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Maple Leafs and Keefe fined, Lafreniere scratched in New York, and more: Around the League

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Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
1 month ago
Welcome back to Around the League — the column here at CanucksArmy in which we examine news and notes from around the National Hockey League, oftentimes through a Canucks-tinted lens.
The holiday roster freeze is over, and things are happening again!
But in the case of the Toronto Maple Leafs, things were happening a tad bit earlier than they should have been.
NHL fines Leafs and Keefe
On Wednesday, the NHL handed out $125,000 worth of fines to the Leafs organization and head coach Sheldon Keefe for the events before and during their Tuesday night matchup with the St. Louis Blues.
Keefe was fined $25,000 for “demeaning conduct” toward the officials during the game at Enterprise Center, which the Maple Leafs eventually won in overtime by a 5–4 score. The events before the game even started were what ultimately resulted in the organization picking up an additional fine of $100,000.
The NHL stated that the Maple Leafs travelled to St. Louis on December 26, which constitutes a direct violation of Article 16.5(b) in the CBA. The fine money in both cases goes to the NHL Foundation.
Here’s the section of the CBA that the Leafs violated:
“(b) December 24, Christmas Day, and December 26 shall be off-days for all purposes, including travel, and no Club may request a Player’s consent to practice on such days for any reason, provided, however, if December 26 falls on a Saturday and the League has scheduled NHL Games on such date, December 23 may be substituted as an off-day for all purposes, including travel, instead of December 26.”
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Maple Leafs were supposed to travel to St. Louis after midnight on December 27, but they ended up leaving just before 10:30 p.m. ET.
“The team argued that, because STL is a 90-minute/two-hour flight, it would be better to go at night and get in then (as players are accustomed to), rather than go at 5 am. I’ve asked a couple of sources if players agreed, and preliminary replies are yes,” Friedman tweeted. “But the NHL rule is no travel before the 27th. Hence the fine.”
Alexis Lafreniere scratched
2020 first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere was scratched ahead of the New York Rangers matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and this set Twitter ablaze, and even — shockingly — kickstarted rumours that the Rangers have been fielding trade offers for Lafreniere. Now, we’re not here to tell you if those are true or not, but it’ll be interesting to see what this scratch leads to, nonetheless.
To this point in the season, Lafreniere has amassed five goals and 12 assists through 36 games. The 21-year-old winger’s ice time has continued to decrease as the season has gone on, with Lafreniere logging over 15 minutes of ice time just once in the month of December.
There’s no Canucks spin on this, aside from the fact that Canucks AGM Emilie Castonguay used to be Lafreniere’s agent.
The only other angle we can think of is that a JT Miller for Alexis Lafreniere 1-for-1 trade must be back on the table!
Sidney Crosby named to Order of Canada
Olympic gold medalist and three-time Stanley Cup champion Sidney Crosby has been named as one of 99 new appointments to the Order of Canada, one of the highest honours for any Canadian. Crosby will be recognized as an office. Being an officer recognizes “achievement and merit of a high degree, especially service to Canada or to humanity at large.”
In a statement made by Rideau Hall, Crosby earned the honour “for being one of the greatest hockey players of all time and for supporting community service initiatives for youth.”
Crosby is always sure to visit his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia and gives back to the community there and in his new home of Pittsburgh as well. One of his most recent donations includes donating 87 sets of CCM gear to underprivileged programs within Hockey Nova Scotia in 2019. In 2017, he donated $50,000 to KidSport Nova Scotia, and in 2018, he donated $50,000 to Special Olympics Canada. Then during the beginning months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Crosby donated 100,000 meals, the equivalent of 120,000 pounds of food, to 11 counties across Pennsylvania.
On Thursday morning, the NHL congratulated Crosby on his appointment.
“The National Hockey League congratulates Sidney Crosby on his recognition today as an Officer of the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest honours and recognizes people across all sectors of society who have made extraordinary and sustained contributions to Canada…The NHL is grateful for all he has given to the game and joins his millions of fans throughout Canada and around the world in celebrating this prestigious and well-deserved honour.”
Crosby’s Hall of Fame resume somehow just got even more impressive!
Flyers place Carter Hart on injured reserve
The Philadelphia Flyers have placed goaltender Carter Hart on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
Hart was injured on a play during the Flyers’ final matchup before the Christmas break in Raleigh when Rasmus Ristolainen shoved Hurricanes forward Seth Jarvis into Hart:
As you can see in the video, Hart was pushing across to his right and was obviously blindsided by Jarvis being sent into him. Hart left the game and the Flyers ended up losing by a score of 6-5.
On Tuesday — after the Christmas break — Hart practiced with the Flyers and the report from head coach John Tortorella afterwards was that Hart would be good to go for the team’s upcoming road trip. On Wednesday, that all changed, as Hart was placed on the Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury.
There is no timeline for Hart’s return just yet.
Leafs lose to Coyotes at Mullett Arena
I know, I know, two Leafs notes in one article?
I just figured that as a Canucks fan, you’d like to know that the Leafs visited Mullett Arena and lost to the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 6-3 last night. That’s all.

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