Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Calvert gets held down and sucker punched at the Detroit bench — and no call from the officials.
Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Calvert survived a marauding Detroit Red Wings bench. No, seriously, he almost had to fight the whole bench — and in the end, he was sucker punched from a player on the bench.
It all started with a nifty play by the Avs forward. The attacking Wings were trying to set up a one-timer. Calvert dove to poke check the puck then started to chase it down. Detroit defenseman Mike Greene checked him in front of the Wings net.
That’s when chaos ensues. Calvert spins around, and his stick ends up over the wall of the Wings bench. As he tries to pull it back to him, two Detroit players hold onto it, pulling him back toward the bench.
Well, what’s a man to do? According to Calvert in the post-game presser, he “tried to grind it out there.” According to Altitude analyst Mark Rycroft, he “tried to shish kabob a couple guys.”
Whatever it was, two Detroit Red Wings take exception. They grab him and start to sucker punch him:
Now, let’s get this straight. Calvert is on the ice. Two Wings grab his stick. Two more Wings then grab him, one holding him down while the other sucker punches him.
Let’s drill down on that for a moment. It was Dylan Larkin who held Calvert down — Larkin, who had earlier tackled Nathan MacKinnon then wormed his way out of answering to Patrik Nemeth. (Who went on to answer to Anthony Mantha, but never mind.)
Who sucker punched Matt Calvert? Betuzzi. Not Todd, but his nephew, Tyler Bertuzzi. Apparently being a scumbag runs in the family. Because not only did Bertuzzi sucker punch an Avalanche player (no, really, I actually can’t get over the nerve of another Bertuzzi sucker punching another defenseless Avalanche player). No, not only did Bertuzzi sucker punch Calvert, he actually stripped off his glove to hit Calvert skin-on-skin.
What a clown, really.
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In the end, Bertuzzi’s antics cut Calvert’s face. He’s fine. He even remarked, “That type of hockey game, it’s fun.” It is, and we all enjoy watching the physical play when it doesn’t result in a bad injury.
In fact, that seems to be the kind of hockey teams want to try against the fleet Colorado Avalanche. Calvert isn’t bothered by that. “Teams want to play us rough? Bring it.”
What’s especially bad on that play, though, is that there was no call on the ice. I get it that hockey happens fast, and you can miss split-second things like offsides or hooks. But this situation played out over eight seconds. With a referee right there. And with giant, red arms flailing on a white-clad player.
Color analyst Peter McNab nearly had a conniption, and play-by-play announcer Marc Moser was none too pleased himself. You can’t maraud a player on the ice when you’re on the bench. I don’t remember seeing anything like that even in the Wild 90s. Not even the Great Brawl of 1997 had players sucker punching an opponent who was on the ice.
The Department of Player “Safety” should be taking a look at this. There was no call on the ice, but they should hand down some fines to Larkin and, especially, Bertuzzi. After all, captain Gabriel Landeskog had to pay a fine for punching Wild captain Mikko Koivu, and it wasn’t nearly as violent as what the Wings did to Calvert.
The infamous Colorado-Detroit rivalry is a thing of the past. However, maybe it now comes with the pulling on of the stately burgundy and blue or the garish Red Wings red.
Maybe the hatred between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings is instinctual now.