Hockey post with a side of ADD


Point #1:

Sometimes it’s helpful to see things from the other side. I’m now following Paul Stewart on Twitter, and he offers some insight into what’s going on with the officials on the ice.

We love to hate them (and they sometimes really have it coming). Sometimes they make us laugh. Mike Leggo is beloved by Dallas Stars & other NHL fans because of this.

I don’t usually think about the fact that the officials have a history with the coaches and team management as well as the players. Paul Stewart doesn’t officiate on ice any more, but this entry in his blog does illustrate how the refs and linesmen might have some preconceived notions about a particular team.

In 1978-79, he played for a very shaky, now-defunct AHL team, the Philadelphia Firebirds. He calls it “a terrible team,” “filled with gutless players,” who were “not just mediocre in skill (even for the AHL level), they also lacked work ethic and were a bunch of pansies on top of it.” He describes this one incident:

The fighting duties were left to me. In 16 games, I scored a pair of goals and had 92 penalty minutes. I wasn’t too happy about it, either.

One night in Portland, we were playing the Maine Mariners; the Flyers’ affiliate. They were a tough team filled with guys who fought regularly. I tried in vain to fire up the team by stirring the pot before the drop of the puck. Big, big mistake.

I got jumped by a gang of Mariners and was left all alone on the ice to get my butt kicked. I was a bloody mess but screamed at the Maine players to keep bringing it on. They did — mercilessly. By the end, both of my eyes were swollen shut and I was still standing with my fists cocked, with my own blood streaming. I could only swing blindly by that point. When it was finally over, Coates helped me off the ice.Not one of my teammates came to my aid. The most anyone did was pair off and hold onto a Maine player away from the six-on-one.

Then he adds:

One of the Firebirds players who stayed as far away as possible was Mike Gillis — then a Rockies’ first-round pick making a brief AHL stop on his way to their NHL team, and now the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks.

I’m guessing that, later on, he wasn’t kind to the Canucks when he officiated at their games.
Point #2:
At the game last night I really, really wanted to tell the Stars players two things. First, Dillon, honey—if you’re going to spit during the national anthem, you might want to make sure you’ve not on camera, on the giant Jerry Jr. screen, before you do it. Secondly, to everybody who played in the third period: Your “go to” play (picking up the puck in your own zone, taking it up the boards on the west side, getting pressured in the neutral zone until you dumped it, chasing (without, you know, hitting anybody) and gathering it up on the east side of the Devils’ goal, then getting it taken away from you) didn’t result anything positive the first forty times you tried it. Were you thinking that the 41st time’s a charm…?
Point #3:
Stars Director of Customer Service, Daniel Venegas, commented at a recent STHC meeting, “No matter how bad you [the fans] feel after the team loses, the players feel worse.” Okay. That’s worth keeping in mind. [sigh]
So I take it back about the sad level of play last night.* But not about the spitting thing. Really!
*Except to agree with head coach Lindy Ruff, who told reporters, “In the third, I thought for a long while if there was a shot on goal people would give us a standing ovation.”

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