The Toronto Maple Leafs wanted more physical presence in their squad this summer, and they got it in the form of Ryan Reaves.
‘Reavo’ is one of the NHL’s greatest enforcers, known for his tough style of play and his ability to always get under his opponent’s skin, as well as for always putting his body on the line. However, his start as a Leaf hasn’t been what fans expected.
Reaves has only scored one goal this season in Toronto and has been in and out of the lineup for the last couple of weeks.
Reaves didn’t feature in this weekend’s 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, but head coach Sheldon Keefe thought he was just what the team needed against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
The Panthers, known for their aggressiveness, combined with the Senators for 167 penalty minutes on Monday night in Ottawa, and with Reaves in the lineup, they hoped to respond better to the Panthers’ aggressive checking.
Reaves, who played only his second game since Nov. 10, had 7:15 of time on the ice, zero shots, eleven shifts, and a +1 in the plus/minus rating.
Reaves did, however, contribute to his team when Toronto was called for too many men with 5.4 seconds left in the third.
Cameras spotted Ryan Reaves turning to head coach Sheldon Keefe, seemingly offering to sit out the penalty. But Keefe declined.
As many have pointed out on social media, Reaves sitting out the penalty would mean he would play in the following overtime when the penalty clock ran out.
Reaves is a lot of things, but he’s not the most technically gifted player and not the fastest one, so him playing in a four-on-four in overtime wasn’t perhaps the best idea.
When Reaves and Keefe realized that, they both laughed on the bench. Fans on social media found the moment absolutely wholesome and hilarious.
“Keefe doesn’t want Reaves to be the guy jumping out of the box in OT lol,” one user on Reddit said.
“Pretty sure it looks like Keefe actually calls Reavo, but then Reavo points out ‘I’m gonna be out in overtime,’ and Keefe switches guys and thanks Reavo for pointing it out,” another said.