Ejections are relatively commonplace in Major League Baseball. In the NHL, however, not so much.
Don’t tell that to Paul Maurice.
The Winnipeg Jets head coach made an early exit Thursday night, as he was ejected before the start of the third period of his team’s eventual loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It all started late in the second period when Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman laid out Winnipeg’s Bryan Little as Little stumbled through the neutral zone. Little appeared to trip, and as he was falling to the ice, Stralman caught him in the head with a nasty-looking hit.
Little’s teammate, Blake Wheeler, immediately went after Stralman to defend his teammate. When it was all said and done, Wheeler received a double-minor, and Stralman was given only a minor penalty. The discrepancy incensed Maurice, who clearly felt Stralman deserved a harsher punishment.
The period eventually ended, and a second and third look at the play during intermission didn’t change Maurice’s mind about the play. As soon as he came out for the third period, he continued to yell at the officials. The crew eventually had heard enough, and Maurice was ejected.
“I was upset because you work with these guys every day,” Maurice told reporters after the game, per The Associated Press. “You care about them, you care about their wives, their families. Bryan Little is getting his neck X-rayed and I seem to be considerably more concerned about the result of that hit than anyone else.”
Winnipeg did play some inspired hockey after the hit and the eventual ejection. The Jets scored four times in the third period, eventually pushing the game to overtime before losing in a shootout.
There wasn’t much of an update on Little, though he did travel with the team after the game.
Thumbnail photo via Bruce Fedyck/USA TODAY Sports Images