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Taylor Hall merely fined for sucker punch and Leafs fans aren't happy

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Boston Bruins forward Taylor Hall punched Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin during Tuesday’s game and was merely given a two-minute minor for the offence. Although it was widely expected that Hall would receive supplementary discipline for the infraction, he was merely fined $5,000 — the maximum allowable under the CBA and Leafs fans, to no surprise, are irate.

Leafs fans are questioning the lightness of punishment on Taylor Hall. (Getty)
Leafs fans are questioning the lightness of punishment on Taylor Hall. (Getty)

Lyubushkin did not return to the contest as the Maple Leafs held on for a 6-4 victory.

Here is the play in question.

Here’s another angle:

The inconsistent standards displayed by officials across the board have been a major talking point, to the point where it’s been a severe deterrent to an otherwise compelling season. And though it’s easy to declare that Leafs fans believe the sun revolves around them, they hold a legitimate gripe when considering Auston Matthews received a two-game suspension for a slash on Rasmus Dahlin that looked a lot more innocuous than Hall’s punch.

There isn’t much of an excuse for the inconsistency, either. This season, Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin received a one-game suspension for punching then-Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph, in an incident that looked almost identical to Hall’s.

Whether or not you believe there’s a conspiracy against the Leafs is almost moot, as the team’s stars draw disproportionately few penalty calls.

Michael Bunting ranks third in the NHL in penalties drawn at 5-on-5 according to Natural Stat Trick, but from there onwards, Wayne Simmonds ranks 109th, William Nylander ranks 307th while Hart Trophy favourite Auston Matthews ranks 356th with just seven penalties drawn. Drawing penalties indeed is a skill, but for there to be this level of disparity relative to league averages adds fuel to the proverbial fire.

For the record, we're not positing that the NHL is stacked against the Maple Leafs — certainly it wouldn’t be in its interest to be prejudiced against one of its iconic franchises and largest markets — but it does continue to show arbitrary, wavering standards from the officials and the Department of Player Safety.

Let’s hear it from Leafs fans and media.

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