Like Father Like Son
With less than a week of NHL pre-season action, the hockey narcs are already clocking in. Montreal played host to Floridan Panthers Wednesday night, marking Max Domi's first appearance donning the CH. After three seasons in the desert of Arizona, where he was in the hot seat for not performing to his potential, Domi was dealt to Montreal.
On Wednesday, Max wanted to make an impression on one of the biggest hockey markets in the show. First game in a Habs uni can be more nerve-wracking than riding the highway for the first time by yourself surrounded by semi-trucks. In hockey, when jitters get the best of you, do the little things right. Lay some hits, do simple plays, and contribute subtly.
But if your last name is Domi, subtle is definitely not your middle name.
Unfortunately, the undeserving, unsuspecting victim of this bloody beat down is Aaron Ekblad, who has an alarming concussion history in the early years of his career. Already, Ekblad has suffered three diagnosed concussions — one ahead of the 2014 World Junior Championship, one in January 2016 and one in March 2017, not to mention a possible fourth during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. The benefits of not throwing down with a Domi in meaningless pre-season action far outweigh the reasons to chuck knucks.
Domi becomes the first player to get called before the NHL’s Department of Player Safety this season. After the hearing on Thursday afternoon, Max learned he will be suspended for the remainder of the pre-season. The newly acquired Habs Center will return against his old mans' former team in Toronto on October 3rd.
For the most part, the only thing Max shares with Tie is a name. However, the Montreal forward has displayed shades of Tie in the past, and those moments came with praise from both media and fans.
Very different dance from Wednesdays tilt. Kesler is one of the lest popular players in the NHL with both players and fans. Ekblad, however, is a beloved leader of a young squad in Florida - and this is an exhibition game in 2018.
Although, once upon a time, fighting in exhibition games was a way to impress coaches for final roster decisions.
When Don Cherry coached the Mississauga Ice Dogs in 2001, he was very unimpressed with the lack of physicality displayed in the exhibition games. He told them if he doesn't see more fights, he will send everyone home. The next night, a line brawl ensued on the opening draw with the starting 5.
Hockey is a contact sport where emotions run real high. NHL analyst Nick Kypreos understands that.
Sure, Kyper is a former teammate of Tie Domi and has amassed over 1000 PIMs in his hockey career. But that's why he gets it. He states in an interview with fan 590 that the league has done a great job at protecting players, but this is still NHL hockey and your protection isn't always guaranteed by the league. Kyper's career was cut short in a fight that left him unconscious and unable to ever play the game again, yet, he still see's why fighting plays a certain role in the game, even if it's a minor one.
Luckily, Ekblad left the game with nothing more than a nose bleed.
Now I'm not saying Aaron needs to scrap everyone who invites him, especially with his concussion issues, but don't just stare at a linesmen when a hot-headed Domi is in your face for over 10 seconds.
As for Max, maybe pick your battles better, although sometimes - you just can't argue with nature.