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In wake of Leafs playoffs failures, Sheldon Keefe starts ‘fresh’ in New Jersey

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Looking back at his five years and six playoff rounds, Sheldon Keefe told his audience, “I’m a far better coach than when I arrived in the NHL.” 

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But, if true and if that experience is to be built upon, it’s the New Jersey Devils who’ll benefit, not the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Keefe gave his optimistic opinion at Tuesday’s introductory press conference at the Prudential Center in Newark to begin a four-year contract, a “fresh start” after the latest post-season setback resulted in his firing from the Leafs. 


Keefe, the 22nd coach in Devils history, was the 21st in Toronto since Punch Imlach most recently won the Cup in 1967. He had more resources than most of his Leafs predecessors, including all-star forwards and a multi-major trophy winner in Auston Matthews.


But great regular seasons, including a club-record three consecutive 100-point campaigns, ended in agonizing deaths in the playoffs, four times in the first round, all in deciding games. 

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