by Mike Chen on 04/24/09 at 01:47 PM ET
You may have heard that the Columbus Blue Jackets’ season ended with Johan Franzen scoring a power play goal. What you may not have heard is that it was a Too Many Men call. What you also probably didn’t hear, unless you were watching the game live on the Columbus feed, was poor color man Danny Gare grasping at straws to point out the big evil refs out to screw the Columbus faithful.
Look, I understand that emotions were running high in Nationwide Arena. I think anyone in Columbus who’s new to hockey will be forever hooked by that game, and I think Rick Nash and co. finally understand the compete level necessary to win in the playoffs (the second and third period were pretty ferocious). It came a few games too late, but it’s a valuable lesson. All of those emotions somehow got into Danny Gare’s head, and right after the Too Many Men call, he sounded like a textbook case of denial.
Yep, there were six guys on the ice. Yep, the Jackets touched the puck. Yep, that’s a penalty—it’s black and white.
Gare tried to argue that because the one Columbus player going off was only about “two or three feet” away from the bench when the puck was touched (a still from the broadcast shows it was more like six or seven feet) that the refs should have let it go. Then he argued that since the refs don’t call anything in the playoffs (frustrating and true) that they should have let this one go too. Then he started going off about how embarrassing this was for the league and the team deserved better than that.
Whoa, there. Danny, you know Too Many Men is pretty much a black-and-white rule, right? (They all should be, but we know that the playoffs introduce a billion shades of gray into the officiating.) Six guys on the ice. One guy touches the puck. That’s it.
I know you’re excited, Danny, and I know you’re frustrated. But you know what? Your Blue Jackets fought a valiant fight and they blew it on a mistake. It happens in sports. It’s a mistake, they’ll learn from it, they’ll learn from this whole series, and they’ll come back next year with Nash and Steve Mason and Derrick Brassard and all those guys a year older and a year wiser. There’s no need to convince Jackets fans that they got screwed over by the refs or that the league is out to get them.
This young team just made a mistake, a costly mistake at an extremely crucial moment. Be proud of what they accomplished and get ready for training camp. There’s plenty to look forward to next season so get over it, ok?
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