The only goal scored on a goaltender in Monday night’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild came on a powerplay that was, according to Canucks fans, a trifle controversial. After Dany Heatley shoved Daniel Sedin near the benches, Alex Burrows rushed in to defend his Swedish semi-sibling, leading to a veritable brouhaha that included a donnybrook between Kevin Bieksa and the Wild’s Nick Johnson.
When the dust settled, Bieksa and Johnson received fighting majors and Burrows received the extra minor for roughing, putting the Wild on the powerplay. Heatley escaped entirely unharmed, receiving neither a penalty nor a punch in the face, both of which he arguably deserved.
To Wild fans and media, however, a much bigger concern was that Daniel Sedin almost removed Dany Heatley’s head with a vicious slash.
Michael Russo isn’t exactly the biggest fan of the Canucks, having pointedly attacked the team for their supposed antics in the past, but it was astonishing to read his interpretation of the sequence of events. First, he claimed that Daniel attempted to spear Heatley in the face, then downgraded it to a slash, before upgrading it once again to a blade to the eye.
Canucks supporters, including PITB’s own Harrison Mooney, were understandably surprised at such wildly dramatic reading of the play. While I was tempted to contact Russo about participating in a reading of my upcoming play, “What It’s Like To Be a Teenage Clone: A Rope of Sand,” most people who contacted him on Twitter were questioning his eyesight, sanity, and objectivity.
He stuck to his guns, however. In his game story for the Star Tribune, Russo wrote that Daniel “just missed Heatley’s face with a retaliatory slash.”
He wasn’t alone in his view, as Minnesota fans seemed to see it the same way. Wild blog Hockey Wilderness had this to say about the incident:
It took almost an entire period for any animosity to show up between the Division rivals, but Dany Heatley pushed one of the Sedins and he snapped for some reason, attempting to hack Heater’s head off with a vicious slash, that thankfully missed. This sparked a Nick Johnson - Kevin Bieksa fight with Alexandre Burrows taking an extra minor. Nothing for Sedin, who would’ve certainly been suspended if he had connected and would’ve been suspended regardless if Shanahan took making the game safer seriously.
In this fan’s view, Daniel came just short of beheading Heatley, which certainly would have resulted in at least a double minor.
If all of this seems a tad over-the-top and hyperbolic, well, you’re not wrong. But it’s also completely understandable.
You see, the Minnesota Wild television feed only had an overhead view of the incident available for instant replay, and from that angle, it certainly looks like Daniel took a swing at Heatley’s head. Considering that view is likely similar to the view Russo had from the press-box, things start to make a lot more sense.
Here’s the view that Canucks fans saw on Rogers Sportsnet:
Daniel definitely takes a swing at Heatley, but his stick is at about elbow level. Nothing too unusual there: it’s the type of retaliatory slash or attempted slash that happens fairly frequently on the ice. Now here is what Minnesota Wild fans saw:
Oh. Oh! From that angle, I can completely understand why Wild fans thought Daniel’s stick was higher and closer to Heatley’s face.
Combine that view with a member of the mainstream media reporting that the slash came near the face and it makes perfect sense that Wild fans would be upset. Though it doesn’t appear on this clip, from what I could gather the announcers on the broadcast seemed to think Daniel swung at Heatley’s face as well, likely because of that overhead camera angle.
Hopefully this can be a lesson for all concerned, including Canucks fans, to get all angles (both of the story and of the cameras) before flying off the handle. Before resorting to anger and invectives, consider a different side or viewpoint to make sure that you’re seeing things correctly.
This should probably be especially true if you’re a member of the mainstream media with a large audience.Tags: Daniel Sedin, Dany Heatley, out for blood, The YouTubes, What is this I don't even, Wild