”

Tavares, who nonetheless can’t deliver himself to observe replays of the bang-bang hits from Corey Perry and Ben Chiarot that put him out chilly and injured his knee, says he’s making an attempt not to consider the incident as he faces his first contact. He didn’t imagine there was intent to injure and each Canadiens texted their concern about his restoration within the days following him being stretchered off the Scotiabank Enviornment ice.


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Quiet Alex Kerfoot discovered himself the centre of social media exercise late final July when supposed proof of his departure to the Seattle Kraken got here by a flying flounder.

As a part of the comedic gown rehearsals for the disclosing of their enlargement draft roster, the Kraken had leaked video of a Public Market fishmonger dealing with the ‘catch of day’ that exposed the centre was their decide from Toronto.

“I positive did see it,” laughed Kerfoot, who stayed a Leaf when Jared McCann turned out to be the precise decide. “However I don’t know if I loved it. Fairly effectively all my telephone contacts despatched it to me. It was a day of feelings.”

Kerfoot had been assured by common supervisor Kyle Dubas that he wouldn’t be taken.


Saturday’s recreation noticed the primary recreation auditions for potential new left and proper wingers after Zach Hyman, Alex Galchenyuk and Joe Thornton departed by the low season.


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Tavares was set to be flanked by Michael Bunting and Joshua Ho-Sang, with Kerfoot between Ilya Mikheyev and William Nylander. Nick Robertson and Kurtis Gabriel are additionally making an attempt out on the left aspect with varied veterans.

Tavares says working with Bunting reminds him of the tenacity Matt Moulson dropped at their Islanders crew a number of years in the past and likes Ho-Sang, who’s making an attempt to revive his profession after it stalled with the identical membership, seems.

“(Ho-Sang) is extra snug in his pores and skin with a greater understanding of how issues go at this stage. He’s finished quite a lot of good work at our facility the previous six or eight weeks.”

Nonetheless to debut, doubtless in Monday’s return match on the Bell Centre, are Nick Ritchie (an early favorite to see time with Mitch Marner and finally, the injured Auston Matthews), Nikita Gusev, Ondrej Kase and centre David Kampf.


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“I feel it’s nice,” Kerfoot stated of the brand new blood. “It’s important to are available in and have an excellent camp whoever you’re, whether or not within the league or developing. It’s important to show your self and also you wish to be pushed. You may’t have a nasty camp by any means.”

In line with NHL guidelines to decorate a sure quota of veterans to placate ticket consumers, defencemen Jake Muzzin and TJ Brodie have been partnering Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin, respectively, on Saturday.


Keefe didn’t play down Tavares’ return to a recreation scenario after what had appeared frighteningly like a long-term damage. “It’s very lucky the best way it’s labored out, not solely that he’s able to play tonight, however that might’ve been so much worse. He’s put in an incredible quantity of labor to get right here immediately ans this (first recreation) is one final little field to examine” … Saturday was the primary of six exhibitions versus Montreal and Ottawa and Keefe hinted at a seventh, a Blue and White intrasquad, probably subsequent week … The Leafs introduced Saturday that Sherbrooke, Que.-born defenceman William Villeneuve, a fourth-round decide and QMJHL second-team all-star from the Saint John Sea Canines, had signed a three-year entry-level contract … Brodie on being teamed with the like-minded up-and-coming Sandin: “A talented participant, simple to play with, makes good breakouts.”



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