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Toronto Maple Leafs coach suggests referees are treating player unfairly
Put on your tin foil hats: there's another conspiracy involving the Toronto Maple Leafs and their treatment from the NHL.
4-on-4— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 3, 2023
Bunting is crosschecked but is called for unsportsmanlike conduct pic.twitter.com/URBiOS67tB
In the second period of Sunday's game against the Detroit Red Wings, a 5-2 loss for Toronto, Leafs forward Michael Bunting was assessed both a two minute penalty for embellishment after receiving a series of cross checks, and then later was given a ten-minute misconduct by the officials while skating away from a scrum and kicking one of his opponent's sticks along the ice.
And while his coach might not have been the biggest fan of the calls, he likened it to a recent trend against Bunting.
"Surprised? I mean, based on the way that he has been officiated of late, I am not surprised at all," Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said about Bunting's treatment. "He eats three crosschecks, and he ends up taken to the box with it. He had four or five punches to the face in the scrum, and he ends up with a 10-minute misconduct."
Bunting got a 10-minute misconduct for this? pic.twitter.com/lR9igun7ha— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 3, 2023
But while Keefe isn't exactly a fan of the officials or how they've treated Bunting, he says it's more on Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas to raise his voice to the NHL.
"Bunts has to do his best to stay on the line. In terms of how he has been officiated, Kyle [Dubas] will deal with that with the league," Keefe added. "It is tough for him. He has to find his way through that."
While Bunting has taken more penalties than last season (38 to 32), he's still at a net positive when it comes to how many he's drawn, as per Sportsnet's Luke Fox.
Michael Bunting— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) April 3, 2023
2021-22: 45 penalties drawn, 32 taken, net +13
2022-23: 40 penalties drawn, 38 taken, net +2
Keefe, who was fined $25,000 for "demeaning conduct directed at the officials" back in a December game against St. Louis, reiterated that it's not exactly Bunting's problem to solve how the referees call his player.
"Kyle will deal with the other stuff and see what we can get done there. Bunts has to be able to stay focused and keep playing," Keefe added.
The Leafs return to home ice tomorrow, when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. ET. for their Pride night.
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
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