Toronto Maple Leafs Lose Game Because NHL Officiating Is a Joke

Referee Michael Markovic #47 calls play between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Referee Michael Markovic #47 calls play between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost for the second time this season to the Arizona Coyotes last night.

And for the second time, the Toronto Maple Leafs absolutely demolished an inferior team, but this time they could not overcome the staggering incompetent of NHL referees.

If you didn’t happen to catch the game, you’d be excused for continuing to talk about the Leafs shoddy defense.

But really, the Leafs defense is fine. They have good nights, they have bad nights. At the end of the day, the team is ranked 5th in the league at 5v5 expected-goals percentage, meaning that only four other teams play a better combination of offense and defense.

In addition, the Leaf are also a top ranked penalty killing team, so all this talk about their defense is confirmation bias – essentially people are seeing what they want to see.

The Leafs could replay last night’s game a hundred times with a minor league goalie and still win the vast, vast majority of them.  Petr Mrazek just played like garbage and somehow it still took the worst officiating job in NHL history to make the Leafs lose. That’s the entire game story.

Sure we could talk about the debut of Erik Kallgren, another Matthews’ goal, a great comeback, the way this team never quits, etc. etc. etc.  But instead we have to talk about the refs.

Toronto Maple Leafs Lose to Referees.

Auston Matthews scored a goal, Michael Bunting turned in another stellar performance, Alex Kerfoot had three points, the Leafs top line had a nearly 80% Corsi.  

It was the kind of game you’ll almost never lose.

And it’s also the kind of game that isn’t worth being upset about.  The Leafs will rarely ever get goaltending this bad in the future, even if they let Mrazek play every game from here on out.  Goalies go up, goalies go down, and the game going on in front of them has only a tiny correlation to their performance.

Oh and did I mention that the referees were complete and utter embarrassments in this game?

The officiating was so horrible that the Leafs should honestly protest the results of this game.

Someone smarter than I am would have to explain how an NHL team at any time, in any game, could go 60 minutes without a penalty.  It shouldn’t even be possible.   But furthermore, how can a team possess the puck for 71% of a game, while outshooting their opponent 37-21, and not draw a single penalty?

It’s blatant incompetence.

Much like how Auston Matthews doesn’t ever draw penalties.  It’s incomprehensible, unintelligible and antithetical to common sense, let alone everything the eye beholds.

The NHL has long had bad officiating, but after last night it has entered into the realm of total incompetency.  After somehow not calling between seven and fifteen penalties against Arizona last night, the NHL should probably investigate the integrity of last night’s officials.  Far be it for me to suggest anything untoward, because I’m not.  The NHL officials are just really bad, but I don’t actually believe they are cooked, but :

How that can happen right in front of a referee who is calling the came objectively and go uncalled is something I do not understand.  If that guy is on the level, it’s the officiating version of Patrick Stefan missing an empty net.

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If a player had a game that bad, he’d play the next game in the AHL. There has to be some kind of standard that the officials are held to.  The NHL did not look like a professional league last night, and it was embarrassing.