Sheldon Keefe had to baby Mitch Marner according to insider

Mark Parsons
June 13, 2024  (2:16 PM)

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner
Photo credit: Sportsnet

An insider has shed light on the dynamics between former head coach Sheldon Keefe and Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Mitch Marner, confirming the long-standing rumors about their relationship.

For years, there has been speculation about Marner's ability to handle the pressures of being a Maple Leaf, particularly when dealing with the media. Critics have labeled him as sensitive, unable to cope with pressure, and even arrogant at times. According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, Keefe had to adjust his communication style to accommodate Marner's sensitive nature, a point fans have been making for years.

Marner treated with kid gloves by Sheldon Keefe

Friedman revealed that Keefe was extremely cautious in his treatment of Marner, highlighting the player's delicate disposition. This revelation has raised concerns about Marner's ability to endure another season in Toronto, given the intense pressure that comes with playing in such a high-profile market.
Elliotte Friedman says Sheldon Keefe was extremely careful about how he treated Marner because of how sensitive Marner is. If that's the case, I don't know how Marner thinks he will put up with the pressure of another season in Toronto. I'm so sick of this situation.

Marner's perceived inability to block out the noise and pressure has been a recurring theme. Critics argue that his irritability, immaturity, and unapproachability make him difficult to coach. It's no surprise that Keefe seemed more relaxed after his departure, as managing Marner's sensitivities appeared to be a challenging task.

Time will tell if a new coach is the answer

The question now is how Marner will fare under new head coach Craig Berube. If he struggled with Keefe, it's hard to imagine him thriving under Berube's potentially tougher approach. Marner's talent is undeniable, but his critics argue that if he can't handle the scrutiny in a market like Toronto, perhaps he shouldn't be playing there.
In the NHL, the ultimate goal is to win. If a head coach has to coddle a player, it reflects more on the player's weaknesses than on the coach's methods. For Marner, the scrutiny comes with the territory, and adapting to it is crucial for his success in the league. See the whole interview below:

Source: Blade of Steel
Insider reveals Sheldon Keefe had to give Marner special treatment
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Sheldon Keefe had to baby Mitch Marner according to insider

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