coach Keefe
Photo credit: JACK BOLAND

Keefe makes a controversial late scratch in Leafs playoffs

Published May 3, 2024 at 7:03

As the Toronto Maple Leafs brace themselves for a crucial elimination game at home against the Boston Bruins, the atmosphere is fraught with tension and high stakes.

Historically, the Leafs' performance on home ice during the playoffs has been less than stellar, and tonight's game carries the weight of recent failures.

In a surprising turn of events, Ryan Reaves, known for his physical play and ability to energize both the crowd and his teammates, was benched by Coach Sheldon Keefe.

This decision came despite Reaves' spirited effort to rally the team after a victorious Game 5 on the road, which brought the series back to Toronto with a renewed hope. His exclusion from the lineup has sparked a wave of criticism among fans and commentators alike, particularly after his passionate interview intended to boost team morale. The full interview and fans' reactions can be found at

Reaves, not typically a skill player, has nonetheless proven that even in limited ice time, he can significantly impact the game by leveraging the home crowd's energy with hard hits and potential fights.

His absence raises concerns about the Leafs' ability to handle the Bruins' tough players, like Patrick Maroon, who may now feel emboldened to play more aggressively.

Criticism of Coach Keefe is mounting, as his playoff record on home ice is a dismal 5-14. The stakes for Keefe couldn't be higher; without a dramatic turnaround in this series, his tenure in Toronto could be in jeopardy. The choice to prioritize speed in the lineup by playing Gregor over Reaves is a gamble that could define his coaching legacy.

The Leafs are also facing the challenge without star player Auston Matthews, adding to the already daunting task of overcoming a Bruins team known for its resilience and playoff prowess. Tonight, the Leafs stand at a crossroads: either stage an unexpected comeback or face a potential overhaul of the roster and management.

In essence, the pressure is immense, but it's precisely these high-pressure situations that can either forge a team's legacy or break it. As the city holds its breath, the Leafs have a golden opportunity to turn the tide in their favor, against all odds.
May 3   |   146 answers
Keefe makes a controversial late scratch in Leafs playoffs

Do you think Reaves should be included in the lineup?

In the lineup, he's an emotional player3926.7 %
Not in lineup, he's not good8961 %
See Results1812.3 %
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