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Sheldon Keefe on the incident that injured Noel Acciari in the Leafs’ win over Carolina: "It should be a penalty… It is tough to lose a player on a play like that"



Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs post game

Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes which improved the Leafs’ record to 41-18-9.

On the team’s success against a team that is so hard to play against at both nets:

I thought the guys boxed out well. There were a few tips that they got their sticks on for sure and Sammy was really strong on. I thought the guys defended well. We blocked some shots and discouraged a few. We did enough to keep them away from the net.

They got two goals off of some breakdowns in our coverage that we need to do a better job on. For the most part, I thought we did a really good job defensively.

I thought we moved the puck really well coming out of our end tonight, which has been an issue for us in recent games. Tonight, we are playing against a team that is maybe the hardest in the league to come out of the zone against.

It was certainly an area of focus in yesterday’s practice and coming into today. I thought the D responded very, very well with how they moved. I thought they just got us moving up the rink very nicely against a team that is normally quite difficult to do so against.

On the team responding well despite some tough calls from the officials:

The penalty kill responded really, really well. Whether it was coming out to start the second period or in the third period, obviously, if the PK doesn’t do a job, it changes the game significantly.

Our power play got one opportunity and made good on it. Special teams were a major factor in the game tonight. I thought we just played a really smart game against a very good team.

On the incident that knocked Noel Acciari out of the game and Acciari’s current status:

It should be a penalty. It is tough to lose a player like that on a play like that. The refs saw it differently.

In terms of an update, he is not going to travel with us. He won’t be available tomorrow. In terms of what happens going forward, we will have to see. He was in the room. He handed off the belt tonight to the other guys — to Reeser.

He seems like he is doing alright, but clearly, he couldn’t come back in the game. That is concerning.

On the bottom six coming through with a couple of goals from Zach Aston-Reese:


Huge goals. That first goal — first of all, Gustafsson makes an excellent play to be able to get to a spot and clear the lane to get it there. Reeser gets a stick on it. That is a huge goal to get us started.

At a time when they had scored and now the game is in the balance a little bit in terms of momentum, Lafferty takes a puck, and you can see his separation speed to get into good ice. Reeser really worked to get to the back post. Those guys connected. It is a big goal for us.

Mitch scored a huge goal on the power play. The goal that Auston gets for us is a big goal. Seeing Morgan shoot it in the net like that again tonight is really good. Great initiative by him to jump into that good ice and get to that spot.

On Luke Schenn’s reception from the crowd after a big hit in the third period:

It was great. He hasn’t played, and it is his first game at home. There is a lot going on for him, right? It was his first game at home, and I am sure there are a lot of emotions attached to that as he has spoken about. He made it very clear how much it means to him to be back here.

He also hasn’t played. He has had one practice with us. There has been a lot going on here. He is going to continue to get better.

That was a great moment. He had some good moments in the game. Certainly, to bring the physicality there at an important time with the penalty kill and such… It was great to see the crowd react and give him that.

On the lineup decisions for tomorrow after finishing the game with just 10 forwards:

As we talked about, we are going with 12 and 6. We are going to stay with that. Even with losing Acciari, that is our plan. We will look and see what we have for tomorrow, how guys wake up, manage it, and see if we have to adjust our plan at all.

This morning, I told Holl he was playing tomorrow. I told Simmonds he was playing tomorrow. Those guys are definitely going in. It just so happens we have an injury. We would’ve brought Simmer in anyway.

Those guys will be ready. We will make any adjustments we need to once we see where we are at exactly.

On using both goalies down the stretch:

We want two goalies to be ready, push each other, and feel good. We want a team playing well in front of them. It is a back-to-back. Our team has done well in back-to-backs this season for the most part.

We have a very hungry Ottawa team that gave it to us pretty good in here the last time we saw them. It is going to be a challenging game tomorrow. Our team is going to need to be really good in front of Matt.

It is a great opportunity for Matt to go in and keep his game going. As I talked about before, I think he has played well since coming back. He hasn’t had the results the way he would like them to show up on the stat sheet, but I have liked his game and his process. Tomorrow is another chance for him to put it on display.



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Canadiens Forward Mike Hoffman Calls Out Department Of Safety



Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman is not a happy camper.

The 33-year-old forward took to Instagram to discuss the recent one-game suspension of Boston Bruins forward A.J. Greer.

Hoffman, freshly decorated with a gnarly battle scar after the ridiculous cross-check by Greer during Thursday night’s matchup between the Canadiens and the Bruins, expressed his concern with the lack of consistency from the NHL’s Department Of Player Safety.

“I’ve gotten a two-game suspension for cross-checking a guy in the back of the helmet,” said a wound-muffled Hoffman. “A full-blown, intentional cross-check to the face? One game. Hmmm.”


Hoffman’s message was clear: the standard has dropped in recent years, especially if we compare the decision made on Friday to the decision made in 2016 when Hoffman was suspended for two games after his cross-check rode up Logan Couture’s back and hit him in the helmet.

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That’s not to say Hoffman did not deserve a suspension. If anything, the ruling at the time was a step toward erring on the side of caution when brain injuries were in play, putting an onus on player safety in a spot that oftentimes forgets about the well-being of its employees.

Greer’s cross-check, on the other hand, was about as blatant as it gets, leaving a trail of blood behind the Canadiens forward as he quickly exited the ice.

There was some tomfoolery prior to the faceoff, perhaps even a little kerfuffle, but there’s no justifying a blatant cross-check which resulted in an injury.

By handing down a one-game suspension, the Department of Player Safety deemed Greer’s attack three times less severe than accidentally spitting on an opponent, which carries a three-game suspension in the NHL.

Hoffman returned to the game in the third period sporting a full birdcage, and though he did not miss significant time, he clearly did not appreciate the lack of safety provided by the NHL’s Department Of Misnomers.


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Szeryk, Jutanugarn, Shin share lead at Superstition Mountain



GOLD CANYON, Ariz. (AP) — Jenny Shin of South Korea had a run of five straight birdies to close out her front nine on the way to a 5-under 67 on Friday and shared the lead with Maddie Szeryk of Canada and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand after two rounds of the LPGA Drive on Championship.

Jutanugarn raced up the leaderboard, following an opening 67 with a bogey-free 7-under 65 that included an eagle and five birdies. Szeryk pieced together a round that included an eagle and six birdies, including one on her final hole, while Shin used seven birdies to offset two bogeys to get to 12-under 132 at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in the LPGA’s first full-field event of the year.

American Lilia Vu shot a 6 under and was a stroke off the lead, while South Korea’s Na Rin An (67) and American Alison Lee (69) were tied for fifth place at 10 under.

No. 3-ranked Jin Young Ko, a winner two weeks ago in Singapore, had a second-round 65 and was among eight players tied for seventh place at 9 under on the crowded leaderboard.


The event marks the debut of the tour’s new cut policy. The cutline after 36 holes includes the top 65 players and ties advancing to the weekend. Previously, the top 70 players and ties advanced to the final rounds.

The cutline fell at 3 under, with 76 players advancing. Two of the big names missing the cut included three-time major winner Anna Nordqvist of Sweden and two-time major champion Brook Henderson of Canada, both at 1 under.

Shin, looking for her first win since 2016, overcame a sluggish bogey-birdie-par-bogey start to the second round and then went on a birdie tear on Nos. 14 through 18, her front nine, to get to 11 under. She went bogey free on her back nine and added a birdie at the par-4 third hole to get to 12 under.

Shin said she was surprised by unexpected swirling wind at the start of her round, and didn’t immediately realize her string of birdies.

“The bogey on the first hole didn’t help,” the 30-year-old said. “I was like, ‘Oh, no. Here we go again.’ I stayed calm. I try not to get in my head too much. … So I didn’t know I was doing five in a row until I just checked the scorecard. So it’s a good thing that I didn’t know.”

The highlight of Jutanugarn’s round was her eagle at No. 7, where she hit a good drive that finished on the cart path. After a drop, she got a favorable bounce on her second shot that settled on the back of the green, and she made the putt for an eagle 3.

“The next two days just trying to go out and have fun and do what I should do, what is under my control,” the 2013 rookie of the year and two-time tour winner said. “I think, of course, it’s more fun when you feel like you’re in contention.”

The 26-year-old Szeryk, in her second year on tour after a rookie campaign that included making five cuts in 14 events in 2022, sees being tied for the lead after 36 holes — and whatever follows — as a learning experience.

“It’s so amazing to be back in this position because I love being out here and I’m just so thankful to God to have another opportunity to be out here and to really compete with the best players, she said. “But I’m just on such a high.

“Just really excited for what the weekend has in store. … But it was great to see those putts go in and make those birdies coming down the stretch.”

Second-ranked Nelly Korda, the highest-ranked player in the field with No. 1 Lydia Ko not competing, followed an opening 70 with a 66 and was among those tied for 15th at 8 under.

Also at 8 under was Yuka Saso, but her route to a tie for 15th was highlighted by her first albatross, when she made a 2 on the 492-yard, par-5 second hole.

Saso used a hybrid from 217 yards ou t on her second shot and knew the approach was online with the pin.

“I mean, we didn’t really know where it landed and where it finishes, so we were just walking to the green and everyone started clapping,” she said. “But my ball wasn’t on the green so I was like, why are they clapping? Is it over? Why is everyone clapping if it’s not on the green?”

It turns out her playing partner, Sei Young Kim, looked into the hole and let her know it was in.

“It was one of my dreams to get one, but we all know how hard it is to get one,” Saso said. “They say you’re lucky if you ever get one in your golf career. I guess I was very lucky to have it.”


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Bruins F Greer suspended one game for cross-checking Habs F Hoffman



Boston Bruins forward AJ Greer has been suspended one game by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for cross-checking Montreal Canadiens winger Mike Hoffman on Thursday night.

The incident occurred in the first period of Thursday’s 4-2 Bruins win over the Canadiens when the two players were battling prior to a faceoff, which resulted in Greer cross-checking Hoffman in the face.

Greer received a five-minute major for cross-checking and a game misconduct, while Hoffman briefly left the game with an injury but returned in the second period.

Greer, 26, has five goals and 11 points in 52 games this season.


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