I have a question for the NHL, and although I doubt I’ll get it, I’m looking for an honest and intelligent answer.

Is the NHL and its legion of fools – I mean, officials, really trying their hardest to scare away fans or is it just me?  Is Mick McGeough a menace to the new NHL and should he be given his pink slip now?  At the very least, can the Edmonton Oilers bar him from Rexall Place or any arena they happen to be playing in on any given night?

“Mr. Magoo” strikes again.  In a recent game between Dallas and Edmonton, a game where even I will admit the Oilers had no business coming back in, the potential tying goal was disallowed.  The reason?  McGeough said Shawn Horcoff passed the puck with his glove, when the replay clearly showed the face off was won cleanly.  The excuse he and the league gave?  “The whistle was blown right away”.  It’s not what I heard.  In a game which should have gone to overtime, Dallas skated away with the two points.  Much ado about nothing.

You know, I really hate ragging on the officials, because for the most part they’ve done a great job since re-launching the league after the lockout.  But this, a so called senior “top four” official making a call which shouldn’t have been his call to make in the first place (the linesman dropped the puck), is unacceptable.  I don’t know if the new helmets the refs wear are clouding their vision or just giving them a headache.  Maybe Mr. Magoo just had to go to the bathroom really bad.  Who knows?

I know you’ll all say to me, OK, it’s over, who cares, get over it.  Fine and dandy, but let me ask you this – what if it was game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals for the chance to decide the series and the ultimate championship in overtime?  Better yet, what if the lost point is the difference between a playoff spot, or not?  What will the NHL have to say for themselves then?

Mr. Commissioner and Mr. Magoo, over to you.  I was really interested to hear the quote-unquote official response or rebuttal.   Not that it matters anymore – the two points have been awarded and the best thing really for anybody to do is move on.  However, would it be asking too much or would it set a precedent if the league was to decide in the interest of fair play to award a tie just this once?

Apparently not. 

After calling the referee’s decision “a retarded” and “ridiculous call”, which quite frankly it was, and after saying “he should be suspended”, which he should, Edmonton head coach Craig MacTavish finds himself having to pay the NHL $10,000 – for telling the truth?

McGeough himself even admitted he blew it, saying, “My judgment was poor on the play.”  With all due respect, isn’t this why the NHL has their little “war room” in Toronto, to make the right call?

“While the NHL regrets the missed call, Craig MacTavish’s comments after the game regarding the call were totally inappropriate and crossed the line”.

Oh really?  Well quite frankly, that’s not the point.  Next time, how about this – use video replay or let the right official make the call, rather than making assumptions.  This is the NHL after all, not just some average bush league.  Keep the “ref you suck” chants for the AHL.

As a firm believer of what goes around comes around, I’ll make you this guarantee right now – if Mr. Magoo keeps officiating games like this, there’s no way he’ll be assigned to any playoff games in April (one can only hope).  As far as I’m concerned he shouldn’t even be relegated to a Pee Wee match.

Just so you don’t think I’m just blowing off a little steam (well, maybe I am), or singling out one official, in McGeough’s defense, he is not alone in the phantom or non-calls this season.  Atlanta’s Bob Hartley was also fined $10,000 for abusive language towards an official for not making a questionable call when the Thrashers played Washington the same night.

I’m also sure the Boston Bruins were a tad bit upset when they didn’t get a double minor in overtime against Buffalo over a high stick on Zdeno Chara.  The Sabres would later win the game in a shootout.  How convenient.

I could go on and on – but in the interest of fair play, I’ll leave your with this: If the NHL wants us to watch, at least call the rules by the book, which for the most part they do – but these glaring mistakes have to be addressed, now.  As Jeremy Roenick said a few years ago - wake up NHL – that means you Colin Campbell, Gary Bettman, and company.

It must have been the full moon.


So it seems all the hype over Evgeni Malkin has some merit after all.  In my Blog at I was all over the kid in his first NHL game for scoring a softie on Martin Brodeur.  All he did then was score 7 goals in his first 6 games, tying a record which has stood since the NHL’s inaugural season!  I’ve ordered in the skinless and boneless version of crow which I’ll be cooking tomorrow night, just in case you’re wondering.  I have the Buffalo sauce all ready to go.

Things are really bad in the city of brotherly love.  In a move which I saw coming five years ago, Bobby Clarke, former general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, stepped down when the going got tougher than it’s been since the lockout was over.  Now, those who have to try and salvage the mess Clarke left behind seem to think Brian Leetch is the answer.  I’ve been saying this for years too – wrong position.  Sure, you can’t have offense without defense, but you also can’t win games if your goalie can’t stop the puck.  While flattered I’m sure, even Colin Campbell knew this was a situation to stay away from – politely declining the team’s offer for the vacant position.

Congratulations to Ron Maclean for winning the 2006 Gemini award for Best Host or Interviewer in a Sports Program or Sportscast.  For the second straight year, Maclean won the honor for his work on Hockey Day In Canada.  He has won countless nominations and awards for Best Sportscaster.

While I’m on the topic of Hockey Night In Canada, I would be remiss if I didn’t give kudos to Cassie Campbell for getting the opportunity to take Harry Neale’s place alongside the legendary Bob Cole a few weeks back.  Neale ended up getting snowed into his home in Buffalo, leaving the CBC with no choice but to invite Campbell along for the ride.  While women commentators aren’t new to HNIC or hockey telecasts in general, Campbell, along with her many accolades, now holds the distinction of being the first to do color commentary for an NHL game north of the border.  Often imitated, never duplicated, the innovation and the tradition continues…

…and the rumors have started flying.  With the sub par start in Ottawa, rumors immediately surfaced over the captain Daniel Alfredsson (if you ask me, he should have been traded the last time his contract was renewed) – a rumor the team has vehemently denied.  Even goalie coach Ron Low went so far as to say “I know there are 30 teams who would want him, but I know 1 team who wants to keep him”.  Why then, Ron, were you in Edmonton one night before the Senators were slated to play the Stanley Cup Champions from Carolina?  Perhaps a little more time coaching former Hurricane Martin Gerber is in order here.  As I’m writing this, I’m noticing some rumblings about Vancouver Canucks’ centre Brendan Morrison.  Let me get this straight.  The Sens couldn’t secure a contract with Yanic Perreault, who they could have had for $750,000 (what he signed for in Phoenix), yet they want to see “if money issues can be worked out”?

My vote for game of the year so far goes to Montreal in their 8-5 romp over Colorado.  In a game where the Avalanche got out to a 3-0 lead, the Habs exploded in the second period, lighting Jose Theodore up for eight goals by the time the game was over.  Sheldon Souray ended the game with a four point night and captain Saku Koivu had three helpers.

A close second vote goes to Edmonton for overcoming a 4-1 deficit against San Jose in what ended a 6-4 final.  Ryan Smyth broke Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record for the fastest three goals ever scored by an Oiler player in that one, and broke it by almost 20 seconds!

Honorable mention goes to Ottawa in an 8-2 drubbing of New Jersey (with Martin Brodeur in net), and two straight blowouts against Toronto – the only highlights in an otherwise mediocre start so far.  The Pizza Line (Alfredsson, Heatley, Spezza) was on fire for a few games but seems to have fizzled out of late.

Well folks, we’re already a month into the new NHL season, can you believe it?  Keep it locked right here and to where you won’t miss a thing, I promise you!


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