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Maple Leafs’ Coach Keefe: It Sucks, But We’re Right Where We Should Be

The Toronto Maple Leafs were not supposed to be in Game 7, but they are. Why does coach Sheldon Keefe think it’s a great opportunity?

I know it’s odd to start a post on the Toronto Maple Leafs with a photo of the Montreal Canadiens’ players cheering and honoring the crowd, but it struck me that it would be a similar event in Toronto tonight if the Maple Leafs won. For the first time, the team will have 550 fully-vaccinated health care workers in attendance. Maple Leafs fans have to hope the crowd spurs their team on.

Sheldon Keefe Slept on It, and …

It sounds as if the Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe had a good night’s rest. And, as he reported to the Toronto media today, he believes the Maple Leafs are exactly “where we’re supposed to be’ heading into Game 7.”

Related: Maple Leafs Will Need Push of Tavares Round 2 Return to Win Game 7

In the video below, Keefe talks about what he believes the Maple Leafs’ overall mentality should be as the team heads into Monday’s crucial Game 7 against the Canadiens.

It Took Him a Night to Believe It, But What an Opportunity

When Keefe was in the plane coming home to Toronto, he admitted to being a bit down. However, he also couldn’t help but think about what the core group of the Maple Leafs had been through before.

Obviously, the team this season is different with a lot of different and new people. And Keefe noted just that when he admitted that “this particular group of players on this team is its own unit and separate from anything that’s happened in the past.”

Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner - NHL Trade Rumors
Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner – Part of the Maple Leafs’ Core

The Maple Leafs’ Core Group Has Been Through a Lot Together

Then Keefe also noted that “However, there’s people in this group that have been through a lot here and are now trying to break through this type of situation.” Deep beneath that statement was the fact that they had not been successful – yet.

So, as Keefe notes, “As much as it sucks how we got here, and what we’ve been through during the last couple games, and we hate it, I really feel that we are right where we’re supposed to be.”

Related: Maple Leafs’ Alex Galchenyuk’s Down, Up, and Down Playoff Series

The Problems the Maple Leafs Are Facing

Keefe then went on to outline the problems the team were facing. First, he said that “We’re facing a game seven situation that’s a very difficult task.” Second, he noted that “It’s a time when the other team has momentum.” Finally, he also noted that “It’s a time when you start to question yourself and people on the outside doubt and question you.”

But, as Keefe noted, “We have an opportunity here in Game 7 to embrace that, meet that head on, and push through it.”

Keefe added that “I think it’s an incredible opportunity for our team.”

And, as he told the media, “I woke up this morning and was extremely excited for our group.”

How will he wake up Tuesday is also a big question.

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