Meg Hishmeh and her son, Blake, will spend Mother’s Day doing exactly what they’ve done for the better part of the past month. Blake will do four hours of therapy at a rehabilitation hospital in Denver, then they’ll watch the hockey games together.
Don’t worry, the story will have a happy ending when 18-year-old Blake is discharged May 20 and returns to finish up his high school year in New Jersey. And with him will be Meg, who took a break from her job as World’s Busiest Hockey Mom™ to help usher her son back to what it is expected to be a full recovery from a traumatic brain injury after a back flip off a jump at the Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado went horribly awry during spring break. Blake was airlifted from the ski hill and spent eight days in intensive care before being transferred to the rehab hospital on April 14. Read more
The fact that we’re not discussing the Calgary Flames non-goal ad nauseam in Game 3 this morning is a good thing, and good on the Flames and coach Bob Hartley for showing a ton of composure and poise by responding with the tying and winning goals to make it all a moot point.
A thank-you card from the NHL to the Flames should be on its way. Instead of discussing a disputed goal, everyone who is not interested in politics in Calgary is talking about how their resilient group of youngsters has done it again. Read more
The Montreal Canadiens got whip-sawed by the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night, losing the game and their composure. The Habs took way too many dumb penalties and in the process, released the Steven Stamkos Kraken – ‘Stammer’ got his first goal of the 2015 playoffs, while adding two assists. And the Lightning’s previously feckless power play went 4-for-8 in a 6-2 romp.
By the end of the game, Habs tough guy Brandon Prust had racked up 31 PIM, including a 10-minute misconduct that followed his fight with Braydon Coburn – which followed his sneaky trip of goaltender Ben Bishop. He also threw his elbow pad into Tampa’s bench.
After the game, Prust said referee Brad Watson “tries to play God,” and that the veteran likes to control the game. Obviously Prust was angry at how things turned out, but does he have a point? Let’s look at Watson’s stats.
You know that, no matter what else happens in every Stanley Cup tournament, there will always be at least one controversy related to NHL officiating. If it’s not a personal relationship between a referee and a particular player some fans and media focus on, it’s a debatable call that earns the ire of the public (and often, the team on the wrong end of the call). And it didn’t take very long at all for that officiating controversy to take place in the 2015 post-season: in the second period of Game 1 of Montreal’s first-round series against Ottawa Wednesday night, Canadiens star defenseman P.K. Subban was assessed a five-minute major penalty for slashing and a game misconduct.
The ejection of Subban enraged Habs fans, especially after Sens phenom Mark Stone – who, after being slashed by Subban on the penalized play, writhed around in great pain and left the game – returned to action a few minutes later. But if you think Subban was wronged to be given so harsh a penalty, don’t blame the officials. Blame the league and its philosophy of basing punishments on injury and thus encouraging players to embellish.
To be certain, Subban’s slash of Stone’s arm was (a) a two-hander; (b) vicious; and (c) could easily have caused serious damage to him: Read more
To say Kevin Shattenkirk and the St. Louis Blues were displeased with the refereeing in Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets might just be the understatement of the season.
From perceived missed calls to a goal snuffed out by a slashing call, the Blues were none too happy with the tandem of Steve Kozari and Graham Skilliter. In a contest that was as physical as any this season, things boiled over at the end of the game, resulting in a skirmish between all ten skaters on the ice. Once the dust began to settle, Shattenkirk let Kozari and Skilliter how he felt about everything: Read more
Two senior members of the NHL officiating fraternity – referee Paul Devorski and linesman Jean Morin – are retiring at the end of this season, taking with them a wealth of experience and skill at policing arguably the toughest sport there is to police.
The 56-year-old Devorski, who officiated his first NHL game Oct. 14, 1989, ranks fifth on on the All-Time Referee list for regular-season games as of March 31 of this year, with 1,592 games under his belt. The Guelph, Ont., native currently leads all active referees in that department as well as playoff games, but trails retired icons Dan Marouelli (1,622), Don Koharski (1,701), Bill McCreary (1,737) and Kerry Fraser (1,904). The 51-year-old Morin began his NHL career in the 1991-92 campaign and sits eighth overall among active linesmen in regular-season games, as well as second overall among active linesmen in playoff games. The league has experienced significant turnover among its officials in recent years, and the professionalism of both Devorski and Morin will be missed.
Here are up-to-date lists ranking active referees and linesmen in both regular-season and playoff games: Read more
Look, this is hockey, right? It’s not soccer. We’re continuously reminded of that when an NHL player embellishes after being hit. The tsk-tsking can be heard from Antigonish to Anaheim and the men responsible for punishing on-ice wrongdoing announce they’re fining the perpetrator. It’s hardly the most critical problem facing the game, but there’s a segment of the hockey world that insists rugged hockey players cannot adopt the theatrics of “soft” soccer players. It’s not in keeping with hockey’s identity.
So why are many of these same people so permissive of goals that are directed in by skates and not sticks? This isn’t soccer.
After a pair of important tallies last Saturday afternoon, the spotlight fell again on one of the NHL’s worst rules, the standard that allows players to use their feet to score goals. Read more
The ability for coaches to challenge plays during the game has been talked about for several seasons, but there may be more weight to the argument after Detroit winger Justin Abdelkader and his broken stick helped the Red Wings topple the St. Louis Blues Sunday afternoon.
In overtime, with the Red Wings and Blues tied at one and Detroit on the power play to start the extra frame, the puck got worked around to Marek Zidlicky, who one-timed the puck on goal. Zidlicky’s shot found its way off of Blues goaltender Jake Allen and into the feet of Abdelkader, who was tied up in front of the goal by St. Louis rearguard Alex Pietrangelo.
In Abdelkader’s attempt to swipe the puck into the net, he got his stick caught on Allen’s pads and, as you can see in the video below, his stick actually began to break. Then, with a broken stick, Abdelkader was able to get enough on the puck to knock it home: Read more