Leafs defenseman upset over recent healthy scratches

Pat Quinn
March 14, 2024  (12:40)

Simon Benoit in the midst of passing the puck
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Simon Benoit signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs this off-season after playing the last three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks. He spent the first month of the season hurt and then in the AHL before playing on the Leafs' blueline from November onward.

Benoit frustrated over healthy scratch in hometown

Benoit last played on March 7th for Toronto. He was scratched the team's next game on March 9th in Montreal. Benoit is a Montreal native and would have loved to have played that game. He expressed his frustration with the scratch.
«If you're happy to be sitting out, I don't think you're in the right sport. I'm not happy, but I understand it's part of the game and I will do my best to get back in there.»

Regarding the scratching, head coach Sheldon Keefe was not happy to have to take Benoit out of the line-up.
"Quite frankly, it kills me to have to sit Benoit here tonight, especially in this building, but I didn't make the schedule, and it's what's necessary for our team here tonight."

Benoit discussed that he talked with Keefe about the scratching and also understands the situation on the Leafs' blueline.
«That [talk with Keefe] is between me and him and for the rest, I have no control how things are going, I can only control how I play. I know I'll be back in the lineup and I'll be ready.

There are a couple of new faces, we're trying to get to know everyone. We know that this is our team the rest of the year now and for the playoffs.

It's not my first rodeo. [Healthy scratches] have been through my whole [NHL] career. You sit and cry about it, or you go back to work. Right now, it's given me time to touch up some stuff and be ready for playoffs or when they need me.»

Benoit's season so far has been pretty good considering many thought he would not be in the lineup

In 49 games with the Leafs this season Benoit has four points, but he was not brought in to score. He also has 44 penalty minutes, 76 blocks, and 174 hits as he was brought in to be a tough defenseman who shuts down the opposition while also making them pay physically.
The Leafs brought in other similar defensemen, so Benoit may see a few more scratches as the season winds down. He needs to stand out if he wants to stay in.