Article at a glance:
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Sheldon Keefe has kept believing his first full training camp as coach would get the Maple Leafs properly wired to start a long season.
Six games in, there has been a major disconnect between the coach, his unproductive stars and even the foot soldiers. A terrible 48 hours ended with a 7-1 Saturday night slaughter in Pittsburgh, an undermanned home side jumping on the listless Leafs.
It followed a 5-3 loss to San Jose and dropped Toronto’s record to 2-3-1. Keefe sat first line right winger Nick Ritchie on Friday, but expanded the dog house to breaking up Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in Saturday’s final period.
“The biggest thing to manage now is the mood and the belief in the group,” said Keefe, who was committed to a plan to take Sunday off to travel to Carolina. “It’s easy to start doubting and questioning when thing aren’t going your way. The difficult thing is to dig in, realize the league is very good and if you cut corners, even one bit, teams make you pay.
“It’s tough playing from behind. We’re doing it too much lately, but this one got away from us quickly.”
Game highlights are below...