A Whacky Biz? Surely
Whacky Business 1
Six of the seven Sutter boys from Viking, Alberta made it to play in the NHL. Theyíre all retired as players now, but sticking around in other capacities. In no particular order or age, there is Brian, Darryl, Rich, Ron, Brent, and Duane. I ran into Ron on Monday. Talk about the rough road of an NHL scout: travel delays and hassles are commonplace. He was in Massachusetts last Thursday for the snow storm. It took him nine hours to drive from Springfield to the Garden to watch his brotherís Devils beat the Bruins, and he only made it for the second two periods. He had left Springfield about 11 am. Monday, he had a flight delayed or cancelled out of Manchester NH, finally arrived in Chicago, and had another few hour delay trying to get home. He said he was supposed to be home at 12:30 pm Mountain time, he hadnít yet left Chicago at 4:30 Central. And other than mention the times, he actually didnít complain about it at all. ďPart of the job,Ē he said.
Whacky Business 2
I pointed this fact out once last year. The odd thing about our jobs, us hockey TV guys, or hoops, baseball, and football TV guys for that matter, is that no matter who makes a mistake, weíre the oneís sitting out there staring into the camera, or yapping into a microphone, potentially sounding like or looking like doofuses. The scary thing is, we commit enough wrinkles and have enough mini-slips ourselves, that we donít need any help from the techies in the truck or in the building. Many occur because of the speed of the game, the need to talk really fast, or just because weíre human. Itís what makes the job a challenge and always interesting.
That said, some moments stand out more than others. The other night, it was a timing matter, which led to an unresolved issue. We should have resolved the discussion on the air but we didnít. Hockey moves fast and thereís not a lot of time for certain things.
Anyway, Iíd like to clarify a question I asked poorly during the game, to the boys upstairs, because I think itís an interesting hypothetical. Nothing Earth shattering by any means, but still a fun little idiosyncrasy. The Bruins had changed lines, with Glen Murray the last of his group to leave the ice. The other five Bruins were already on the ice, moving the puck toward the offensive zone. As the puck crossed into the offensive zone, the whistle blew for offside. Murrayís skate was still on the ice, and the door to the bench (and Murray) was inside the blueline. Good call: offside. My question: why isnít that play also a minor for too-many-men-on-the-ice or delay-of-game. The direct and indirect arguments are as follows. Murrayís presence in this case resulted in a stoppage of play. He is clearly an extra player. The other five skaters were already on the ice, involved in their shift and into the action. Murrayís slow step caused the action to stop. Is he not an extra player on the ice impacting play in this case? Sure he is. Is it grievous or intentional? Heck no. Is it Murrayís fault however that the play stopped? Absolutely. It stopped as a result of the action of (clearly) an extra skater being on the ice.
Iím not arguing for or against this hypothetical call. I was just bringing it up as a point. There are other penalties which are inadvertent, other forms of both too-many-men and delay-of-game which arenít grievous or intentional. For that reason, Iím almost surprised this interpretation isnít in the book: An extra skater, clearly stopping play and impacting the game.
For the purposes of holding this discussion on TV, well, we didnít have much time, and as a production unit, on-air folks and off, none of us handled it very well.
Whacky Business 3
As co-producer, writer, and host of Rubber Biscuit, and as NESN hockey TV reporter boy (very old boy), I donít have much time for anything. But I am working on another book, and I am working on another production project. Who suffers most? Family. Who? Family. Refresh my memory again ... You get the picture. The players and coaches and broadcasters with families who live out of the respective hockey town know what Iím talking about. Itís the road, itís the lifestyle, and it depends on the status of your employment. Bottom line: Thank you to my family and to the few others out there in a similar boat, for your patience and understanding.
All the best.