Thursday was an odd day. For the first time, I was personally excited for a random road game in Arizona. It had nothing to do with it being Auston Matthews’ hometown or of it being the first game before Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot return to Colorado. It was the beginning of a new era: The Chief Keefe Era.
Brigs had a pointed post a few days ago about the Leafs not being fun anymore. Of course, he wasn’t only talking about their on-ice play, but it was a big part of it. That Leafs team, that Leafs game, was fun.
They weren’t a defensive wall or anything, in fact Frederik Andersen had to make a number of key saves. However, Tyson Barrie scoring his first of the season and Pierre Engvall scoring the first of his career (I can still hear Hardev’s screaming) was exciting. Jason Spezza looked more upbeat, Auston Matthews played his skates off, and Alexander Kerfoot apparently drinks Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches in shake form.
There was one thing that stood out to me personally, and it was the look of the bench. Brendan Shanahan mentioned how the players looked frustrated in this last stretch and that changed to cheers and waves of catharsis.
It could be hyperbolic to say this is all because of Sheldon Keefe. The Leafs may have already been on the rise, but this team looks energized and ready to really start having some fun.
In Case You Missed It
How easy will it be to fix the Maple Leafs? - Pension Plan Puppets
My secret thoughts on the New, Improved Toronto Maple Leafs
PPP Roundtable: Sheldon Keefe edition - Pension Plan Puppets
It seems like we just aired out our thoughts about a day ago. Here we are again.
Sheldon Keefe and family. pic.twitter.com/7V7Jf762bY— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 21, 2019
Around the Hockey World
Carter Verhaeghe’s start is similar to Mathieu Joseph’s so why is the fan response different? - Raw Charge
There’s still hope that it’ll get better for Verhaeghe.
Matt Duchene is not the Nashville Predators’ salvation—and that’s not his fault - On the Forecheck
The Predators have been "just one more forward" away for years.
I’m Sorry for Loving the 90s - St. Louis Game Time
The Clown Suits Were Part of Childhood — and What a Childhood It Was for Us ‘90s Kids
Babs to the Bone: Mike Babcock is not your guy, Predators fans - On the Forecheck
You’re unhappy with Laviolette, but Babcock is not the shiny new toy available just in time to stuff your Christmas stocking.