This was a fun week to write about. We had a strange scenario where a referee was caught with a hot mic and was banned from officiating games forever. But this week was full of positives. The hockey community saw huge progress in regard to race in the sport. That was my favorite thing to write about this week.
I’ll also highlight one of my favorite goals of the season as well as one of the coolest uniform designs I’ve seen.
Happy Monday and happy spring!
1. Referee Tim Peel Punished for Hot Mic CommentsThe big news of the week was the controversy over a referee being caught on a hot mic. In a Tuesday game between the Red Wings and Predators, referee Tim Peel was caught on a microphone saying, “I wanted to get a fucking penalty against Nashville early.” Peel wanted to call a penalty against Nashville as a makeup call. You can hear his comments on this video.
Peel was quickly punished by the NHL. The league announced that he will never referee another NHL game again.
Referee Tim Peel no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future. https://t.co/mrnDc61W5P pic.twitter.com/tKsg2SwGh8
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 24, 2021
From what I saw on Twitter, most people that follow hockey were happy that Peel is being held accountable for his actions. Not everyone, though. Former defenseman and host of the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast, Ryan Whitney, wasn’t too happy.
Holy shit. Never did I think this would be the outcome of the hot mic. Make up calls have always been and will continue to be just part of the game. Tough way to go out for Tim Peel https://t.co/N8MZxZkyDz
— Ryan Whitney (@ryanwhitney6) March 24, 2021
I’m caught in the middle on this. What Peel said definitely should never be uttered during a live game. The fact that it was caught by a hot mic and broadcast to a live audience was just bad luck. Being an NHL referee is a tough job and these guys make mistakes, but more accountability is necessary.
I saw a great idea by Pete Blackburn a writer for CBS Sports.
Been saying it for a while but the NHL needs to have a “Last Two Minute Report” type report card for officials in every game. There is ZERO accountability w/ officiating right now https://t.co/CmYCyo4yy4
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 24, 2021
A two-minute report is when the NBA publicly reviews all of the calls made by officials in the last two minutes of each game and if they were correct. I love this idea.
However, I don’t think make-up calls can be eliminated from the game. It’s something that I think most coaches and players appreciate, especially if they were the victim of an incorrect call earlier in the game. I don’t like thinking of them as “makeup calls,” but I do appreciate a referee maybe giving a team they previously screwed over the benefit of the doubt on the next close call.
That being said, more accountability is never a bad thing and Peel had to be disciplined for what he said.
2. Ontario Reign Ice All Black Line
Switching gears here with some positive news. Last Sunday, professional hockey saw its first all-black line since the “Black Aces” in 1941. The Ontario Reign’s Devante Smith-Pelly, Quintin Byfield, and Akil Thomas made up the trio.
History being made tonight. Not since the Black Aces have we seen an all-Black line in pro hockey. Herb Carnegie, Ozzie Carnegie & and Manny McIntyre are shining down on @SmithPelly23, @Byfield55 & @AkilThomas tonight. The line already has a goal in the 1st. #History #SoulOnIce pic.twitter.com/ChW5IjfICr
— Soul On Ice The Podcast (@SOIThePodcast) March 21, 2021
The Black Aces were made up of Vincent Churchill “Manny” McIntyre, Herb Carnegie, and Ozzie Carnegie when they played for the Timmins Buffalo Ankerite Bissons in the 1940s. While it’s unfortunate it’s taken 80 years for hockey to see another all-black line, I’m happy it’s happened.
Not only did it happen, but the three players also showed out. Byfield had a goal and an assist, Smith-Pelly notched an assist, and Thomas scored a hat-trick.
Considering everything that’s happened in the last year in the United States and in the NHL, it’s so great to see some positives for black people in hockey.
3. Lacrosse Goal Strikes Again, With a Twist
The lacrosse goal is my favorite move that’s been brought back from the dead in recent years. Peter Forsberg’s shootout move had its day, but now the lacrosse goal is all the rage. The move was made famous by Mike Legg who played for a school in Ann Arbor, MI. This is the original.
Last year, Hurricanes’ stud Andrei Svechnikov was the first to pull it off in a live game in a long time, doing it twice in one season. Predators’ star Filip Forsberg joined the fun and successfully did it for the third time last season.
But a FAKE lacrosse style goal is a new chapter in this interesting anthology of hockey moves. I saw this goal when Ryan Whitney tweeted it out last week.
The next step in the evolution of The Michigan Mike Legg goal. Filthy
— Ryan Whitney (@ryanwhitney6) March 22, 2021
I’m a fan. Dare I saw the lacrosse goal was getting too popular. So popular goalies have started to anticipate the move. Now they have to prepare for the fake. Kobe Bryant was famous for having counter moves for each of his favorite moves. Now we’ve officially seen at least one iteration of a counter to the lacrosse goal. I’m hoping we see another.
4. Staal Traded Again
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Eric Staal must be celebrating as he’s been traded for the Buffalo Sabres to the Montreal Canadiens. Staal was traded for a 2021 third and fifth-round pick.
It’s been a dumpster fire of a year in Buffalo. Everything has gone wrong for the Sabres and as of Saturday morning, they’re the worst team in the NHL, eight points behind the Red Wings. The Sabres have now lost 17 games in a row, which is tied for the second-longest losing streak in NHL history. (The Washington Capitals in 1974-75 and the San Jose Sharks in 1992-93 also had 17-game losing streaks. The difference is the Capitals were in their first season and the Sharks were in their second season, and neither team had the benefit of potentially winning in the shootout.)
Staal has to be thrilled. No disrespect to Sabres fans, I’m sure when the team is good it’s awesome to play there. But playing in Buffalo this season can’t be better than getting food poisoning. Staal will go from the last place with Buffalo to a Montreal team that is sitting in a playoff spot in the Scotia North division. He’ll get to play meaningful hockey games in one of the league’s premier markets.
Staal hasn’t had a good season with three goals and seven assists in 30+ games. To be fair, he’s had no help. I’m happy for Staal because he deserves to play in meaningful hockey games. Sorry Buffalo fans. There is always next season!
5. Thanos Gloves on Ice
Minor league teams are famous for their wacky promotional nights. They have to do everything to convince fans to come to watch their games and gain notoriety. The ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen just launched one of the coolest promotional nights I’ve seen. Friday night they hosted their “Marvel Super Here Night.” As most minor league teams do for promotional nights, their jerseys and gear matched the promotional night. Take a look.
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You guessed it, Thanos has arrived. Their jerseys are based on Thanos from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The coolest part of their uniforms is their gloves, which were designed to match Thanos’ special glove he wore to harness the power of all five infinity stones.
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For someone that just watched all of the MCU movies in the last few months, most of them for the first time, including Avengers: Infinity War, I thought this was so cool. Huge props to the Jacksonville Icemen for their creativity. Maybe I’ll snag a pair of these gloves for Halloween and go as the hockey-playing Thanos. ■