by Vince Maranto on 02/02/12 at 01:30 PM ET
Last night I watched the game between the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres at the Niagara Center. First of all, any one who thinks that a scoreless hockey game is not exciting, should watch the tape of this one. This one was as exciting as any regular season (non Hawks) game as I have seen in quite a while. By the way, (and I will always type out this phrase and not type in btw, I’m not texting) Since my AT&T U-verse yanked the NHL Network right before the start of the season, I really appreciate the schedule, of almost nightly games, that the new NBC Sports Network shows.
But I digress, here’s the point of this blog. Around 5 minutes into the game, referee Kelly Sutherland, took a wicked redirect into the face (video). He left the game and did not return.The crew went with 3 for the remainder of the game.
What is amazing to me is that this doesn’t happen more often. 100 mph shots, that are are bouncing off of sticks and skates, zone clearing shots around the boards and huge bodies are what NHL officials have to endure night in, night out. In the 80-90 blogs I have written, I have never faulted the officiating for anything. I may have used the term “a tightly called contest” or “a questionable call” once or twice, but that’s it. I respect what these guys do. If you don’t, I’d like to see you officiate a game making every call, all while getting the hell out of the way! I also like the way they huddle up from time to time to make sure that the right call has been made.
What can be done to ensure the safety of these officials? Nothing as far as I can see, maybe some sort of a padded glove to cover up your face or block a puck, but that is about it. If you have any ideas, me and the league are all ears.
So the next time an official gets run over by a player or falls down, maybe.. just maybe, resist the temptation to cheer. I hope we all have matured at least a little since applause broke out in the cafeteria, when some one dropped a tray in grade school.
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