Hi all, Sam Borden here. Sorry I’m not the Sam you guys (rightfully) loved for so long, but I just wanted to drop in with a few thoughts and a fresh thread for tonight’s goings-on.
First, I put the subject of this post as “A Night to Remember” because the pre-game ceremony was memorable but also because I wonder if another loss tonight will spell the end for Tom Renney. The win over the Islanders was welcome, obviously, but another poor performance yesterday in Buffalo put the crosshairs squarely back in place.
Second, I spent some time with Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell on Friday afternoon for a column that you’ll see in The Journal News and LoHud.com tomorrow. These guys are total class acts and really enjoyable to chat with. Howell broke up the room talking about playing for a New Jersey franchise in the WHA that played in an arena that was, literally, condemned.
One of the more interesting exchanges, at least for me, was when both men talked about the way the game is being officiated nowadays. I’m a referee/umpire/any-kind-of-official buff, and it was terrific to hear them give their thoughts on how tight the NHL has become with the rules. “I don’t really appreciate how the referees are now,” Howell said. “I don’t even think they need two referees. We could get away with a lot more stuff.”
The refs back then had a great sense of humor, Howell added, mentioning a time when he was called for a penalty he thought he didn’t deserve. “The referee called a penalty and I threw my stick up in the air,” he said. “The referee said, ‘Howell, when that thing comes down, you got 10 (minute misconduct).’”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the ceremony – I thought it was fantastic – and I’ll try to check in a few times during the game.