Referees Didn’t Protect the Toronto Maple Leafs in Sunday’s Loss

The Winnipeg Jets proved to the hockey community on Sunday night that they are a disgrace to hockey after what they did to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

For the first time in what felt like forever, the Toronto Maple Leafs lost a game in regulation. What’s even more surprising than that, is the disrespect they received from the Winnipeg Jets and the referees, who should be ashamed of themselves.

The NHL needs to protect their best players more and if you think every player should be treated equally, you’re wrong. When Auston Matthews is being dragged across the ice by Pierre-Luc Dubois, the referee standing one foot away from them should do something about it.

The referee just sat there and watched Dubois jump on Matthews back, and instead of giving the Leafs a power-play, they both ended up with matching penalties.

I can understand Dubois being a goon and trying to get under Matthews’ skin, but the referee needs to jump in and protect the best goal-scorer in the league. Matthews is a big boy and can protect himself most of the time, but in that instance, he was in a vulnerable position and that roughhousing never needed to happen.

 Wake Up, NHL

The Toronto Maple Leafs went down 5-1 and the game seemed out of reach, which was fine. The team has been on an absolute heater lately and was playing in a back-to-back after a tough shootout loss the night before, so losing a game like this was enviable.

However, it never should have gotten this rough.

When the Leafs destroy teams, it doesn’t turn into a brawl. They control possession, let the clock run out and take the win. The Jets went the other way with it. They let the game turn into a street-fight and it potentially cost Toronto one of their best defenseman.

Neal Poink never should have hit Rasmus Sandin the way he did. He took him out knee-on-knee which is one of the worst hits in hockey. Besides getting hit from behind, that’s the biggest cheap-shot that a player can do, but Poink probably won’t be disciplined as much as Jason Spezza will be. (Editor’s Note: Jason Spezza offered in-person hearing, meaning it will be five games minimum. Pionk was not given an in-person hearing).

The veteran took exception from Poink’s hit and destroyed him with a huge hit that led to a brawl. It was an awesome display of leadership to show the team they he cares about Sandin and doesn’t appreciate the knee.

The game was going sideways and every fan watching saw it happening. Instead of slowing the game down and keeping everyone safe, the referees let this garbage happen and they should all be ashamed.

Thank god for someone like Spezza who stuck up for his teammate, but that type of garbage should never have happened. Wayne Simmonds, along with Kyle Clifford and Nick Ritchie also got into the action to show their toughness for their teammates, but as Auston Matthews said after the game, this was a “gong show” that never should have happened.

I love toughness and think fighting belongs in the game, but only in the heat of passion. The referees should have done a way better job at protecting everyone on the ice last night and that type of behavior is unacceptable.

Hopefully Sandin isn’t too seriously hurt, but all of that stuff could have been avoided if the referees did their job better and didn’t let the game get out of hand. Leafs fans should be happy with how their team responded and stuck up for one another, but that type of stuff shouldn’t happen in today’s game.