Everyone gets ejected after an NHL fight

Hockey is one of the most physical sports and referees try to control this by imposing penalties if a push or trip goes too far. But Monday night in Ottawa, officials had had enough.

After a fight broke out in the third period of a rough game between the Florida Panthers and the Ottawa Senators, the referees threw their hands in the air and ejected every skater on the ice from the game.

Florida was up 4-0 when Senators captain Brady Tkachuk came off the bench and made a quick escape. His shot was saved, he tried to score on the rebound, only to have the Panthers’ Dmitry Kulikov slam him into the boards with his stick. Both teams then rushed in and fights broke out everywhere.

Initially, officials seemed to get the situation under control, but after a blow, tensions flared up again.

When the ice finally calmed down, Tkachuk was given a two-minute penalty for goalie interference and another two minutes for rough play. Kulikov was given two minutes for rough play. And then referee Garrett Rank made an unusual additional announcement: “Every player on the ice has a 10-minute misconduct.”

There were seven minutes left to play, so the 10-minute penalties were effectively send-offs. The villains skated to the locker rooms, their games over.

Panthers coach Paul Maurice was seen laughing on the bench as he surveyed what was left of his team. With both teams shorthanded for the remainder of the game, one more goal was scored, making the final score 5-0 to the Panthers.

Even before the incident, it had been a tough match. Earlier in the period, the Senators’ Zack MacEwen had been ejected, and shortly afterward, Tkachuk and his brother Matthew, who plays for the Panthers, exchanged words. Then Matthew Tkachuk dropped the gloves to fight the Senators’ Jake Sanderson.

Geraldine Tkachuk, the players’ grandmother, was seen in the stands looking less than impressed.

As remarkable as it was that ten men were sent away, it hardly seemed to bother the participants.

“I mean, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to play with emotion,” Brady Tkachuk told The Associated Press“I think when this group plays with emotion, we’re a tough team to beat. I think we rely on our emotion and that shows that we care about them, we care about what we’re doing here and we care about the guy next to us.”

Later in the third period, two more players were given penalties for misconduct, bringing the total number of penalty minutes in the game to 167.

But this being hockey, that wasn’t anywhere near a record. In 2004, a series of brawls late in a game between the Senators and the Philadelphia Flyers led to 419 penalty minutesSixteen players were sent off that match, but never more than seven at a time.

“It’s just a hockey game,” says Maurice said dismissively Monday to reporters. “Both teams want to win, and then you get a little snappy. It was fun, it was good.”

Asked where the game ranked in his career in terms of physicality, Maurice said: “That’s mild. We only got to 160 minutes. It’s got to get to 250 before it gets too squirrely.”

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