Bunting's willingness to sacrifice himself praised by teammates, coach

Published April 12, 2022 at 11:46
BY BEN HODGSON
Michael Bunting has been so fun to watch this season. The 26-year-old currently leads all rookies in points, and though his goal scoring has dried up lately, he is still loved by his teammates for the way he goes about his business. Bunting's ability to enrage opponents into taking dumb penalties is both helpful and hilarious. Bunting takes a beating in service of the Leafs, but according to the man himself, that's the fun part.

Asked about his dust up with Chris Wideman during Saturday's game against the Canadiens, Bunting refused to reveal what he had said to Wideman:

We'll leave that between me & him. That's hockey & that's fun.




If getting punched in the face is fun for him, more power to the Scarborough native. Bunting took a 2-minute roughing penalty on the play, while Wideman took a double minor and received a 10-minute misconduct. That's a win for Bunting, and if it means taking a punch, that's fine by him. Mitch Marner was eager to sing Bunting's praises after the game.

He's taking an ass beating in front. He's just getting destroyed in front & he loves doing it. I mean, he's from Scarborough. Anyone who knows Scarborough, they're not afraid to get dirty.

-Mitch Marner on Michael Bunting

Bunting's willingness to not only step into, but create altercations, is infectious. Sheldon Keefe was quoted this season saying that Bunting has the ability to drag the rest of the team into the fight. A catalyst like that is incredibly valuable come playoff time. If the Leafs come out flat, look for Bunting's mouth to start moving as fast as his feet until someone finally gets sick of him. Its that ability to get under opponents skin that, to me, makes Bunting a better fit with the Leafs than even Zach Hyman was.

What sets Bunting apart from other members of the team is that he invites and enjoys those little skirmishes. The fact that being hit in the face and abused in front of the net is his idea of fun makes him invaluable to his teammates. They know if he's on the ice they'll have backup, no matter who they're up against. Bunting may not lead the charge when it comes to scoring, but as far as bringing spirit and effort to the ice, he may be the most important player on the Leafs roster in that regard.

Latest 10 stories
LEADERS
GPGAPTS
1-  NIKITA KUCHEROV
623867105
2-  NATHAN MACKINNON
623764101
3-  CONNOR MCDAVID
57237497
4-  DAVID PASTRNAK
62384987
5-  ARTEMI PANARIN
61354984
6-  WILLIAM NYLANDER
60335083
7-  J.T. MILLER
63305383
8-  AUSTON MATTHEWS
59532679
9-  LEON DRAISAITL
59304878
10-  MIKKO RANTANEN
62314778
2023-2024 LEADERS  
FOLLOW US
facebookinstagram
253 580 followers