As a young Marlies team sets out on their first road trip of this young AHL season, head coach Sheldon Keefe is content with what he’s seen on the ice in a 3-1-0 start.
What he hears though, leaves something to be desired.
Simply put, he wants his players to get loud on the ice.
“Especially in the early part of the year, when there’s a lot of chaos, a lot of thinking going on, more so than there would be as the season really gets rolling, we need guys to talk to each other,” said Keefe, after a practice at the MasterCard Centre on Thursday. “Let them know what’s available and help them think, make the game easier for them.”
On-ice communication is one thing that might not jump out from afar, but it must be done at the highest level of the game where plays happen so fast, there’s not a lot of time to scan visually for an option.
As it is, this is something Keefe is looking for from his team, no matter how shy one might be.
“Sometimes I think it’s personality, some guys just don’t like to talk, don’t like to put themselves out there, they’re not loud,” he said. “That’s something you’re always on them about, but it is very important and it does make the game easier for everyone.
“You essentially get an extra set of eyes, there’s so much that’s happens in a game where you can’t see it or your back is turned and you’re in the battle, you need some help out there.”
With the Marlies about to kick off three-straight road games in three nights, as is the life of an AHL franchise, Toronto spent much of the week’s practice time working on their special teams.
They’re currently in the middle of the pack having scored three times on 18 opportunities, but an 0 for 6 performance hurt them in last Sunday’s loss to the Albany Devils.
“We’re just looking for them to be in the right spots, that’s the first thing, starting with our breakout and come in and enter together the way we want to be, and just be organized,” said Keefe. “If we’re organized I think we got enough skill that things will take care of themselves, but when we’re unorganized and on our own page, it’s easy to defend against us or anybody.”
Fans can expect to see Josh Leivo back in the lineup at some point this weekend, especially now that the club will be without centre Byron Froese, who was called up to the Maple Leafs on Friday morning.
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) October 23, 2015
Also of note, Frank Corrado should make his Marlies debut after the Maple Leafs sent him to the team on a conditioning loan. Corrado was claimed off of waivers from the Vancouver Canucks earlier in the year but has yet to play in a game so far.