While the NHL world is still buzzing about the Zdeno Chara/Max Pacioretty situation some people have taken it a step further. The Montreal police was flooded by callers who asked them to investigate the situation and now they’re going to start an investigation.
Obviously, this was a serious, devastating hit and we’re certainly not trying to make light of the hit, the aftermath or injuries suffered by Pacioretty. It’s a terrible situation all around.
However, what we can do is wonder if there weren’t other situations where the police should have been called in.
With our tongues firmly in cheek, we went through NHL history and found that there have been several acts where police intervention would have saved the day.
May 23rd, 1992: Mario Lemieux Robs Ray Bourque of his Dignity
We’re pretty sure the quality of that video is also a crime. Sorry about that.
Ray Bourque was one of the greatest defensemen of all time, but Mario Lemieux committed a terrible crime against him on this date. Lemieux put the puck through Bourque’s skates, came out the other side and scored, taking Bourque’s dignity with him as he blew by. The police should have been contacted to investigate this theft.
Note: Some feel that Bourque’s dignity was also lost when he jumped ship to the Colorado Avalanche in order to win the Stanley Cup, but no police involvement was necessary at that time. Bourque knew exactly what he was doing and he gave up his dignity without a fight. Also, he eventually hoisted the Stanley Cup with Colorado, so that defeats this point almost entirely.
January 20th, 2003: Mascot Assault
Harvey the Hound, pictured above in happier times, was the victim of a brutal assault and horrific disfigurement at the hands of Edmonton Oilers coach Craig McTavish. The Calgary Flames mascot was just doing his job, entertaining the crowd and enjoying a hockey game when McTavish violently attacked him, ripping his tongue from his mouth. The sudden ambush left Harvey humiliated and seriously injured, while McTavish faced no police discipline at all.
Not only is the fact that the assault went unpunished a serious matter, but we fully believe that this situation was a case of discrimination by the police. Had Harvey been a human being watching the game when this attack happened, the perpetrator would certainly have been looking at jail time. However, since he is a giant hound who wears pants and a hat but no shirt, the crime went unpunished.
This event remains a dark day in the NHL’s history.
June 19th, 1999: Brett Hull Kills Buffalo’s Dreams
Not only did Hull murder the dreams of an entire franchise and his fans when he scored this Stanley Cup-winning goal in 1999, but he also humiliated and disgraced the NHL’s rulebook. How Hull escaped without serious criminal charges after this heinous act we may never know.
June 12th, 2009: Matt Cooke Neglects His Child’s Needs
You probably expected to see Matt Cooke on this list somewhere, but this might not be the incident you were thinking of. However, it is by far the most serious. Sure, Matt Cooke has committed his share of annoying, disruptive and sometimes violent acts over the years, but his obvious lack of concern for his child’s educational needs in the clip posted above should have led to police action and possibly child services being called in. Yes, Jackson Cooke got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see his dad win the Stanley Cup, but he also missed colouring time. In the grand scheme of things, which is more important?
When the New Jersey Devils started Scott Clemmensen in the final game of the season they obviously weren’t thinking about resting their starting goaltender (Martin Brodeur) and protecting him from injury in what was largely a meaningless game for them. No, they were obviously conspiring to hurt the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs needed a New York Islanders loss in order to qualify for the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Devils had already won the Atlantic Division and they should have been able to make short work of the then ninth-place Islanders. However, they played Clemmensen instead of Brodeur, the Islanders won the game and the the Leafs watched the postseason from the sidelines. This was clearly an act of conspiracy by New Jersey.
However, it didn’t end there. Not only did the Devils conspire to hurt the Leafs, which is a serious crime on its own, but the teams should have been charged with terrorism as well. The Devils were losing the game 2-1 when they scored the tying goal with only one second left in regulation. They then lost the game in a shootout. Obviously they did this to terrorize Maple Leaf fans and toy with the emotions of an entire city.
Numerous Occasions: Sean Avery’s Crimes Against Fashion
This is pretty self-explanatory. Whenever Sean Avery is photographed looking like this, this, this or this, he’s not only committing some serious fashion crimes, but the term “crimes against humanity” comes to mind as well.
November 27th, 2009: A Bear Stripped of his Rights
Shockwaves ripped through the NHL on this date. First the news broke that Carlton the Bear was being retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The world was startled by this news. Was he being forced to retire? Carlton had only worked for the Leafs for about 15 years and it’s not like he had reached retirement age yet. This could have been a serious violation of labour and age discrimination laws, but the police were not brought in to investigate the situation.
Then it got worse. The Maple Leafs released a statement from Carlton himself stating that the bear was not retiring. Was this damage control by the team? Was there a cover up taking place? Was Carlton forced to write this note against his will? Why was he still not given any pants? All of these things are against modern labour laws.
To this day we’re still confused as to why the authorities didn’t look into this situation more closely.
October 13th, 2010: Ovechkin Trespasses
What is Ovechkin doing in the defensive zone there? Doesn’t he know that’s not where he belongs, especially when the Caps are on the power play? This is obviously a blatant act of trespassing. Ovechkin should know that he’s at the wrong end of the ice and that going into the defensive zone obviously violates numerous property laws. You can’t just walk into some else’s territory and act like you belong there. Thankfully, Ovechkin learned his lesson here without police intervention and he’s rarely been seen anywhere near the defensive zone again.
May 27th, 1993: Kerry Fraser’s Crime
We’ve already mentioned that getting Leafs fans’ hopes up is the worst crime of all. Unfortunately, dashing them completely is almost as unforgivable. In game six of the Campbell Conference Final, Wayne Gretzky hit Doug Gilmour with a hit stick in overtime. He was not penalized and he went on to score the winning goal moments later. This should be filed alongside the Clemmensen infraction listed above under “making Leafs fans sad.”
This case also reminds us that the NHL committed a serious crime when it changed the conference names from “Campbell” and “Wales” to “Western” and “Eastern” at the conclusion of this season.