Sheldon Keefe has been the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs since November 20th, 2019, when he took over from former head coach Mike Babcock after Babcock was fired by the Maple Leafs’ president Brendan Shanahan.
Keefe Has a Great Coaching Start
During Keefe’s first 20 games as head coach of the Maple Leafs, the team’s record was 15-4-1, which was the best start over his first 20 games that any new Maple Leafs’ head coach has had in the entire 103-year history of this great Original Six franchise.
However, the Maple Leafs eventually suffered a disappointing loss in the play-in round of the 2020 playoffs. Sadly for the team, it was the fourth straight season team hadn’t moved past the first round of the playoffs.
Keefe and Dubas Have Built a Stronger Team this Season
However, this season Maple Leafs’ fans are hoping for something different. The Maple Leafs currently sit at the head of the North Division after getting out of the gate quickly. Although the team has suffered three straight losses as I write this post, they remain in first place.
Keefe has, with his long-time partner general manager Kyle Dubas, put together a strong and interesting team. It’s made up of (1) a small core of really elite hockey players; (2) a group of older veterans who have signed on for bargain-basement one-year contracts because they see the Maple Leafs as a strong team with a chance at winning a Stanley Cup – and that’s something that has eluded them; and, (3) a group of depth players – many of whom also are signed at lower-valued contracts as well.
What Does Veteran Defenseman Zach Bogosian Think About Keefe as a Coach?
One of the new-this-season veteran players on the team is defenseman Zach Bogosian, who’s had a long career in the NHL. Bogosian, similar to many other veteran teammates like Jason Spezza, Wayne Simmonds, and Joe Thornton have signed for one season.
Given that Bogosian has played for a number of head coaches during his career, in the video below he talks about evaluating Keefe as a unique head coach. Basically, Bogosian is asked what makes Keefe different.
Bogosian Speaks about Keefe’s Characteristics
In the video below you can see Bogosian’s answer.
Bogosian Thinks about His Answer
The specific question the interviewer asked was: “What makes Sheldon Keefe a unique head coach in the NHL?”
Prior to his answer, Bogosian had to think about it a bit. He admits this is a difficult question.
However, the first thing he notes is that Keefe is really good at communicating with the guys. Bogosian believes that fact probably has something to do with Keefe being younger in terms of the other head coaches that he is played for. He also agrees that it’s been fun to get to know him and play for him.
Still, Bogosian believes every head coach is unique in the way they put a spin on things.
Coach Keefe Demands a Solid Work Ethic
Finally, Bogosian answers the question. One thing he says – and perhaps this isn’t so different but it did impress the veteran defenseman – is that he believes Keefe “wears his work boots to work every single day.” He also believes that work ethic rubs off on the members of the team.
Obviously, when you’re an NHL hockey coach, you’ve played NHL hockey yourself, and your practices take place on a sheet of ice, you’re probably not actually wearing work boots. However, the metaphor is well taken.
Keefe expects his players to work hard every night, and Bogosian believes that’s one reason the team has been so successful thus far in the season.
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