Just one week after celebrating his 1,000th NHL game, Domi took a seat as his teammates began a final push to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"Am I happy with it? No. Do I agree with it? No," the 36-year-old Domi said. "I know what I bring to the team, to the dressing room, and my teammates know."
Domi has just four goals and 10 assists in 59 games this season, but it is his fire and energy in an agitating style that has kept him in the league for 16 seasons.
In 1,002 games, Domi has posted 103 goals, 140 assists and 3,479 penalty minutes -- an average of nearly two minor infractions per game. He is the third most-penalized player in NHL history.
"I just figured I'd make a little change," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. "It was just a coach's decision before the game. I didn't expect him to like it."
It was the first time this season that Domi sat out for a reason other than an injury. He also missed a Dec. 19 home victory over the Islanders and the previous road contest against Ottawa.
Domi scored a goal in the Maple Leafs' second and third games of the season but has only two since. That one came 14 games ago at Ottawa, and he has just two assists in that span.
"The most puzzling thing is I've probably played my best hockey in the last three games," he said.
New York moved into a 10th-place tie with Toronto (28-28-6) as both teams hang on to hopes of returning to the postseason.
Toronto, which reached fifth place in the East earlier this season, has slipped dramatically in the playoff picture by dropping six of seven -- all but one in regulation. The Maple Leafs are 4-13-3 in their last 20 games, dating to a Jan. 7 victory at Edmonton.
"The way we were playing over the last two months, it could have been anyone to sit out," Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin said. "I know Tie, and he'll bounce back from this and work as hard as always."