from the Duluth News Tribune
Duluth, MN - The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs may have come out of this weekend with three points and sole possession of 5th place in the WCHA, but one controversy remains. With 4:30 left in the third period of Saturday's game, Mike Connolly took a charging penalty... or so the referees said. However, was this really a penalty? And furthermore, did this play really occur? No one seems to be able to pinpoint what happened, or even where it happened.
At first, there seemed to be no issue. Muttsdrool, the Oldest Living UMD fan, recounted that the "occurred right in front of [him] and you could have called high sticking, charging, or roughing, although the rough would have been a stretch." However, later on, Anti-Gergenite Proman countered with his own recollection. He agreed with the location of the hit, center ice, but disagreed on its severity. "The hit wasn't exactly the the way you described it. He got his hands up a little bit but his stick wasn't up and it wasn't close to the 3 or 4 blatant boarding/checking from behind hits that Tech got away with." Proman's argument was for a conspiracy, continuing, "He got called because it was UMD's turn for a penalty." Grumpy pessimist UMDBHIK went even further, denying the hit was even a hit. "It's somehow MCon's fault two Tech players happened to be in the way?.. It was a terrible call and there is no disputing it."
UMD Superfan and Antimichaelgergenestablishmentarianist DrunkHockeyGuy disagreed with Muttsdrool as well, stating it "looked pretty clean" from his vantage point high atop section 25, but Mutts challenged DHG's ability to accurately judge the situation. "[He] couldn't even see the ice. [He was] [expletive]-faced before the game." (Sources say DHG was spotted at some Canal Park establishments the previous evening, and another source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that DHG had "woken up drunk and continued drinking from there.")
Later, the location of the hit even came into question. UMD Blogger and convicted felon Runninwiththedogs stated she believed the hit came in the offensive zone, while student section attempted leader Burbstyle agreed, stating it was "like down almost even with the hashmarks." He also attempted to fend off any accusations of inebriation. "I was sober so hopefully my memory is pretty accurate." The confidence resonated from that statement. Runninwiththedogs later recanted her statement once her seatmate, freelance hockey writer Bruce Ciskie pointed out he was "pretty sure it was closer to our goaltender than Tech's," though even he wasn't entirely sure, as his attentions were focused on referee harassment. Then DHG stated the hit occurred "just outside the offensive blue line," despite RWD's recollection that it was "far away from [Ciskie and herself]," who were seated in section 23 and therefore nearest the offensive zone. Iron Ranger Rinkrat called it "a good hit at center ice," further confusing the issue, and UMDBHIK agreed, stating the hit was "right around the red line."
With so much controversy surrounding the penalty and its location, how can we even be sure a penalty occurred? Or even a clean hit? With all the changes in officiating this season, is it any wonder there is such confusion? Rinkrat Ranger voiced his dissent. "As of right now, many of the calls seem to be tools to change the swing of the game, or to amuse the refs, or to pi$$-off the coaches, players, fans, etc. After watching hockey for 30+ years, I finally can say that I don't understand the current game and the direction it is going." How can fans understand the game when they cannot even be certain if a play happened?