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When Does It Become Fair To Question The Coach

If you were forced to make 1 major move out of these 2, what you pick?
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Jun. 12 at 11:49 a.m.
#1
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I wanna ask what is ur opinion on TOR’s situation? A lot of fans are debating whether the GM is to blame for recruiting inadequate players, whether the players are not situationally intellectual enough to execute plays at NHL level, whether the players have enough motivation, but I don’t see anyone actively criticizing the coach. I get that it’s easy to assume that TOR players lost focus cuz of how perfectly they executed that game 1 strategy, but could it be possible that after it Tampa adjusted to TOR’s execution tendencies by suffocating those familiar puck carrying routes, passing lanes & retrieval spaces to neutralize to the formation that made them effective in game 1, but Toronto couldn’t adjust? Who do you put bigger blame on for something like this?
Jun. 12 at 11:58 a.m.
#2
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Sorry for the tag guys but just want to hear your thoughts on this topic?
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Jun. 12 at 12:10 p.m.
#3
RIP Ben Stelter
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I don't think we can blame anyone on this years playoff departure. We took the back to back champs who are in the finals to game 7, and were probably one of the hardest teams theyve played in the last few years. People were calling for Jon Cooper's head after the CBJ loss and now look at him. Sometimes you just play the better team.

Now, I wouldnt trade Marner OR fire Keefe. Neither options are appealing, but gun to my head I would fire Keefe. It won't happen because he is Dubas' guy (rightfully so, they have won at every level) and he's just a genuinely good coach, but Marner is so dynamic and still so young. He makes our team 100x times better. There are also some good head coaches out there that coulf replace Keefe. There arent many players that can do what Mitch does.

All and all, I dont think the Leafs should be too dramatic and we are headed in the right direction
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Jun. 12 at 12:12 p.m.
#4
exo2769
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Edited Jun. 12 at 12:41 p.m.
Such a good question imo. Every situation is different. Did things get better or worse from Babs? There's enough blame to go around and it does deserve to be spread around, but in my mind the core issue is something Shanny said years ago. He doesn't look back with fond memories about his contract. He looks back at the cups and bonds he created with his teammates. Shanny spoke those words, but Yzerman was able to turns words into action. I'm not going to say ALL of TBLs contracts were because of Yzerman, but most of those good long term deals were because he convinced quality guys like Stamkos, Kuch, Hedman that winning was worth taking less. For the sake of TOR fans...I hope Matthews/Marner/Nylander learn this lesson from year after year of exits that a little less in contract gets you a deeper team. Dubas/shanny handed out those contracts and those guys hadn't done anything yet.

Also, the whole tax thing is way over played. Florida isn't the only state with no income tax.
Jun. 12 at 12:37 p.m.
#5
Robertson For Calder
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Edited Aug. 3 at 4:03 p.m.
Keefe
Jun. 12 at 12:53 p.m.
#6
too dumb to log off
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neither sounds good
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Jun. 12 at 1:10 p.m.
#7
addicted to sufferin
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Edited Jun. 12 at 1:40 p.m.
I only considered firing Keefe once Kassidy become available TBH.

I think when someone like him has available, you have to consider it.
Marner is too valuable.
Jun. 12 at 1:15 p.m.
#8
LongtimeLeafsufferer
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If the Leafs could get little cap back for Marner, I would say Marner.
I would big critic of Babcock's game management and roster moves........but I'll never understand why Keefe kept out playing Holl and deleting Liljegren from the lineup in the Tampa Bay series.

The really next big decision for the Leafs GM is how to fill the cap space when Nylander. Muzzin and Matthews are no longer Leafs in the summer of 2024

No apologies necessary for tagging me (us). Always enjoy a good debate.
Jun. 12 at 1:19 p.m.
#9
Lambchopz17
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Personally I would do neither but if one was forced I fire Keefe. Better coaches out there on the market rn, tho Keefe is an average to slightly above average coach, and Marner is at worst a top 7 winger and if he keeps up his play the last 2/3s of the season or so, he will push for top 3
Jun. 12 at 1:27 p.m.
#10
Chad of Chads
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First full season under Keefe's teachings Toronto had its best season reaching 115 points

All of this with 3 months of under 0.900 goaltending.

Keefe lead them through some tough times and had them battle hard in the Tampa series

Now for Dubas, he has done all he can at this point

He has brought in guys liks Muzzin, Brodie, Giordano, and drafted guys like Sandin and Liligren for our blue line

Taken gambles in free agency and has so far had a 80% success rate with it

And has added some good prospects to our system

So when you look at it from a logical perspective you cant blame either the coach or gm

At this point its up to the players.

Now the good news is this year they showed a lot of progress and arguably were Tampa's toughest opponents and impressed critics enough to say blowing up this current version of the team would be dumb. Now I do think they need some bottom 6 changes but if they can continue to build off this momentum would not surprise me if next season they finish first and then if all things work out get over the hurdle and go straight to the finals.
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Jun. 12 at 2:58 p.m.
#11
No Patty Kane trades
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Fire Keefe is the pretty easy choice here, especially when the likes of Trotz and Cassidy are on the market.
Jun. 12 at 4:50 p.m.
#12
Leafs Sufferer
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Quoting: LeafsDude
I don't think we can blame anyone on this years playoff departure. We took the back to back champs who are in the finals to game 7, and were probably one of the hardest teams theyve played in the last few years. People were calling for Jon Cooper's head after the CBJ loss and now look at him. Sometimes you just play the better team.

Now, I wouldnt trade Marner OR fire Keefe. Neither options are appealing, but gun to my head I would fire Keefe. It won't happen because he is Dubas' guy (rightfully so, they have won at every level) and he's just a genuinely good coach, but Marner is so dynamic and still so young. He makes our team 100x times better. There are also some good head coaches out there that coulf replace Keefe. There arent many players that can do what Mitch does.

All and all, I dont think the Leafs should be too dramatic and we are headed in the right direction


Don't think I could add anything to this. Pretty well sums it up.
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Jun. 12 at 7:07 p.m.
#13
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Quoting: LeafsDude
I don't think we can blame anyone on this years playoff departure. We took the back to back champs who are in the finals to game 7, and were probably one of the hardest teams theyve played in the last few years. People were calling for Jon Cooper's head after the CBJ loss and now look at him. Sometimes you just play the better team.

Now, I wouldnt trade Marner OR fire Keefe. Neither options are appealing, but gun to my head I would fire Keefe. It won't happen because he is Dubas' guy (rightfully so, they have won at every level) and he's just a genuinely good coach, but Marner is so dynamic and still so young. He makes our team 100x times better. There are also some good head coaches out there that coulf replace Keefe. There arent many players that can do what Mitch does.

All and all, I dont think the Leafs should be too dramatic and we are headed in the right direction


Yeah IDK how they came up with this question but I thought it was very intriguing and I would also pick to keep Marner out of these 2. Yeah tbh I don’t think Keefe has much trouble getting the players motivated, they play hard for him. And when they give up after falling behind, I’m not sure if that’s a weak mentality issue as much as they’re trying to force a game plan that the opposition already neutralized, therefore they skate into trouble and make mistakes after mistake. Like after game 1, Tampa found a way to suffocate the puck carrying routes and passing lanes TOR used to easily gain the zone and progress the puck toward the slot. Yet instead of changing the set up and timing to throw off TB’s forecheckers, they tried to force the same plays, therefore they got stripped to the puck easily and TB would have an easy transition to get a scoring chance.
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Jun. 12 at 7:14 p.m.
#14
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Quoting: exo2769
Such a good question imo. Every situation is different. Did things get better or worse from Babs? There's enough blame to go around and it does deserve to be spread around, but in my mind the core issue is something Shanny said years ago. He doesn't look back with fond memories about his contract. He looks back at the cups and bonds he created with his teammates. Shanny spoke those words, but Yzerman was able to turns words into action. I'm not going to say ALL of TBLs contracts were because of Yzerman, but most of those good long term deals were because he convinced quality guys like Stamkos, Kuch, Hedman that winning was worth taking less. For the sake of TOR fans...I hope Matthews/Marner/Nylander learn this lesson from year after year of exits that a little less in contract gets you a deeper team. Dubas/shanny handed out those contracts and those guys hadn't done anything yet.

Also, the whole tax thing is way over played. Florida isn't the only state with no income tax.


I get that, but I also think we’re past the point of being regretful of spending too much money on those young forwards, hard to argue that they haven’t been worth it. I mean maybe these guys don’t have the passion to win, but it doesn’t look like it on the ice, they sacrifice everything physically for this coach. You can also argue that their large cap percentage means less money to be spent on depth pieces, but they have an expensive defence corps on paper and built the supporting cast using the same philosophy as TBL + PIT, bringing in 3rd to 7th round pedigree guys that are known for their speed, forechecking & defensive awareness. When talent and pedigree is that similar, I think you have to question the coach for the instructions he gives. Most times with an underachieving team, it’s due to the system.
Jun. 12 at 7:14 p.m.
#15
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Quoting: LaffsFan
I wouldn't replace Keefe or trade Marner just yet. But at the same time, Keefe just seems like an average coach.

And I think ur right about, "Tampa adjusted to TOR’s execution tendencies." Keefe just couldn't do the same.


Yeah exactly. He thought his system in game 1 was unstoppable so he tried to force it the rest of the series, but it was inevitable that TB was gonna adapt being as well coached as they were. Like he doesn’t have to change the philosophy of the system, but adjusting little details in how his players execute like the route they take to carry the puck, the passing lanes & what position each player must be in to support. Make it unpredictable for the TB players. What happened in game 7 was that instead of making those adjustments to more efficiently gain the zone and carry the puck towards the slot, they changed the system altogether to play dump and chase which was extremely disorganized & out of sync. I think an elite coach like Sullivan or Bednar adjusts those details, whether they want a transition game or a retrieval based forecheck. Keefe’s been burdened by the same strategy for 3 seasons.
Jun. 12 at 7:22 p.m.
#16
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Quoting: palhal
If the Leafs could get little cap back for Marner, I would say Marner.
I would big critic of Babcock's game management and roster moves........but I'll never understand why Keefe kept out playing Holl and deleting Liljegren from the lineup in the Tampa Bay series.

The really next big decision for the Leafs GM is how to fill the cap space when Nylander. Muzzin and Matthews are no longer Leafs in the summer of 2024

No apologies necessary for tagging me (us). Always enjoy a good debate.


Liljegren was scratched cuz Tampa forecheckers were giving him a hard time making a breakout pass. But scratching him & Sandin once again shows the lack of tactical adaptability of Keefe because a strong coach is able to identify weaknesses in the opposition’s forechecking method & draw out an alternative breakout support for Liljegren to more effectively exit the zone. But Keefe only prefers one particular method & when it doesn’t work, he resorts to lineup changes. At some point we gotta stop blaming the players and question the details of his system.
Jun. 12 at 7:23 p.m.
#17
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Quoting: Lambchopz
Personally I would do neither but if one was forced I fire Keefe. Better coaches out there on the market rn, tho Keefe is an average to slightly above average coach, and Marner is at worst a top 7 winger and if he keeps up his play the last 2/3s of the season or so, he will push for top 3


For me Marner already is the best winger in the NHL this season. Or at least right winger. Maybe Kucherov is better based on playoffs but that proves our point that he shouldn’t be traded.
Jun. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
#18
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Quoting: aadoyle
First full season under Keefe's teachings Toronto had its best season reaching 115 points

All of this with 3 months of under 0.900 goaltending.

Keefe lead them through some tough times and had them battle hard in the Tampa series

Now for Dubas, he has done all he can at this point

He has brought in guys liks Muzzin, Brodie, Giordano, and drafted guys like Sandin and Liligren for our blue line

Taken gambles in free agency and has so far had a 80% success rate with it

And has added some good prospects to our system

So when you look at it from a logical perspective you cant blame either the coach or gm

At this point its up to the players.

Now the good news is this year they showed a lot of progress and arguably were Tampa's toughest opponents and impressed critics enough to say blowing up this current version of the team would be dumb. Now I do think they need some bottom 6 changes but if they can continue to build off this momentum would not surprise me if next season they finish first and then if all things work out get over the hurdle and go straight to the finals.


I’m not saying you’re wrong cuz I also want to change the support cast but I feel like we’ve been doing that every year and if the team performance is not getting better significantly, at some point we gotta stop blaming the players and question the coach for how he executes the system.

Toronto built their depth using the same philosophy as PIT & TBL during those cup runs by recruiting fast & tenacious forecheckers with the willingness to learn the defensive side of the game, most of them 3rd to seventh round pedigree guys. If the players were lazy or unwilling to learn, that’s a player issue. But TOR’s main issue is the ability to execute with efficiency. That screams coaching to me.
Jun. 12 at 8:58 p.m.
#19
exo2769
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Quoting: Analytics_are_good
I get that, but I also think we’re past the point of being regretful of spending too much money on those young forwards, hard to argue that they haven’t been worth it. I mean maybe these guys don’t have the passion to win, but it doesn’t look like it on the ice, they sacrifice everything physically for this coach. You can also argue that their large cap percentage means less money to be spent on depth pieces, but they have an expensive defence corps on paper and built the supporting cast using the same philosophy as TBL + PIT, bringing in 3rd to 7th round pedigree guys that are known for their speed, forechecking & defensive awareness. When talent and pedigree is that similar, I think you have to question the coach for the instructions he gives. Most times with an underachieving team, it’s due to the system.


Yeah, I didn't mean to say coaching was innocent. Just putting out an what I think is a big deal. Marner's $10.9 vs Stamkos $8.5. Matthews $11.6 vs Kuch $9.5. JT $11 vs Point $6.75. That's not the TOR players are bad at all. It's just also acknowledging those TBL players are at least equal in talent and $7.75M gets ALOT.

The TDL moves were a bit different too. Again, not that Gio's bad at all. He just didn't make the same impact that Paul/Hagel made.

So, YES I do hear you that Keefe made mistakes, but the blame truly does deserve to be spread around to coaching, players not being clutch, GM constraints made.
Jun. 12 at 9:22 p.m.
#20
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Quoting: exo2769
Yeah, I didn't mean to say coaching was innocent. Just putting out an what I think is a big deal. Marner's $10.9 vs Stamkos $8.5. Matthews $11.6 vs Kuch $9.5. JT $11 vs Point $6.75. That's not the TOR players are bad at all. It's just also acknowledging those TBL players are at least equal in talent and $7.75M gets ALOT.

The TDL moves were a bit different too. Again, not that Gio's bad at all. He just didn't make the same impact that Paul/Hagel made.

So, YES I do hear you that Keefe made mistakes, but the blame truly does deserve to be spread around to coaching, players not being clutch, GM constraints made.


For sure it’s a collective effort. But that 7.8 million in cap space, TOR is spending almost the same amount as TBL on defence & forward depth. The main difference is they don’t have a generational goalie like Vasilevsky, but goaltending wasn’t an issue these 2 playoffs so I’m not fixating on that. I just think when you have a team of players with similar pedigree to TBL (possibly more), there should be more burden on the coach to generate results. Especially when this is a team consisting of the exact players that he wants. We’ve seen coaches like Sullivan work with reclamation projects on defence and overage AHL forwards & get them to win the cup.
Jun. 13 at 1:50 a.m.
#21
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Thanks for tagging me on this topic.

I think Keefe is doing things only slightly better than Babcock was during his time with the team. Babcock's lack of in-game adjustments was very evident and even frustrating and so the comparison here in that area is kind of the same for me.

When you have home ice advantage and can't find ways to get Matthews or Marner (not necessarily together) away from some of the matchups Tampa, Montreal and Columbus wanted, as a coach that's on you.

Now, about Marner specifically: I had a conversation with a friend on Marner and he pointed out that even though the effort is there 100% of the time, the results are not necessarily great. What did he mean by that? He gave a few examples and I'll share one here. He said that on the powerplay, Marner just is not as effective as he would be if this roster had a threatening shot from the point. He went onto say that makes Marner less effective because teams just focus on locking down passes to Matthews and suddenly Marner loses the leverage of being dangerous on the powerplay. I thought alot about this point in particular and the more I think about it, the more glaring it seems.

Now what I'd like players to think about for the rest of the off-season: is scoring 60 goals important? Is racking up 100+ points important? Is winning games 7-6 important vs winning games 3-1? Is winning playoff rounds important? At what point do you put team success ahead of personal success? This is directly questions for Matthews and Marner because they wanted to play with each other through this past season. Perhaps that hurt the team overall, perhaps it didn't. Something to think about.
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Jun. 13 at 2:01 p.m.
#22
Zach
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I don't think you fire Keefe, especially after this year. He has proven time in and time out that he has been successful with this team, he took a team who had below .900 save percentage for half the season and brought them into the second seed in their division. That is pretty impressive.

Does he make some questionable decisions come playoff time? Ya for sure. But he also has made some good ones that really paid off. He took a team that has won back-to-back cups and is on the verge of a three peat to the brink of elimination and if it wasn't for a questionable call that waived a goal off Toronto could just as easily be in the finals right now. If by next year Toronto doesn't win a couple rounds then you start looking at the coach. We only have a year until Matthews can sign an extension and two more until his contract expires. We got to give him every possible reason to want to stay. Auston has had his best seasons under Keefe and getting rid of him after a record setting season is stupid.

In respect to Mitch: trading him will only make the team worse. There are just a handful of players I would trade for Mitch and it probably won't even be worth it. He has incredible chemistry with the best goal scorer in the league, he is one of the top passers in the league, can play the pk and pp and can score 30+ goals. Trading him is something the team would regret for years to come. I was all on the trade Marner trade last year, but this playoffs he's shown a major improvement and more confidence.

There is no easy fix for this team, but I do not see a world where any of the top 5 guys are traded. The only person I see any possibility is Nylander and even that could be a problem unless you are getting a big return back. What probably ends up happening is adding one or two new defensemen (trading Muzzin to NJ or LA) and getting one or two new goalies. And obviously some new additions to the bottom 6
 
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