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Florida Panthers Coach Paul Maurice Fined $25K for Criticizing Officials



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Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice, pictured on the bench in Sunrise during the 2022-23 season, was fined by the NHL for his comments critical of the league and its officiating following Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the host Toronto Maple Leafs. — Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice was fined $25,000 for comments made about the officiating in the team’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

The Panthers were assessed nine minor penalties and were shorthanded seven times while allowing two power play goals in the loss.

“There will always be penalties that you take in a game here,” Maurice said. “But there is a whole lot you’re not going to like at all. We had the inordinate share of those hard-to-describe the calls. …

“I don’t know what the hell those two were doing tonight. It certainly wasn’t Florida Panther friendly.”

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There were several questionable calls made throughout the game that did not go Florida’s way.

It started with a phantom hooking call on Ryan Lomberg where he made a play on the puck before his stick made contact with the opposing player’s body.

Maurice was shouting at the officials with what he said was “lots of energy, excitement, profanity.”

It did not get much better for Maurice and the Panthers from there.

Sam Bennett was given a high-sticking call on a play he was tied up with John Tavares on with a slash on the Maple Leafs captain going uncalled and was later called for a phantom interference penalty for moving goaltender Ilya Samsonov’s loose stick away from the crease.

To the credit of the referees, it was reviewed and later reversed to a Toronto penalty after it was found that Timothy Liljegren was the guilty party.

Everything came to a head late in the second period when Radko Gudas was given a charging penalty for finishing a check on Zac Aston-Reese near the Florida goal crease.

Auston Matthews scored on that power play seconds later to bring the Maple Leafs back within a goal and swing the momentum Toronto’s way going into the third.

“I just explained to them that it had nothing to do with my players,” Maurice said when asked what he told his team in the second intermission.

“It has to do with a relationship I have with one of the referees. That’s what that was all about.”

That referee is assumed to be Francois St. Laurent, who Maurice has a lengthy history dating years back to his time with the Winnipeg Jets.

Maurice was ejected from a game and fined in 2016 for berating St. Laurent after Winnipeg’s Bryan Little was injured on a hit from Anton Stralman.

There was no penalty on the play and Little missed the remainder of the season with a fractured neck.

St. Laurent was spotted laughing at Maurice after he ejected him from that game.



  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Bell Center, Montreal
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 3-1
  • This season (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 7, Canadiens 2 (Dec. 29)
  • All-time regular season series: Florida leads 52-38-11, 6 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday vs. Minnesota, 6 p.m.

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