The Toronto Maple Leafs caused a minor sensation when forward Kasperi Kapanen was made a healthy scratch for Saturday night’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Kapanen has been oft-rumoured as a trade piece and, with the trade deadline approaching on February 24th, many wondered Kapanen’s time in the organization had come to an end.
Sheldon Keefe said Kasperi Kapanen did not play due to “internal accountability.” One-time thing. Made a decision about it this morning.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 2, 2020
Nothing further from Keefe on it. Said we’ll talk to Kapanen.
What exactly Kasperi Kapanen did, we do not know and may only find out when Kapanen tells us...or maybe never. All we know is that it came to the Leafs’ attention on Friday, and the judicious minds in the organization took some time to process things.
When was decision on Kapanen made?— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 2, 2020
Keefe: "We had chatted about it yesterday a little bit & then made our decision. I wanted to sleep on it & we met with Kappy this morning & went from there."
Did he miss a meeting?
"You guys will get a chance to talk to Kappy on Monday"
The Leafs seemed to generate an unusual amount of drama with this. If the decision were made this morning, it would have been easy enough to let reporters know Kapanen was not playing rather than letting everyone find it out by his absence from pre-game warmups. Once it was clear he was sitting out, it would also have been easy to give the vague explanation as to why at that point, rather than do what the Leafs did—to tell everyone all would be explained after the game and leave it ambiguous for two and a half hours. This was what we got at the time:
Kasperi Kapanen is indeed scratched tonight. Sheldon Keefe will enlighten us as to why after the game.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 2, 2020
And now we’ll have until Monday to meditate on what Kappy might have done. For a punishment citing “internal accountability” the Leafs seem to have really drummed up some external accountability to go with it.
Despite Kapanen’s absence, the Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators in overtime, 2-1.