Keefe said Friday during an appearance on Hockey Central that Galchenyuk’s performance in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime victory over Ottawa didn’t necessarily jump out at him during the game, but he was impressed with what he saw when studying the film.
“I’ve been watching the video on the plane last night and again this morning and you actually see he was quite involved in a lot of different things that helped (John Tavares) and (William Nylander) and that line go,” Keefe said.
Galchenyuk made his Leafs debut last week after being acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes in a February trade and has one assist in three games with Toronto.
“So much work is done through the video because it’s where you can really slow the game down and it moves at a different pace on the bench that you can miss so many things so it’s important we have that video,” Keefe added.
“The energy that he has about him, the competitor that he is, all things we wanted to bring into our dressing room,” Keefe said of Simmonds. “I think he started to develop some really great confidence in his own game and was really starting to solidify himself on our team in in our dressing room. … Unfortunately, he had an unlucky and terrible injury that slowed him down and he’s fighting his way back here now but that’s probably the biggest thing.”
Simmonds missed six weeks and the team went 10-7-1 without him.
“When we lost him, it felt different in our room,” Keefe said. “It felt different on the bench and we had to challenge other people to step up in those areas, so it’s nice to have him back here now. Between he and Jumbo (Joe Thornton) and Zach Bogosian, these guys that have got great personality and energy to them. Then you talk about the poise of T.J. Brodie that he brings and the consistency he has every day, these additions have been very important for us.”
You can hear in the video at the top of the page Keefe’s thoughts on the various intangibles Spezza brings to the team.
The Maple Leafs have won two in a row after dropping six of seven games earlier in March. They are set to host the Oilers Friday and Sunday. Toronto is 5-1-1 against Edmonton so far this season.