Yesterday’s NHL Winter Classic 2020 from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Texas was an amazing way to start off the new decade as a Stars fan. The game itself as well as the coverage of the event on a whole was thrilling to see. Naturally seeing the Dallas Stars come away with a 4-2 victory over the rival Nashville Predators in the end made it that much sweeter, especially after the Stars were down 2-0 in the early part of the game. My compliments to all the folks who put an effort into making it happen, I never thought an outdoor game in such a genuinely warm environment could work but it did and it was an enjoyable way to spend the first day of the new year.
Of course I spent a large portion of the game tweeting and to no surprise at all took a lump or two over a tweet that I think was misunderstood, but it was my fault because I think after looking back on it that I probably could have worded it better than I did. The sport of Hockey is an emotional one, and at times we as fans walk a fine line in wanting to see our favorite team win, but I don’t think that there is a single person out there including myself that wants to see a player get injured trying to win a game.
I should probably clarify what I tweeted out because by far I do not condone what the Dallas Stars’ Corey Perry did when he delivered a head shot hit on the Predators Ryan Ellis and I think he was remorseful for doing so. It was definitely an on-the-edge of your seat moment in the opening minutes of the game and the reactions from the fans on Twitter including myself went on for hours even after the game ended. Sadly both players inevitably missed the rest of the game as the Predators Ryan Ellis did not return after the being helped off, and Corey Perry was assessed a major penalty and thrown out of the game.
Again, Hockey is an intense sport and at times whether you are a fan watching the game or a professional player participating in the game, emotions can sometimes get the better of you. I would like to personally apologize to the all the folks on Twitter who might have seen my tweet and maybe even may have raised an eyebrow at what I said, but in my defense it was purely a reactionary response to Ryan Ellis’ hit on New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich which was equally debated over social media following that game. Having watched both games on live television I learned something from this and that is that the NHL must figure out a better way to set a precedence in how they not only deal with a repeat offender, but what criteria goes into determining the repercussions for players who partake in such tactics. At first thought I was thinking that maybe reviewing these plays on the spot when they happen could work because Ellis’ hit on Buchnevich definitely warranted a major penalty, an ejection from that game, and a league suspension as well, but that would likely slow down the game and leave far too many incidences requiring in-game reviews.
At the time Corey Perry’s hit on Ryan Ellis seemed like poetic justice considering how I felt after watching him get away with hit on Buchnevich, but by far there is no question that he did not have to face the consequences Perry did because for Perry just the shame of being thrown out of a game like the nationally televised Winter Classic seemed far more punishing in itself and the Nashville Predators not only got the five man advantage but they also scored two power play goals on the penalty assessed to Dallas for Corey Perry’s actions. All Ryan Ellis got following his hit on Rangers Pavel Buchnevich was a two-minute minor penalty for elbowing and very lame review of the hit by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety official George Parros.
It is baffling at times but onward we go because the second half of the season is upon us and today the Dallas Stars are 23-14-4 and sitting in third place in the Western Conference’s Central Division eight points ahead of the same division rival Nashville Predators they faced in the game yesterday. Next time something like that happens I will take a moment to think before hitting the send button on a tweet of such a sensitive nature.