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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Paul Maurice Goes Off On the Florida Panthers. It Worked.



Florida panthers
Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice gestures during the third period of a game against the Blues in December. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

SUNRISE — Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice insists he was not upset with his team Tuesday night.

But a little butt kicking was needed, and Maurice knows how to push some buttons when it comes to that.

So, down 1-0 in Game 5 of the Panthers’ second-round series against the Bruins, Maurice used a television timeout to get his message across.

Watching it in real-time was a treat as Florida equipment manager Teddy Richards seemed as enthralled by the rant as fans sitting in the primo seats did.

“I don’t know the exact words of my message,” Maurice said following Florida’s 2-1 loss to the Bruins.

“I wasn’t mad, I understood what they were going through. I just thought they needed some profanity in their life. And I brought some. I don’t excel in a lot of things in life, but F- me, I am good at that.”

He is, indeed.

Maurice may have dropped as many expletives in his postgame press conference as he did on the bench Tuesday.

While the reporters laughed, the Panthers responded.

On the shift following Maurice’s tirade, Sam Bennett hopped on a loose puck and rifled it past Jeremy Swayman to make it a 1-1 game.

Florida gave up the g0-ahead goal moments later, one Maurice challenged for interference, and the Panthers got nothing else past Swayman.

The Panthers ended up losing and will head back to Boston up 3-2 in the series.

“That just upped the intensity a little bit,” Reinhart said. “Quicker to support, work the puck a little more. I thought it turned our game a little bit.’’

Said captain Sasha Barkov: “I don’t think he was yelling, he was just trying to get the point through to us that we need to play harder, need to enjoy it, just play our game. We were just sitting back, watching what was happening.’’

This was not the first time Maurice went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs on his team during a break in the action.

It probably will not be the last.

Last March, with his team sleepwalking in a must-win game against the Maple Leafs, Maurice challenged a Toronto goal.

He sort of knew it was going to be pulled off the board, but no matter; the Panthers were not playing well enough to beat the Leafs and stay in the playoff mix.

Florida ended up winning that game in overtime and it was the first of six straight victories which put them in the 2023 playoffs.

What was said then was a lot more salty — and pointed — than what his message on Tuesday.

”You don’t want to know,” Barkov said with a grin following that win in Toronto.

“It definitely got us going, we started playing the right way. I guess against that team and in our situation, we cannot make any cute plays and play you are outdoors or something. … He has been in the league for a long time for a reason and knows how to get things going when needed.’’

Maurice took a risk by tearing into his team the way he did, but it worked then.

”It was not calculated,” he said. “I was just honest. That’s where I was at. …

“If I could have yelled louder or … been a bit more profane than I was, I would have. I am not gifted enough. I needed to channel my father who is a gifted curser. That was all I had. I was honest, that’s how I felt. There was nothing beyond the expletive.

“It was more of a cleanse for the coach. It was cathartic.”

Tuesday night, in the postgame presser, Maurice was just having fun.

He was not happy with his team losing.

After all, by beating Boston on Tuesday and the Panthers would be in the Eastern Conference final for the second straight year.

Now, they have to go back to Boston.

“This is energy from a game you lose,’’ Maurice said. “The world wants you to drag your ass in here, and I refuse to do it. I didn’t like our game tonight, I’m not lying. But I had a lot of coffee before the game, so, this is what you get.’’

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Cory Brolund

Dallas / Florida final would be a blast

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