Pat Maroon and Wayne Simmonds receive penalties for chirping
(Screenshot/ Sportsnet)

This is one of the strangest penalties we’ve seen called in the NHL.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning played a huge Atlantic Division NHL matchup on Monday. The Leafs defeated the reigning Cup champs by a 6-2 score.

The game featured a hat trick from superstar Auston Matthews, but it was a bizarre penalty call that got people talking after the game. Tampa Bay forward Pat Maroon and Toronto forward Wayne Simmonds each received 10-minute misconducts for chirping each other.

The chirping sequence unfolded in the first period. Maroon started chirping at Simmonds on the bench as he came off for a line change. Simmonds gave it back to Maroon and the two started verbally jousting.

According to broadcaster Brian Engblom, who was between the benches, Maroon told Simmonds he’d be out of the league next year. Engblom said he couldn’t repeat what Simmonds said back to Maroon in response.

The ref gave each player 10-minute misconduct penalties to “diffuse” the situation. The ref reportedly told Maroon the chirping was bad for TV. You can watch the whole sequence unfold below.


Maroon wasn’t happy with the penalty call after the game. He voiced his displeasure in his post-game interview.

“This game is going the wrong way”, Maroon said. “I guess you can’t chirp each other on the bench now. I guess that is illegal. I guess it’s better to watch 1980s hockey when guys are chirping each other…but I don’t know why they did that.”

The penalties to Maroon and Simmonds come just a week after a ref ejected Simmonds and Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry prematurely from a game in order to prevent a fight. The refs are taking matters into their own hands and trying to prevent future violence.

If Maroon or Simmonds said something that crossed the line, these 10-minute misconduct penalties could be justified. But if Simmonds and Maroon were taken off the ice for simply exchanging the usual trash talk, Monday’s game could set an interesting precedent.