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Murphy: Despite Evidence, Maurice, Bennett Remain In Denial



Boston Bruins

Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice and forward Sam Bennett remained in denial after the Panthers beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 4 on Sunday night.

The win, in which Bennett scored the game-tying goal after cross-checking Bruins center Charlie Coyle into goalie Jeremy Swayman, gave the Panthers a 3-1 series lead over the Boston Bruins. Still, that wasn’t enough for the Florida Panthers bench boss and controversial center to just say no comment when asked about Bennett getting away with another penalty.



“It was a little shove,” Bennett said in a postgame interview with TBS. “I am putting that puck in the net before Swayman has an opportunity, whether Coyle is in his grille or not. I believe I am putting that puck in before he’s across, no matter what. I think that’s why it stood, and I think it is the right call.”

Yep. OK, Sam. You keep telling yourself if it helps you cope with the fact that you got away with one there. Maurice’s denial was even worse and, quite frankly, arrogant and condescending to the media. ESPN reporter Greg Wyshynski asked what his thoughts were on the controversial Bennett goal.

“Are you okay? Cause you looked pained,” the Panthers head coach said before answering and looking at NESN reporter Gayle Troiani. “I will have an opinion, and it would be no,” Maurice replied when asked if he thought his chief pest interfered with Swayman’s ability to make a save on Bennett. “In that, it will have no impact on the play in the game. And then, the connection between the two, the contact between the two [players], is not egregious at all. And the play just gets finished more than anything else.”

But Maurice wasn’t done as he then proceeded to take another shot at Troiani and the Boston media in general.

“The only way that I was particularly concerned is like some of your foreheads right now,” Maurice said.

“There’s the people in the media doing that to me. Like you cannot believe me.”

No, we can’t, Paul, because the video and the rulebook clearly prove you wrong.



Maurice then continued with his arrogance and denial of facts, though, as he denied any wrongdoing by Bennett in the hit on Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand in Game 3 despite this video released prior to Game 4 clearly showing his center sucker punching Marchand.



“I think there’s been lots of energy with this, lots of coverage, and I think you’ve lost your minds on it, which is fine,” Maurice said. “You have that right. We’ve been a very disciplined, very composed team. We have. Fortunately, it’s been a good way. It’s gone unnoticed. We’re alright with that.”

Bennett had the same red glasses of denial on as his head coach.

“I was not trying to punch him in the head like everyone is saying,” Bennett said in that TBS postgame interview. “People can have different opinions; I’m just bracing myself for him coming to hit me. There is no way I would have had time to think about punching him in the head. But people can see it however they want. It’s playoff hockey. There are going to be hard plays. It is unfortunate he got hurt, but that’s just a hockey play in my mind. … Normally, I am going to go with two hands to protect myself, but I am coming back from an injury. I am going to protect myself in any way I can. That’s all there was to it.”

Here’s a little tip, Sam: facts aren’t opinions, and just because you and your coach can’t or won’t accept the facts doesn’t mean they’re not facts.





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