The Toronto Maple Leafs won against the Nashville Predators on Sunday, but afterward, most of the talk was about Michael Bunting and head coach Sheldon Keefe.
Bunting is a polarizing player, and he often draws headlines for other things than just playing hockey. Bunting is a great player, but he’s also a hothead who can go hard on opponents and, apparently, even his coach.
Bunting made an immediate impact when he joined the Leafs, but this season, he’s been finding himself further down the lines. Bunting may not be as skillful as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, or William Nylander, but he brings some toughness that the Maple Leafs need.
As Bunting was moved from the top line earlier in March, Sheldon Keefe also called Bunting out in the media.
And now, it seems like Bunting is fed up with Keefe. The Leafs were up 2-1 against the Predators with six minutes remaining of the contest when Bunting leaned over to say something to Bunting.
However, the Leafs forward wasn’t interested and completely ignored Keefe’s instructions. The forward turned away while Keefe was still talking, and the head coach didn’t like it.
Although it looked like something that could occasionally happen on an NHL bench, Bunting didn’t play anymore in the game. He was benched for the remainder of the third period, and his 12:25 of ice time was the lowest on the team bar from only two players.
Many fans on social media slammed Bunting for how he acted toward his coach.
”This wasn’t a good look for Bunting,” one said.
”Probably reminding him not to take a dumb penalty in a one goal game, my guess,” another said.