Toronto Maple Leafs Matthew Knies Leaves Game After Dirty Play
During the first period of Thursday night’s Game 2 between the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs Matthew Knies was taken down awkwardly behind the net by Sam Bennett which would eventually lead to the rookie forward being removed from the game.
With 8:37 remaining in the first period and the Maple Leafs leading 2-1 on the scoreboard and 13-4 in the shots advantage, Knies and Bennett collided behind the net. Bennett was carrying the puck around and the Maple Leafs forward was attempting to separate the Panthers forward from the puck.
During the collision, Bennett disregarded the puck and wrapped his arm around Knies’s neck and then continued on by using a wrestling-type throw-down. Knies would be left shaken up when he struggled to get to the bench and eventually would not return after the first intermission.
When asked after the game about the incident, Bennett stated “he tried to hit me, jump out of the way, he got tied up in my arm there, that was pretty much it.” At no point did Knies jump out of the way, Bennett just closed-lined him and wrestled him to the game. But similar to what Keefe stated about Tampa Bay in the first round, they know how to manipulate the referees.
The Maple Leafs were dominating the game and received the first two powerplays, which in the NHL means the Panthers are free to do pretty much whatever they want. As such, there was no call on the play and the Maple Leafs were left without one of their top forwards for the foreseeable future.
The Maple Leafs lost a key player when Sam Bennett knocked out rookie Matthew Knies on a questionable taken down
Some might say that this is just tough playoff hockey, but in what fashion was any of this incident a “hockey play”? After the game, Sheldon Keefe stated “We don’t have an update on his status, he didn’t complete the game so that’s not a positive.” (source David Alter).
Many believed that Knies would be able to jump into the NHL at some level of play, but no one predicted that he would be this impactful. Through six games and one period, Knies has collected four points, including his first career goal in Game 1 of the series.
The series does get two days off before Game 3 goes on Sunday night and we can hope Knies is healthy enough to be back in the line-up.