This ejection has caused a lot of controversy on both sides of the debate.
On Tuesday night the Winnipeg Jets were facing off against the Montreal Canadiens in an entirely meaningless game for the Canadiens but a game that potentially had serious playoff implications for the Jets, the Jets are currently still in a battle for first place in the Western Conference's Central Division with the Nashville Predators. The biggest moment in the game however didn't involve the two teams, but instead involved one player and a National Hockey League official.
In the final minutes of the third period the Winnipeg Jets were rather upset after they felt the officials missed what, to be fair, should have been a fairly obvious high-sticking penalty right in front of the net, and instead decided to award the Jets a penalty of their own just seconds after the initial high-sticking incident. The man who was awarded the penalty on the play was veteran Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien who made sure he expressed his anger all the way to the penalty box.
Once inside the penalty box it was rather obvious that Byfuglien was still furious as he smashed his stick repeatedly against the boards inside the penalty box, and that frustration would boil back out onto the ice several minutes later when Byfuglien would finally step out of the penalty box.
Here is where the controversy lies, as there are two interpretations of what happened next. The one thing that is absolutely clear is that Byfuglien exited the penalty box and intended to give the NHL referee on the ice a piece of his mind regarding what he felt were bad calls on his part, but he never got to do so unfortunately.
As Byfuglien went to speak to the referee the official skated backwards right into the Jets defenseman and then ejected him from the game for hitting an NHL official. The debate here is whether or not Byfuglien amde a calculated and deliberate attempt to bump the referee in an effort to hit him, whether or not he did so merely to get his attention while he had his back turned, or if the official himself is responsible for hitting Byfgulien and not the other way around.
There's no way to read Byfuglien's mind and determine his intent, so you will have to make do with the video below to determine what you believed truly happened here.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press