Last year it was Dennis Wideman steamrolling a linesman from behind into the boards after taking a headshot himself in the corner. I defended Wideman saying I didn’t think it was nearly as bad/intentional as the video made it out to be. Still a dangerous, boneheaded play but not as bad/intentional as it seemed. This Antoine Vermette clip from last night? Well clearly it was intentional. Clearly he was upset with how the linesman conducted the faceoff here and wanted to make sure he knew about it. And for that little love tap right there, Vermette was given a 10-minute game misconduct and if the NHL Department of Player Safety actually goes with what the book says here, then he’s looking at Rule 40.3 getting thrown his way. Which states: Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any manner (excluding actions as set out in Category I), which physical force is applied without intent to injure, or who spits on an official, shall be automatically suspended for not less than ten (10) games.
10 games for that little love tap? Give me a fucking break. The game misconduct was more than enough already. Because let me tell you something about these officials. I said it on Monday in the Dangle Days blog about Wes McCauley after his “5 minutes each for FIGHTING” call over the weekend. These officials want their cake and they want to eat it to. They want to make the show about themselves with unnecessarily dramatic calls. They love to act as if they’re as tough as the players themselves. Which, if you’ve ever seen a linesman break up a fight before, they are. And they get paid to do it. It’s not like these guys are volunteering their time here out of the kindness of their hearts. They are professionals. So they want to be a part of the show, they are supposedly tough as nails, and they get paid to do all of this. You’re telling me this hoser can’t take one little tap to the back of the legs for dropping the puck when Vermette wasn’t in position? S-A-W-F-T!
Now in no way am I saying that Vermette should be in the clear here. That was a bonehead decision to make. But these guys have emotions. They are competitive as all hell. They get angry sometimes. And he barely even touched him. I have no dog in this fight. I couldn’t care less about Antoine Vermette and the Anaheim Ducks. So from a completely unbiased opinion, I think the official here is softer than baby shit for not just letting this one go. Charmin Ultra.