Saturday, March 20, 2004

Colin Campbell's Video Slumber Party

Fire up the Popcorn maker, put the coffee pot on, Colin is going to have late night. Two games Saturday gave him an excuse to put on a video or two and earn a little OT.

The Leafs and Avalanche game was a hard hitting affair, with more than a few scuffles and scraps as the night progressed. Most somehow, involving Matthew Barnaby which is not all that much of a surprise.
Wade Belak and Peter Worrell engaged in a spirited bout of fisticuffs in the first period, but Belak would be best remembered Saturday night for his incredibly stupid two handed slash on Ossi Vaanenen, striking him across the helmet. Belak received a five minute major for intent to injure and the customary expulsion from the game. The incident now goes on to further review from the league office.

Before Campbell can make his decision on Belak however, he’ll have to wade through the shenanigans of the final five seconds of the Flames/Predators game. A number of hard hits in the third set the physical tone for the remainder of the game, featuring Chris Simon wandering over the ice trying to hit as many Predators as he could stumble across. The Preds popped in an empty net goal with 3 seconds to go, salting away a 3-1 victory.

At that point Calgary coach and GM Darryl Sutter, sent Krstoff Oliwa onto the ice with two defensemen lining up on the forward line for further effect. Oliwa tried to goad two separate Predators into a fight, with none entertaining his offer. A linesman eventually parking himself between Oliwa and the Predator on the ice. The pre-emptive measure going for naught, as fights broke out at the buzzer. During the confusion Oliwa broke free from the grasp of a linesman, to toss a few punches into a scrum. Even the two European goaltenders squared off and dropped the gloves, with Tomas Vokoun trading blows with Miikka Kiprusoff. As the refs got the post game dancing under control, Daryl Sutter and Barry Trotz found themselves climbing up on the glass partition, exchanging insults with each other.

Two issues for Campbell to consider as he pushes rewind and fast forward. Wade Belak, even if he was off balance, as is being portrayed by the Toronto media, not keeping control of his stick must surely be worth a suspension of some length. Especially in this high visibility period, following the Bertuzzi incident. While not appearing to be as pre meditated as that situation was, Belak did not control his stick and had expressed some dislike for Av players earlier in the game.

The Calgary/Nashville game does cause Campbell even more problems. Having just fined the Canucks 250,000 dollars for supposedly not exerting enough control on their players, then what would be the fine for the gong show ending of the Calgary game? If Campbell doesn’t come down equally hard on the Flames organization for the way the game ended, then Brian Burke had best be filling out the forms asking for a refund on his payment. The league has to start showing some consistency in it’s dealings with discipline. The video viewing party on Sunday morning gives them the chance to set a standard.

No comments: