NHL tough guy Pat Maroon thinks ‘the game is going the wrong way
After a tough divisional loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on home ice Monday, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Patrick Maroon took an opportunity to suggest some key NHL rule changes.
Maroon and Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds were each assessed 10-minute misconducts for having a spirited conversation on the bench during the first period. Simmonds appeared to take it in stride, while Maroon vocally complained all the way to the box — and beyond.
“This game is going the wrong way,” Maroon said via The Athletic’s Joe Smith. “I guess you can’t chirp each other on the bench now. I guess that is illegal. I guess it is better to watch 1980s hockey when guys are chirping each other but I don’t know why they did that.”
It’s an interesting take from Maroon. He’s certainly benefited during this era as a bottom-six forward who can provide uncanny secondary scoring when the games matter the most, having won three consecutive Stanley Cups with the St. Louis Blues and Lightning, respectively. But anytime we can throw on some classic games, we’re all for it!
More confusing was Maroon’s alleged suggestion that Simmonds would be out of the NHL next year. Both players were taken in the 2007 draft, and have performed better than their draft expectations, while Simmonds broke the 1,000-game plateau earlier this year. Maroon has marginally outperformed Simmonds this season but considering both players have squared off against each other since their shared tenures in the Ontario Hockey League, it’s a critique that’s seemingly out of left field.
In truth, the dual misconduct penalties were a footnote as Auston Matthews notched a hat trick in what could be the defining game of his Hart Trophy-worthy campaign, as the Maple Leafs earned a 6-2 victory. Perhaps Maroon will have fewer suggestions for league reform if the Lightning resumes their winning ways against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.