William Nylander slams officials after loss to Colorado
Photo credit: Toronto Star

William Nylander risks a huge fine, calls out NHL officials following controversial loss to Avs

Published January 14, 2024 at 2:41 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI

After collecting a point in each of their first 4 games in 2024 and winning 3 of them, the Maple Leafs dropped a tough one on home ice last night in regulation to the Colorado Avalanche, despite holding a commanding 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Credit to the Avalanche, who battled hard all night and showed a lot of push-back in this one, not only erasing the 3-goal deficit, but scoring 5 on the night to extend their win streak to 3 games. However, the Avs didn't do it on their own; they had plenty of help from officials on Saturday.

There were a number of missed calls through the first 40 minutes, but during the 3rd period, the missed calls and bad calls were extra egregious, as the officials missed both a cross-check that injured Auston Matthews and a slash that stung Timothy Liljegren before turning around and calling Jake McCabe for interference in the 3rd period on a clear case of embellishment from Mikko Rantanen.

Make no mistake about it, the Leafs lost because they took their foot off the gas after 20 minutes. The officiating isn't directly to blame for their loss, but it certainly didn't help them either.


Following the game, an unlikely source pointed the finger at the officials for calling the game unfairly. That player was William Nylander, who had this to say about the lopsided officiating, which led to the Avs receiving 4x the powerplay opportunities that the Leafs were awarded, despite more being warranted for the home team.

"Yeah, it's a tough one to lose like that. I think we didn't really get any power plays either, which I think was a bit unfair tonight. But I thought it was a tough one."

You don't often see players accusing the officials of calling a game unfairly like that so publicly, and usually when they do, there's a fine to follow. Nylander has 92 million reasons not to care about a fine right now, but I'm sure he'd prefer to spend that money on vacations and his family's future rather than giving it back to the NHL's disciplinary committee.

Still, even if Nylander is fined, what he said needed to be said. The officials were flat out bad in that game and if any one of us put forth that sort of an effort when we went to work, I'm sure our bosses would have something to say about it. It's really too bad that Gary Bettman has given his officials cart blanche to do what they please without any fear of ramifications for their actions.

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January 14   |   1141 answers
William Nylander risks a huge fine, calls out NHL officials following controversial loss to Avs

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