Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Should be Suspended for Remainder of the Playoffs

Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Tempers were flaring during the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, Toronto Marlies second game of the playoffs on Saturday.

The Utica Comets pounded on the Marlies to even their second-round series at a game each. In what was likely an act of frustration, the Marlies watched on their players step out of line in a big way. This could be bad news for the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect.

Game 1 of the series went to overtime where Joseph Blandisi became the hero for Toronto. He scored the game winner to give the Marlies the series lead. Things were not nearly as positive in Game 2.

With one minute and 11 seconds remaining in the third period of Saturday’s contest, Blandisi was overly aggressive on the boards, trying to lure the Comets into a physical altercation. They didn’t take the bait, but the referees busted Blandisi for his actions, handing the forward a two-minute minor penalty for roughing.

Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Should be Suspended for Playoffs

If things had ended there, it would have been fine. Sadly, they didn’t. Blandisi began jawing with members of the Comets as the linesmen skated in to separate the players and ensure that things didn’t escalate.

Ready to walk away with the 7-2 victory, Utica didn’t get sucked into Blandisi’s games despite his best attempt. One of the linesmen tried to escort Blandisi to the penalty box but the 6’0″, 183 lbs athlete wasn’t immediately interested in acquiescing to the direction he was given. Instead, Blandisi tried to get to the Comets players.

In doing so, with his stick held in both hands, parallel to the ice, he made contact with one of the linesmen. It appeared as though Blandisi was trying to escape the official and was pushing the linesman off by using his stick in hopes to get around and engage physically with Utah.

The referees decided at this point that it wasn’t in their best interest to keep Blandisi in the game so they handed him a 10-minute misconduct penalty and sent him to the dressing room. On the surface, that may seem like a problem, but that should be good news for Blandisi and the Marlies. A misconduct isn’t a time penalty, meaning it doesn’t make a team shorthanded. It also suggests that Blandisi won’t face additional discipline for his actions since he wasn’t given a game misconduct.

The AHL rule book states that “any player who deliberately applies physical force in any manner
against an official, in any manner attempts to injure an official, physically demeans, or deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall receive a game misconduct penalty and the guidelines set out in Rule 40 – Physical Abuse of Officials are to be applied.”

This suggests that the referees didn’t see Blandisi’s actions as physical abuse of an official. As such, the league may not look into this any further. However, the on-ice officials or their supervisor who was present in Toronto for the game may still alert the league to look back on the play and its aftermath.

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The AHL has until May 3 to determine whether Blandisi will serve a suspension. That’s because it’s when the Marlies go to Utica for Game 3.