Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was ejected by referee Wes McCauley during Thursday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Bolts’ bench boss was furious after a post-whistle scrum resulted in a two-man advantage for the Penguins, then leading 3-1. Tampa’s Corey Perry was given two minor penalties for roughing; his teammate, Anthony Cirelli, also picked up a roughing minor. Pittsburgh picked up roughing minors to Bryan Rust and Mark Friedman, putting the Penguins on the power play.
Cooper unloaded on the officials. Just before the linesman was about to drop the puck, referee Wes McCauley decided he’d heard enough. He handed out a minor penalty to Cooper for Abuse of Officials and ejected him from the game.
Here’s the Abuse of Officials rule that cost the Lightning a minor penalty plus a game for their coach.
39.3 Bench Minor Penalty – A bench minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed under this rule for … any Coach or non-playing person who uses obscene, profane or abusive language or gesture directed at an on or off-ice official or uses the name of any official coupled with any vociferous remarks.
39.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – Game misconduct penalties shall be assessed under this rule … when a player, Coach or non-playing person uses obscene, profane or abusive language or gesture directed at any on or off-ice official or uses the name of any official coupled with any vociferous remarks, after already being assessed a bench minor penalty (39.3 (ii)), this Coach or non-playing person is to be assessed a game misconduct and the situation reported to the Commissioner for further action.
We’ll wait and see if Bettman and Hockey Ops levy any additional penalties.
Cooper can expect a phone call to discuss the situation, with a warning, at minimum. He didn’t do himself any favors with his post-game comments.
“That team, for some reason, they’re by far the lowest penalized team in the league,” said Cooper. “I’m not sure why, but they are.”
Thursday’s officiating crew was McCauley with fellow referee Brad Meier and linesmen Trent Knorr and Kyle Flemington.
This isn’t McCauley’s first time tossing a coach. He ejected Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan back in 2017 for arguing a goaltender interference call. Sullivan was behind the opposing bench tonight.