Controversial calls on ice and in handing out discipline overshadowing great action

Desi Doyle
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During first round of NHL playoffs

It was a great opening round of the NHL playoffs, and Round 2 should be equally as good.

Fast and intense hockey is at the forefront, but sometimes some controversial calls by both the NHL officials and the league disciplinary department overshadow the great action.

There is little doubt that some referee calls in the regular season are not called the same in the playoffs. Spearing, high sticking and, especially, cross checking were seldom called in the opening round.

How is Boston's Milan Lucic not penalized for that pitch fork spear to Detroit's Dan DeKeyser?

No penalty but a $5,000 fine is laughable, especially knowing that Lucic did the same think to Montreal's Alexei Emelin two weeks before.

As local hockey fan and former Summerside Crystal Ralph MacKinnon stated, was it not an attempt to injure? What else can you call it?

A $5,000 fine is nothing more than a night’s card money for a player like Lucic, who makes $6 million annually.

The seven-game suspension to Minnesota's Matt Cooke was a joke. Cooke’s sixth career suspension for his knee-on-knee hit with one of  Colorado's top defencemen, Tyson Barrie, should be his last suspension. He does not deserve to play in the league, and in my opinion should have been kicked out of the league long ago.

Cooke has already ended the career of Boston’s Marc Savard, and put Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and now Barrie on the sidelines for extended periods. It should be a privilege to play in the NHL, but obviously Cooke doesn't see it that way.

The NHL needs to develop a bit of backbone when dealing with Cooke, and finally realize that he is a dangerous player. He does not deserve any more chances, and should not be allowed to play another game.

Cooke will be back playing in Minnesota's second-round series with Chicago, and Barrie faces a summer of crutches and rehab. Where is the fairness? 

NHL referee salaries

An NHL official makes a pretty good income, and in most cases they deserve every dollar they make.

An NHL referee makes anywhere from a low of $110,000 annually to a high of $255,000. Meanwhile, a linesmen makes between $70,000 to $162,000 per year.

Seniority, skills and experience determine how much each official makes.  

John Tortorella

Have we seen the last of one of the NHL's all-time most ignorant and arrogant coaches?

Fired again, only one year into a five-year deal signed less than a year ago, one would think that John Tortorella would take the reported $8 million owed to him and just ride off into the sunset.

It is hard to believe that an NHL team would sign this guy with his reputation to that kind of money, especially after being fired by the New York Rangers less than a year ago. It just goes to show that you don't have to be smart to own an NHL team; you just have to have lots of cash and the Canucks have lots of that.

Summerside native Doug MacLean says the Canucks make a profit of between $35 and $50 million dollars annually. I guess the $8 million owed to Tortorella and the reported $4 million owed to recently-fired general manager Mike Gillis is not a lot when the business is turning these kind of profits.

The recently-hired Trevor Linden will get this team pointed in the right direction. At least the former longtime Canuck has a lot of common sense.   

Baseball

Max Scherzer is the reigning American League Cy Young Award pitcher, and is in the last year of his contract that pays him an annual salary of $15.5 million per year. He and his agent Scott Boras recently turned down a six-year extension worth $144 million to remain with the Detroit Tigers, and that is a huge gamble.

Just how much do these players need?

Your average Joe would be over the moon just to have $1 million, and you just have to wonder in amazement how one could walk away from an annual salary of $24 million, especially a pitcher.

The risk of injury is greater for a pitcher, which is even more reason to maybe take the Tigers’ offer and live happily ever after. Boras is often referred to as the super agent who makes a commission of five per cent while most agents make three per cent.

It is a calculated guess what to accept as a player, but one would think that Scherzer should be able to get by on an average monthly salary of $2 million.

Is there any end to the greed in professional sports?

Scherzer may yet re-sign with the Tigers, but my guess is that he will be a New York Yankee or a Boston Red Sox next year.  

Flashback

It was 25 years ago this coming week that the Hemphill Pontiac Western Capitals and the then Town of Summerside were set to host the Canadian junior A hockey championship tournament for the first time.

Then known as the Centennial Cup, the tournament featured the host Caps along with the Thunder Bay Flyers, Vernon Lakers and Moncton Hawks.

The Caps finished the round robin at 2-1 (won-lost), beating the Flyers 5-2 and the Lakers 5-4 in double overtime while dropping a 6-3 decision to Moncton.

That set the stage for one of the most memorable hockey games in the history of Cahill Stadium. The semifinal game against Moncton would go to triple overtime before the Caps prevailed 3-2.

A tired Caps’ team didn’t have a lot left for the championship game two nights later as they fell 4-1 to Thunder Bay. Nonetheless, it was a storybook season for the Dave Cameron- and Wendall Bassett-coached Caps.

The Centennial Cup is now known as the RBC Cup.

Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to j-mac@eastlink.ca.

Organizations: NHL, Canucks, Detroit Tigers New York Rangers Boston Red Sox Hemphill Pontiac Western Capitals RBC

Geographic location: Boston, Minnesota, Montreal Summerside Colorado Ottawa Chicago Moncton Cahill Stadium Thunder Bay

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