Unprecedented Ejection: NHL Referee Dismisses 10 Players in Senators-Panthers Game

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Brothers Matthew Tkachuk, left, and Brady Tkachuk, right, were in the middle of several scrums during their game in Ottawa Monday night. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In an unusual turn of events during Monday night’s NHL game between the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers, referee Garrett Rank issued an extraordinary ruling, ejecting 10 players simultaneously. The game, already charged with high tension due to the presence of the Tkachuk brothers, escalated into a brawl late in the third period.

The Triggering Incident

The incident began when Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk, captain of the Senators, was stopped on a breakaway and appeared to intentionally hit Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s pads. This action provoked a heated response from the Panthers, leading to a skirmish on the ice. Matthew Tkachuk, Brady’s brother and a player for the Panthers, already in the penalty box for previous altercations, further inflamed the situation.

The Referee’s Decision

With just under seven minutes left in the game and the Panthers leading 4-0, referee Rank took an unusual step. “Everybody on the ice has a 10-minute misconduct, among other penalties,” Rank announced, effectively ending the game for those players. The decision left the benches noticeably emptier, resembling a scene more akin to a beer-league game than an NHL matchup.

Family Reaction

The Tkachuk family, including their grandmother Geraldine, witnessed the scene unfold from the stands. Geraldine’s disapproving expression was captured by TV cameras as she watched the chaos on the ice, a sentiment echoed by many in the hockey community.

Penalty Stats and Comments

The game concluded with a total of 167 penalty minutes, barely surpassing the previous season’s high between the two teams. Ottawa’s Zack MacEwen, who had earlier been ejected for a high hit on Matthew Tkachuk, was also fined more than $2,000 by the NHL. Panthers coach Paul Maurice commented on the incident, saying, “We only got up to 167 minutes there… It has to get into the 250s before it gets too squirrely.”

The Senators and Panthers are scheduled to meet three more times this season, with dates set for February 20, April 4, and April 7. These matchups are now highly anticipated, given the recent on-ice drama and the possibility of further confrontations.