The Leafs played the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in a game that was dull until the very end when many things happened.
- Anthony Mantha jumped Jake Muzzin after a clean hit, punched him and had him in a headlock.
- Muzzin took Mantha down bodily, and Mantha hit his head on the ice. Muzzin was given the extra minor penalty for an unexplained unsportsmanlike conduct (that’s usually for something you say or do that the refs take offence to but isn’t covered under the rules specifically).
- Travis Dermott was ejected for banging his stick on the ice after the Red Wings scored on the resulting power play.
- Andreas Athanasiou took a run at Alexander Kerfoot and tried a knee-on-knee that failed only due to Kerfoot’s evasive manoeuvres.
- Justin Holl fought Athanasiou, and they both got the gate.
So naturally, the Wheel of Discipline fell on… Robby Fabbri for a really obvious spearing that was called a slash midway through the second period:
Kerfoot, who apparently the Red Wings don’t like (possibly the red haze of hatred for Colorado players that still infects Detroit after all these years), and Fabbri were given slashing minors at the time, which is odd, since the referee and the linesman say it up close.
Rule 62 – Spearing
62.1 Spearing – Spearing shall mean stabbing an opponent with the point of the stick blade, whether contact is made or not.
62.2 Double-minor Penalty – A double-minor penalty will be imposed on a player who spears an opponent and does not make contact.
62.3 Major Penalty – A major penalty shall be imposed on a player who spears an opponent (see 62.5).
62.4 Match Penalty – A match penalty shall be imposed on a player who injures an opponent as a result of a spear.
62.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – Whenever a major penalty is assessed for spearing, a game misconduct penalty must also be imposed.
62.6 Fines and Suspensions – There are no specified fines or suspensions for spearing, however, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion (refer to Rule 28).
In a classic case of assigning penalties for the outcome they wanted, not according to the rules, the referee wanted two minors and four-on-four hockey, so he transformed the spearing into a slash to avoid having to hand out a major penalty and a game misconduct.
Technically the Commissioner does have the right to fine players as stated in the rule, and that right has been passed onto the Department of Player Safety. They’re fond of fines under the new regime run by George Parros. The criteria for the fine amount is capped at 50% of one day’s salary for the player, up to $10,000 on a first offence. Fines are not the same as the salary forfeited from a suspension.
Player Safety has issued nine fines so far this year and 10 suspensions for on-ice behaviour.
The NHL has created a system of on-ice referees enforcing a set rule book, while their supplementary discipline has near absolute discretion and exists outside the entire chain of authority of the on-ice officials. They all ultimately work for the NHL, but the streams don’t cross until you get to the very top. It’s inevitable, then, that the league will, with one arm, second guess or overrule the decisions of the on-ice officials.
Fabbri should have been assessed a major penalty under the rules. But penalties are used to manage gameflow, emotions and to appear to be impartial and fair in some way. All fans expect the contradiction of fairness (to their team) and even distribution of penalty minutes, which is impossible to achieve. The NHL has long held with the idea that penalties should be assessed in a traditional way that appears like they’ve achieved both competing goals of the fans, leaving all of us confused most of the time about why they do what they do, and opening the door to conspiracy theorists and the grievance-prone.
And now, after a game with several dangerous actions, several outrageous actions and a lot of penalties given in a flurry, this one choice of a referee from long before any of that boiled over gets special attention. Whether intentional or not, the message here is that the league doesn’t think the referees are doing their job correctly. This is an odd way to make that point.
If DoPS plans on spinning the wheel again for any of the other events of that game, we’ll let you know. I don’t try to guess anymore.
Game Recap: Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks – RaptorsHQ
The Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks had played just over a week ago, a game that appeared to be a runaway for the Raptors in the fourth before a late push by the Hawks tightened the final score to 122-117.
Since then, both teams have seen their top players, Pascal Siakam and Trae Young respectively, recognized as All-Star starters. While they are even in that regard, these two teams are close in little else. Going into this one, the Raptors sat at 32-14, good for third in the East and in the midst of a seven-game win streak. For Atlanta, only the Golden State Warriors had a worse record in the NBA.
Unlike their last meeting, this game reflected that disparity and the Raptors out-executed the Hawks from top-to-bottom and finished the game winning 130-114 for their eighth straight. The Raptors took care of the ball, winning the turnover battle and losing it only 13 times while the Hawks coughed it up 18 times. They also took advantage of sloppy Hawks defense, constantly dissecting their opponent for easy buckets. The most notable part of this one, however, came when Kyle Lowry made another entry in the Raptors history books.
Lowry has spent this season cementing his status as the greatest Raptor of all time, based on his overall body of work with the team. It is fitting that the team’s record books start reflecting his greatness and productivity. In the fourth quarter, he threw a very Lowry-esque touchdown pass to Terence Davis, who had just slipped behind the defense and proceeded to catch the perfectly placed ball and finish with ease, giving Lowry his record setting 3771st assist with the Toronto Raptors.
Lowry then turned around and, clearly well aware of what he had just accomplished, flashed a genuine smile that showed how much he appreciated the moment. We’ve seen a similar smile a few times before, specifically when it was clear the Raptors would beat the Milwaukee Bucks and punch their ticket to the NBA Finals, and when he hit a half-court buzzer beater in game one of the 2016 Miami Heat series to send the game to overtime. In a sport when guys are often told to “act like they’ve been there before,” it’s nice to see a guy just enjoy and appreciate the moments where he simply has not been there before.
The tone leading up to the game made it clear that the NBA remains shaken from Kobe Bryant’s death, the tragic event that rocked the sports world on Sunday. Perhaps no person influences today’s players more so than Kobe, and the responses from the players have magnified the impact that he had. The number of players who have personal relationships with Bryant is astonishing and a testament to Bryant’s commitment to the game.
Norman Powell, who wears number 24 and is fresh off of a summer working with Kobe, wore a hoodie with “Kobe and Gigi” on the back with the infinity symbol under their names to the game – a tribute to the lasting legacy Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who were both killed in the crash. Trae Young, the point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, was Gianna’s favourite player, and was devastated by Sunday’s events. He had an outstanding game on Sunday following the news, which he dedicated to Bryant.
Following a video tribute to Kobe and a moment of silence, the game was underway.
The disparity between the two teams was obvious from the jump. Defensively, the Hawks simply did not look connected, and the Raptors preyed on their lapses with cuts and ball movement on their way to 33 first quarter points. Marc Gasol, typically one to set the table rather than finish, led the Raptors with ten first quarter points. He hit two threes, and following a pump fake, took a few Spanish Steps and threw down a rare Statue of Liberty dunk. Unfortunately, Gasol would later leave the game as a result of the same hamstring that bothered him earlier this season.
In their most recent matchup, Trae Young gave the Raptors fits en route to a 42 point performance. In the first half, they bottled him up effectively, limiting him to only six points. If not for a hot start for Hawks centre John Collins, who had 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting and 6-of-6 from the free throw line, the Raptors’ lead would be even larger. Still, at halftime, the Raptors were up 68-56. Although Collins would cool off, tacking on only eight more for the rest of the game, he still led the Hawks in scoring with 28.
Pascal Siakam entered the third quarter in attack-mode, and carried the momentum that he built in the Spurs game into this one. He made a concerted effort to get to the rim, and was successful, with all 12 of his third quarter points coming in shots in the restricted area or on free throws that resulted from his drives. The third was the last we would see of Siakam, though it was enough for him to lead the Raptors with 24 points. Even though Trae Young was able to match Siakam’s 12 in the frame, the Raptors grew their lead to 14 by the end of the third.
Unfortunately, it was this quarter where Marc Gasol left, aggravating the hamstring injury that he sustained back in December against the Pistons. The Raptors have not lost since Gasol’s return, and the statistics suggest this is no coincidence. The Raptors are vastly better with Gasol on the floor, and another extended absence would sting a Raptors team that was finally healthy.
The Raptors went on a dominant run to start the fourth quarter. That run included Lowry’s record-breaking assist, and it virtually put the game away for good. This time, the Hawks would not mount enough of a comeback to make this one close, and the Raptors were able to coast to the finish.
It was great to see Lowry get hold of a prestigious record, and we wish Marc Gasol a speedy recovery. Here’s to hoping the Raptors can maintain this momentum into their next one against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Crash-warning device might not have saved Kobe Bryant's helicopter, experts – CBC.ca
The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant didn’t have a recommended warning system to alert the pilot he was too close to land, but it’s not clear it would have averted the crash that killed nine when the aircraft plummeted toward a fog-shrouded hillside, U.S. regulators and experts say.
Pilot Ara Zobayan had been climbing out of the clouds when the aircraft banked left and began a sudden and terrifying 366-metre descent that lasted nearly a minute.
“This is a pretty steep descent at high speed,” Jennifer Homendy of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday. “We know that this was a high-energy impact crash.”
The aircraft was intact when it hit the ground, but the impact spread debris over more than 150 metres. Remains of the final victims were recovered Tuesday, and so far the remains of Bryant, Zobayan and two other passengers have been identified using fingerprints.
Determining what caused the crash will take months, but investigators may again recommend that to avoid future crashes helicopters carrying six or more passenger seats be equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) that would have sounded an alarm if the aircraft was in danger of crashing.
FAA called for warning system
The agency made that recommendation after a similar helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76A carrying workers to an offshore drilling ship, crashed in the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, Texas, killing all 10 people on board in 2004.
The NTSB concluded if TAWS had been installed, pilots would have been warned in time to prevent hitting the water. The board recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration require the warning systems. Ten years later, the FAA eventually required such systems on air ambulances, but not other helicopters.
FAA officials had questioned whether the technology would work on helicopters, which fly lower and could trigger too many false alarms that might detract from safety.
The NTSB said FAA’s response was unacceptable, but dropped the matter.
“Certainly, TAWS could have helped to provide information to the pilot on what terrain the pilot was flying in,” Homendy said of the helicopter that was carrying Bryant.
Homendy also said it was too soon to say whether the pilot had control of the helicopter during the steep, high-speed descent, although she noted that “it wouldn’t be a normal landing speed.”
Bill English, investigator-in-charge of the agency’s Major Investigations Division, said it’s not clear yet whether “TAWS and this scenario are related to each other.”
Pilot had 8,000 hours of experience
Zobayan, 50, was well-acquainted with the skies over Los Angeles and accustomed to flying Bryant and other celebrities.
He had spent thousands of hours ferrying passengers through one of the nation’s busiest air spaces and training students how to fly a helicopter. Friends and colleagues described him as skilled, cool and collected, the very qualities you want in a pilot.
Zobayan had flown the day before the crash on a route with the same departure and destination — Orange County to Ventura County. But on Sunday, he had to divert because of heavy fog.
The chartered Sikorsky S-76B plowed into a cloud-shrouded hillside as the retired NBA star was on his way to a youth basketball basketball tournament in which his daughter Gianna was playing. Two of her teammates also were on the helicopter with parents.
Watch: Fans mourn Kobe Bryant as investigators probe crash
NTSB investigators have said Zobayan asked for and received permission from air traffic controllers to proceed in the fog, which Homendy said was “very common.” In his last radio transmission before the helicopter went down, he reported that he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer.
Investigators have not faulted his decision. or determined why he made it. The FAA warns helicopter pilots that it is their job to decide whether to cancel a flight because of bad weather or other risks, and to have a backup plan in case weather worsens during the flight.
Zobayan was chief pilot for the craft’s owner, Island Express Helicopters. He also was a flight instructor, had more than 8,000 hours of flight time and had flown Bryant and other celebrities, including Kylie Jenner.
Island Express has had three previous helicopter crashes since 1985, two of them fatal, according to the NTSB’s accident database. All involved flights to or from the company’s main destination of Santa Catalina Island, about 20 miles off the Southern California coast.
On Tuesday, the last of the bodies and the wreckage were recovered from the weekend crash in Calabasas.
Fingerprints were used to confirm the identity of Bryant, 41; Zobayan; John Altobelli, 56; and Sarah Chester, 45. While the the coroner has not identified five other victims, relatives and acquaintances have identified them as:
- Gianna Bryant, 13-year-old daughter of Kobe Bryant.
- Payton Chester, 13-year-old daughter of Sarah Chester.
- Keri Altobelli, wife of John Altobelli.
- Alyssa Altobelli, daughter of John Altobelli.
- Christina Mauser, helped Bryant coach his daughter’s team.
Raptors deliver Toronto-tailored tribute to Kobe Bryant in return home – Sportsnet.ca
TORONTO – The day of mourning and remembrance started early Tuesday in Toronto.
At about 9:30 in the morning, an eagle-eyed Ryerson University student spotted outside of Scotiabank Arena a small collection of flowers along with a basketball and a couple of black No. 8 jerseys with the name “Bryant” emblazoned atop the number.
By the afternoon, this small collection had grown to include balloons, hats and more.
A full-on memorial for the late Kobe Bryant in Toronto. An impromptu gesture that speaks to the impact Bryant had on fans around the world.
Fans in Toronto are paying tribute to Kobe Bryant with a memorial outside of Scotiabank Arena. pic.twitter.com/7nP2mEEEWm
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 28, 2020
But this memorial outside of Scotiabank Arena only served as the prelude of what was to come in the venue on Tuesday evening.
Across the league, there have been many tributes and many heartfelt words spoken in the wake of Sunday’s tragedy, but on Tuesday it was the Toronto Raptors’ turn.
Unlike on Sunday, when the team was caught blindsided by the news in San Antonio, opting to run out the 24-second shot clock to start the game in honour of Bryant’s No. 24, Tuesday was a much more scripted affair.
It began in warmups, when Bryant-related songs played, including Juicy J’s “Who Da Neighbors” and Lil Wayne’s aptly named “Kobe Bryant.”
Then, before player introductions, the Raptors held a video tribute in honour of Bryant followed by a 24-second moment of silence.
Mamba Forever pic.twitter.com/IJya2dRxyB
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 29, 2020
The coolest thing, however, came near the end of the third quarter when the Atlanta Hawks, Toronto’s opponent on Tuesday, reach 81 points and their score lit up purple on the main scoreboard in honour of the 81 Bryant dropped on the Raptors in 2006.
These were all initiatives that were well done by the Raptors and left fans on their feet during Toronto’s 130-114 victorious affair that, amid the Bryant tribute, also featured plenty of love for former Raptor Vince Carter – making his second last visit to Toronto before he retires – and for Kyle Lowry, who became the Raptors’ all-time assist leader.
There were smiles all around the arena.
But as happy an evening as Tuesday was for fans in attendance, for players, the memory of Bryant’s loss was still very prevalent.
“It’s hard to find the words to describe what happened, what we went through, what everybody’s going through as a community, as a family,” said Fred VanVleet after the game. “But I think the important thing is that we try to keep pushing as best we can, and pain comes from the love, and I think that’s the tribute to how great somebody is. I think we’re seeing it. We’re all dealing with it together.”
Yes, while there was reason to celebrate in the Raptors’ locker room, what with a win and a milestone for a franchise icon, the tone of the room was still more reserved.
Norman Powell — dressed in a hoodie honouring Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who also lost her life in that tragic helicopter crash Sunday — still seemed very shaken up as he exited the room.
And he wasn’t the only one. Nearly every player did.
“It’s been tough man, it’s been tough,” said Lowry. “Whenever you turn the news on, that’s how you know the man was a world icon. That everything you turn on it’s about this and that, and it’s hard to look at it and it’s hard to know what his family is possibly going through. It’s tough. Every time you think about it you get sad.”
Added VanVleet: “I’ve been crying enough, so I’m gonna try not to cry now. It’s super super sad, as a human being, human beings, that were involved, the families that were involved, and then you add on what a fantastic basketball player, and how much he meant to a culture, it’s hard to find words to describe those things. I think we’re all pretty sad and heartbroken, and we should be, and you take your time to grieve and find your ways to deal with it individually.”
As VanVleet said, everyone grieves and deals with loss in their own way, but Pascal Siakam, who lost his father in a car accident in 2014, has unique perspective on the hurt Bryant’s family and those of the other seven victims in Sunday’s crash are going through.
“For someone that knows what it’s like to lose somebody that you really love, all I can do is pray for families involved and hope that God can give them strength to go through this tough time,” said Siakam. “There’s not much you can really say but keep them in your prayers and hope that they’re strong enough to overcome.”
Specifically about Bryant, Siakam is bereaved by a missed chance to meet the Mamba.
“I didn’t really get the chance to have a relationship with him,” said Siakam. “And I remember in the playoffs and he did a Detail on me, like one of those episodes, and I was pretty excited just knowing that he knows about me and knows about my game and him giving me a little advice.
“I remember watching that and trying to soak up any new knowledge that I can to improve my game. And things that he saw that I could do better, from being able to develop a mid-range to working on different footwork. So watching that was something that was really big for me.
“And I was invited to the Mamba Camp that he had in the summer and I wasn’t able to go, so that really hurt me, too. Just knowing that was my chance to meet him and maybe have a relationship with him or see things that he sees in my game and learn from him. So I was definitely mad at myself about that. I feel I kind of missed an opportunity.”
This feeling of ‘would’ve, could’ve’ Siakam expressed is felt by just about everyone.
On Tuesday, the Raptors did a fine job of honouring Bryant, but it would’ve been a whole lot nicer if it wasn’t necessary at all.
Game Recap: Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks – RaptorsHQ
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