1) People who write mission statements would be well-advised to keep a copy of former New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner’s close at hand. It was: “Win the World Series. Repeat.”
2) A while ago I wrote about the two worst games I played as a hockey goalie, prompting some people to ask me if I remember the best game I ever played. I do. It was in the late 50s, but unfortunately didn’t count for anything other than the memory. I was back home in the village of Morell, PEI, for the Christmas holidays and, hoping to get into a game or two, had taken my hockey equipment with me. For some reason that I’ve long since forgotten the goalie for the Morell hockey team wasn’t able to play and I suited up for three exhibition games, all of which turned out to be memorable. The first was against the nearby village of Mount Stewart. It was memorable for two reasons: first, it was played outdoors on the river that flows through the middle of the village; and secondly, Mount Stewart had an incredibly talented young defenseman named Buddy McIntyre who was every bit as good as the players I was playing against in Jr. B in Toronto. A couple of years later Buddy and I played together for four years in Charlottetown. The next game was in the town of Souris, at that time Morell’s most hated hockey rival. This one was memorable because the old Souris rink, although an indoor arena, had no toilets, just a large bucket in the corner of the dressing room. Although I played in the Souris rink many times as a kid, I’d forgotten about the bucket and made the mistake of sitting next to it to get dressed. Having a very sensitive sense of smell, I eventually threw up, prompting one of the Morell players, George Kelly, to quip, “Lyman thinks he’s Glenn Hall.” Glenn, of course, was one of the best goalies to ever play the game and was famous for throwing up before games. The final game I played was memorable because it turned out to be the best game I ever played. This one was in the town of Georgetown, another long-time hockey rival of Morell. We were badly outplayed and a young lady in the crowd informed me after the game that I’d had seventy-four shots. I stopped seventy-one of them. But another reason the game was memorable was another great quip. As I was leaving the ice at the end of the second period I walked past two spectators and heard one say to the other, “You know, that little goalie from Morell is in danger of being erased.”
3) Veteran Boston Globe sportswriter Bob Ryan’s response to a guy who said that golf shouldn’t be counted as a sport was classic. Ryan said, “Then how come every athlete in every other sport wishes he could play golf better?”
4) Deciding on the appropriate penalty for Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman’s assault on linesman Don Henderson on Wednesday night is shaping up to be one of the most difficult the NHL has ever had to make. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched the replay and I certainly can’t come to a conclusion. Hearing the testimony of the people who were there will certainly help, but the NHL folks will still have some sticky facts to deal with. Let’s start with the question of whether Wideman wasn’t thinking straight as a result of the mugging he had just taken along the boards in the corner. He certainly looked pretty much out of it as he made a beeline for the bench, possibly not realizing that the big body in his way was an official. But Wideman wasn’t subjected to the concussion protocols and didn’t even miss a shift. Then there’s the not insignificant point that none of the other three officials on the ice called a penalty for assaulting an official. It’s possible that they all missed it, but it’s equally possible that, depending on their angles and the overall circumstances, they thought it was just a collision. Next, mix in the likelihood that the NHL officials’ organization will be pushing for a stiff penalty while the players’ association will be arguing for extenuating circumstances. It’s going to be very interesting indeed.