Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice shared some choice words about the officiating after his team went to the penalty kill seven times in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs:
How would you describe a game like that?
Maurice: There will be lots of energy, excitement, and profanity. We can’t use most of the words. I am proud of our guys here tonight. They flew us out to the west coast, flew us back, flew us home, and flew us out here back-to-back. And then they threw those two [refs] at us. I thought we hung in there pretty good. I am proud of our group.
What stands out to you in regard to some of the penalty calls?
Maurice: There will always be penalties in a game that you earn. There will be a bunch you don’t like at all. I thought we had an inordinate share of those.
It is hard to describe the call. Usually, they have enough there to argue and come over to say, “Hey, the stick got up.” Radko Gudas threw as clean of a hit as you can level — stick on stick, body on body. It is not a charge. They are both going in the same direction.
No problem with the guy going to the net at all. That is hockey. I don’t know what the hell those guys are doing tonight, but it wasn’t Florida Panther-friendly.
What do you tell your team in a game like that with so many penalties and then the whistles going away in the third period?
Maurice: I just explained to the players that it has nothing to do with the players. It has to do with the relationship between me and one of the referees. That is what that is all about. Just go out, keep your mouth shut, and play the game.
In the other dressing room, Sheldon Keefe called the charging penalty on Radko Gudas a case of the calls “evening out.” Zach Aston-Reese was assessed a minor penalty for roughing earlier in the period after the Leafs forward jumped Gudas following the Panthers defenseman’s hip check on Pierre Engvall, which Keefe labeled “pretty dangerous.”
Gudas gets low and sticks the hip out on Engvall
Aston-Reese has something to say about it pic.twitter.com/oDIUVBLyeh
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
The two teams will play each other three more times later in the season — all inside a two-and-a-half week span between March 23 and April 10.