Kukla's Korner Hockey
On February 9, 2008, veteran NHL linesman Pat Dapuzzo suffered career-ending and life-altering injuries when he was accidentally struck in the face by the skate blade of Flyers forward Steve Downie during a game in Philadelphia against the Rangers. The damage to Dapuzzo’s face and head was far more serious than simply cosmetic.
In this exclusive for FanHouse, the 50-year-old Dapuzzo opens up for the first time about his memories of the incident, the countless surgeries, the deep depression, the support of the NHL community and his determination to live a normal life again. This is the story entirely in his own words, as told to Christopher Botta.
...When Steve Downie was checked by Fedor Tyutin and we became entangled along the boards, Downie’s leg whipped around and his skate blade cut my nose off. There was a hole in my face. I was on all fours and was bleeding badly. I thought I had lost my eye. Other than that, I don’t remember much about the immediate impact of the skate hitting my face. I was later diagnosed with a concussion from the collision, after they sent me to a trauma center in Camden, New Jersey.
read on at NHL Fanhouse…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Imagine the uproar if the Stanley Cup playoffs were officiated down to the level of the umpiring in major league baseball’s postseason. Imagine the outcry of, “The NHL wants the Rangers to win!” if the Blueshirts ever were beneficiaries of bad calls the way the Yankees (among others, to be sure) have been thus far.
Truth be told, NHL officiating seems improved over the early portion of the season. The referees seem to be allowing the game to breathe thus far. They seem to be operating under more of a common-sense approach as opposed to the coloring-by-numbers method that had overtaken the profession since the end of the lockout.
Maybe it’s as simple as Kerry Gregson replacing the micro-managing Stephen Walkom as the director of officiating. Maybe the referees are now less concerned about cronyism than they are with doing their jobs.
Then again, maybe it’s because Bill McCreary finally retired.
more hockey topics & Larry, I think Bill is still around.
Bill Chadwick, the longtime NHL referee and television analyst who earned the nickname “The Big Whistle” has died at age 94. MSG Network, for whom Chadwick served as an analyst for 14 years, reported his death during the second period of the New York Rangers’ game in Montreal on Saturday night.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
With the scored tied 2-2 just before the midway point of the third period, Predators defenseman Shea Weber was competing for a puck in his own end when he found himself face-to-face with referee Dennis LaRue.
Weber bowled over LaRue, but never could get to the puck, which wound up behind the Nashville net. Boston’s Daniel Paille shoveled a quick centering pass to Steve Begin, who knocked home the game-winner from the slot.
“He had nowhere to go and I had nowhere to go,’’ Weber said of LaRue. “It was a tough situation.’‘
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
Much is written about toughness in the NHL; the players who fearlessly drop in front of pucks, speed into corners to negate icings and drive to a well-guarded net to earn a scoring opportunity.
But it doesn’t end with just the players. Referees are also in harm’s way and there have been a few freak injuries that would make even the most courageous skater cringe.
“I got a puck in the face in 2002,” said linesman Steve Miller. “It broke my orbital bone and the nose at the top. That was my biggest injury; I spent three nights in a New Jersey hospital. The first night they got me stabilized; I was in a trauma unit. Then they did the surgery the next day and they put a plate with seven screws in my face – they put my face back together.”
continued with more unfortunate incidents…
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
Prior to Walkom’s term as director of officiating, all officials were given as many as 20 game assessments, written by supervisors attending their games over the course of a season, Warren’s lawyers said.
Since Walkom’s appointment to the director’s position, officials have been given only a mid-season performance review and, in some cases, an end-of-season review, according to officials interviewed by the Star and testimony in the hearing.
“It’s like they’re running a dictatorship where they don’t have to be accountable for their actions,” said Dave Newell, former NHL official and officiating supervisor until three years ago when he was fired by Walkom for reasons he said were never provided by the league.
During that time, he said his own assessments of Warren’s abilities were “99 per cent extremely positive.”
“I hate to see what they’re doing to him. I know, because they did it to me.”
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Two senior National Hockey League referees are divided on whether Dean Warren should have been fired by the league.
“I’ll be frank: he was horse shit,” said Paul Devorski, a 21-year referee who regularly works Stanley Cup Finals.
“Dean Warren is a good ref,” countered 30-year veteran Kerry Fraser, who has to a certain extent fallen out of favour with the NHL, having not been assigned a playoff game in several seasons.
Warren was fired by the NHL last year, and after an unsuccessful appeal through the NHL Officials’ Association has taken his cause to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. In hearings this week, Warren - an NHL referee from 1999-2007 - asserted that it was his involvement with the NHLOA that caused him to fall out of favour with the league.
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
The NHL removed senior official Dan Marouelli from playoff duties for the first time in memory last season as retribution for supporting colleague Dean Warren’s wrongful dismissal case against the league, Warren’s lawyer told a hearing on Tuesday.
In an intense exchange, lawyer Tom Curry alleged Stephen Walkom, the league’s director of officiating at the time, iced Marouelli out of playoff action for agreeing to testify in Warren’s Ontario Labour Relations Board hearing.
“When (Marouelli) phoned you and told you he was going to come here and assist Mr. Warren, you put him out of the playoffs,” Curry charged.
Walkom chaffed at the allegation.
“You’re questioning my integrity right now. That had nothing to do with it.”
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
Warren, who was fired last year and is seeking reinstatement, has filed a complaint against the league claiming he was wrongfully terminated for his union work on behalf of the NHL Officials Association.
The league claims Warren was fired for “substandard performance.”
“In my mind there was a number of penalties called in the last two games that didn’t exist,” said Walkom, a former president of the officials’ assocation and who remains an on-ice referee with the league.
Those calls led players to react to Warren in a “contemptuous way,” he said.
Asked why Warren was chosen as one of 22 officials to serve in the playoffs that year, Walkom said Warren “was one of the top guys focused on calling the (NHL) standard.”
fromPierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Dan Marouelli had a request. Let him start his final NHL season in Helsinki.
Terry Gregson, the new director of NHL officiating, agreed. Marouelli kicked off his farewell season by working both Chicago-Florida games at Hartwall Arena.
“Terry Gregson was kind enough,” the veteran NHL referee told me before we both departed Finland this past weekend. “It’s a wonderful way to start the last year. It was spectacular.”
Marouelli will be joined in retirement by fellow vets Bill McCreary and Kerry Fraser after this season, three big names to leave the ice. Add in last season’s retirements of Rob Schick and Don Koharski, and you’re talking about a major transition for the NHL’s men in stripes. Some well-respected and top-notch talent is making way for the kids.
“It’s interesting to see the transition,” said Marouelli. “It’s fitting we’re all leaving together and turning it over to the young guys now.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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