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“Mind-boggling” Leafs react to non-call after late hit on Jake McCabe

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Photo credit:@TicTacTOmar on Twitter/X
Alex Hobson
4 months ago
On a night where the core four each contributed at least one goal and combined for nine points in a win over the Dallas Stars, who sit second place in the West, you wouldn’t expect the player of the game belt to go to Jake McCabe and Simon Benoit. But that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night. 
While McCabe and Benoit didn’t contribute on the scoresheet, they did do the little things that have won the hearts of Toronto fans since the moment they put on the Leaf – throw hits, block shots, and stand up for each other. 
McCabe in particular was a focal point of last evening’s affairs. Late in the second period, Stars forward Mason Marchment caught him up high with a late hit to the head. The check left McCabe’s face bloodied, and he along with the rest of the bench were irate over the lack of a call. Especially considering it happened on a penalty kill prompted by a soft holding call on Pontus Holmberg, it brought the conversation around game management and the way games are called back to life. 
“I see a vulnerable player that’s targeted, and I gotta think that’s the type of hit you don’t want to see in the game, guy’s bleeding everywhere and needs stitches.” head coach Sheldon Keefe told media after the game. “I’m sure they’re going to look at it.”
When asked what the officials told him regarding the hit, Keefe said they thought it was a good hit. 
“Jake is an absolute competitor, so for him in that moment to not lose his cool and not lose his cool in the remainder of the game…he was hard on Marchment, our whole team was, I think Jake asked him for a fight and it didn’t happen, but I liked that he kept his cool and didn’t hurt the team.”
William Nylander, who took some reps on the penalty kill with David Kampf and Calle Jarnkrok both sidelined, echoed Keefe’s sentiment. 
“It was obviously a dirty play, the puck wasn’t even really close, so we’re obviously upset about that non-call.”
Mitch Marner, always a PK regular, was ahead of the play when the hit happened, but agreed with his teammate when asked about it. 
“I just saw him bleeding, asked if he was okay. I don’t know man, that’s one that’s a little bit mind-boggling that doesn’t get caught.”
McCabe was, in fact, okay, and played the rest of the game on a mission. He went after Marchment more than once, taking a run at him later in the game that Benoit arguably took the worst of. Of course, that didn’t throw his defensive partner off course. Benoit took his own run at Marchment later in the game, but nothing ever amounted past a few scrums. 
While Kyle Dubas took his fair share of flak while he was general manager, one deal he deserves credit for is the one that brought McCabe to Toronto. Having him in the top-four making $2 million against the cap was the type of savvy move the defensive corps needed. In that same breath, Brad Treliving’s signing of Simon Benoit this offseason might make up for some of the other signings he made that didn’t work out. He’s stepped up and slid seamlessly into the role left by Luke Schenn, giving them the type of guy you need down the stretch and in the playoffs. 
The Leafs will be back in action on Saturday night when they host the Ottawa Senators for the last time this seaso and look to tie the season series against their provincial rival.

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