Lightning coach Jon Cooper calls out refs and Penguins after ejection

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Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper was ejected from Thursday night’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. This marked the first time since 2018 that head coach was ejected. Peter DeBoer was tossed when he was with the San Jose Sharks.

After a huge scrum broke out with 53.7 seconds left in the second period, Cooper got into it with referee Wes McCauley. After things settled down, Corey Perry picked up a double minor resulting in a two-man advantage for the Pens, who were already up 3-1.

Jon Cooper calls out refs and Penguins

The NHL has not commented but it is expected that Cooper will be disciplined for the outburst.

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.

Scouting The Refs

“I was shocked we were short-handed,” Cooper said via The Athletic. “That team, for some reason, they’re by far the lowest-penalized team in the league. I’m not sure why, but they are. For us to go down again, to be short in that situation, was a little frustrating. Then (McCauley) goes over to their bench and gives them an explanation but never comes to ours.”

While Cooper is correct that the Penguins are the least penalized team in the NHL with 168 penalties taken, it isn’t “by far” as he suggests.

The Dallas Stars have taken 169, followed by the Islanders (171), Sabres (178), and Maple Leafs (179). On the flip side, the Lightning are 8th in the NHL for penalties taken at 220. Nashville Predators are by far the most penalized team at 256, followed by the Arizona Coyotes at 234.

“I’m not so sure in all the years, what I said is something that he’s never heard before in his reffing history,” Cooper concluded. “As a head coach, I have a duty to coach the game and at times you get a little emotional. I don’t know what I invented that got me tossed out.”