November 5, 2010

Dale Tallon and His Crusade Against Humanity

Ever one to rock the boat of conventionality, Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon has taken a stand against the ineptitude of referees everywhere.

Why would he dare crusade against such a beloved part of the game, a facet that all at once brings people together and pits them at each other’s throats, you may ask. Well, the answer is that Mr. Tallon is evil. There is no other way to explain it. He steals candy from babies, walkers from old people trying to cross the street, and year after year tries to steal Christmas, although that last one may be the Grinch.

If you’re unfamiliar with Tallon’s work, he’s the general manager that threw caution and fiscal responsibility to the wind in engineering the Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks. And, now, left steaming from a non-call from last week that helped result in a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’ll be campaigning next week when the league’s gms meet in Toronto for the chance to do away with what most hockey fans hold near and dear to their hearts: the make-up call.

Now, the make-up call, or, as it is known to most casual fans not in the know, the “what the heck kind of call was that” call, takes many forms. It can occur as a result of a high stick, after which there is blood all over the ice, with the officials somehow missing the infraction only to see how badly they screwed up later on the replay. It can occur following an actual penalty, which the referee realized too late unjustifiably handicapped the team in question all thanks to him. It can even happen when the score is getting out of the hand and the referee feels bad for the team being routed to the point of trying to throw them a bone. While referees will never admit to having made one, make no mistake; they do exist and are quite common, sometimes taking place two-to-three times each game... except in post-season overtimes when a referee would rather see a player decapitated than risk being the deciding factor of a game.

In specific regard to Tallon’s issue, he would have each head coach be given the ability to challenge a goal if they feel it was allowed against the rules. Some other criteria in Tallon’s proposal to the NHL’s defacto disciplinarian Colin Campbell: It only pertaining to goal-related calls, coaches still possessing a time-out to use up, and the loss of the time-out if the challenge is unsuccessful.
"Winning a Stanley Cup doesn't make you an expert, Tallon... Oh, wait. My bad."
All this ruckus after the league actually did the Panthers a favour and helped the Leafs to win the game. I mean, did Tallon stop for one second and consider what would have happened if the Panthers had won that game instead? Florida would have been one step further away from earning a lottery pick, all the while giving the Leafs an edge in that race (sorry... the Boston Bruins; my bad). And fan expectations would have been heightened, not to mention all the pressure the Panthers would have certainly put on themselves in subsequent games after successfully beating the lowly Leafs. It never ends.

So, sorry Mr. Tallon, but this so-called idea of yours doesn’t belong in the NHL or any professional sport, for that matter. Forget that it’s currently a success in the NFL, it’s a little too risqué for our tastes, putting the fate of the game in the hands of actual video evidence. Is that what you want, Mr. Tallon? To further empower technology? I suppose the next thing on your wish-list is robotic players, and then a robotic revolution à la Battlestar Galactica. Well, I, for one, do not want the extinction of the human race to take place in my lifetime or at all, for that matter. Clearly you feel differently.

Some things belong in the game: make-up calls after a dirty goal is scored, human error, blind-side hits to unsuspecting heads, etc., etc. Change is bad, Mr. Tallon, and I will thank you to fall in line from here on out.

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