It’s been a tough couple of days for coaches in the NHL.
Following Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets bench boss Paul Maurice was fired up and slipped a few profanities into his post-game assessment of his team’s play. The very next night, Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan decided to aim his displeasure at the officials during the Penguins’ 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, and he earned himself a trip to the dressing room for his efforts.
With two minutes remaining in Thursday’s game between the Penguins and Senators, Sullivan seemingly crossed the line with her verbal jabs at the officiating crew and as Ottawa carried the puck up ice, referee Wes McCauley had seen and heard enough. Right in the middle of play, McCauley blew the play dead, headed to the Penguins bench, pointed to Sullivan and made it clear he was tossed:
What exactly caused the ejection is hard to tell, but it appears to have been something that was said following a goaltender interference penalty Justin Schultz took only a dozen seconds earlier. Sullivan didn’t expect to be tossed from the game, though.
“I was probably a little bit surprised, but it is what it is,” Sullivan said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey. “That’s between the refs and the coaches, and that’s where it will stay.”
While it might not have been as fiery as some of the ejections MLB managers have had in the past, it’s worth noting Sullivan’s ejection because it’s quite the rare occurrence.
It’s been nearly a year since the last instance of a coach getting booted from an NHL contest, which just so happened to be when Jets coach Maurice found himself booted for coming out of the dressing room hot at the officials. McCauley was also involved in an incident during the 2015-16 campaign in which he booted former Florida Panthers bench boss Gerard Gallant from a game.
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