On Tuesday night, Kenan Thompson hosted the 2022 NHL Awards, three years after he hosted the last live edition of the event prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emmy-award winning actor and comedian returned and, while the show remains an uneventful and bland ceremony, Thompson ended it with a bang that had to hurt the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fanbase.
The last award to be announced was the Hart Memorial Trophy and Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews got up on stage for the second time that evening, accepting both the award as the league’s most valuable player and the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player as voted on by his peers.
Matthews gave his speech, taking the opportunity to dedicate the award to his father Brian a few days after Fathers’ Day. Matthews headed off stage and Thompson was back to wrap things up, but as he shook hands with Matthews once they crossed paths, he let out a joke that had to sting the Hart winner.
“Congrats to Auston Matthews, it’s nice to see the Leafs winning something in June.”
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) June 22, 2022
The camera did not catch Matthews’ reaction to Thompson’s joke, but his comment quickly went viral on social media with fans laughing off the quip, while others couldn’t believe the 'Saturday Night Live' star had bluntly insulted the Maple Leafs’ forward on live television. Some believe it is why the ceremony abruptly came to an end with the broadcast shutting down before the final goodbyes.
ESPN immediately cutting the end of the NHL awards after Kenan Thompson said, nice to see the maple leafs winning something in June 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
— Lemon Pepper Lou 🍋 (@LOUisButIsnt) June 22, 2022
leafs fans to kenan thompson after his comment at the end of the award ceremonypic.twitter.com/26OLAlQgNu
— rissa 🏠 (@hbwmarner) June 22, 2022
The comments could dampen Matthews’ night, despite the 24-year-old becoming only the third Maple Leafs player to win the Hart. He also is the first Leafs player to win the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by the players.
Matthews’ trophy case is getting crowded, but he has yet to put his hands on the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. The Leafs have gone without a championship for 55 years, and it's been 18 long years since they have won a single playoff series.
The Colorado Avalanche is currently leading the final series 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning, who eliminated Toronto in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
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