The Colorado Avalanche are absolutely furious and if I am being perfectly honest I find it nearly impossible to blame them for the way they feel.
On Saturday night the Avalanche faced off against the Vancouver Canucks in the late game and they took a one goal lead into the dying minutes of the contest. As you would expect in such a situation the Avalanche were doing everything in their power to preserve their lead and no one exemplified it more than Avalanche forward Matt Calvert. The Canucks managed to get the puck to a wide open Elias Pettersson at the point and knowing what a deadly shooter the young Canucks forward can be Calvert made the ultimate sacrifice, throwing himself in harm's way in an effort to prevent Pettersson's shot from every reaching the Colorado net.
Calvert was successful in his attempt to block the wicked slapshot that came off of the stick of Pettersson, however the unfortunate part of his heroic play was the fact that the puck struck him square in the skull. It was immediately evident that Calvert had been seriously injured on the play and even young Elias Pettersson was quickly signalling for someone to come to the aid of Calvert, as can be seen by Pettersson frantically waving his hand in the air almost immediately after his shot. However the National Hockey League officials on the ice did not feel a stoppage in play was warranted and instead allowed the play to continue with Calvert bleeding from his head down on the ice. It was one of the most shocking displays I have personally witnessed in the NHL in a long time, and although I understand the officials were merely following the rules of the game there has to come a point when the health and safety of a player in a situation like this comes before absolutely everything else.
Not everyone has been so quick to forgive the NHL officials for their mistake and I can certainly understand the anger coming from the Avalanche's organization. Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson pulled no punches with his comments after the came, slamming the officials for putting Calvert's life in danger.
"It’s a f***ing joke," said Johnson. "You want to protect a guy? Guy’s got a family at home, he’s laying there bleeding out of his head and you don’t blow the whistle? It’s a complete joke. An absolute joke. They should be ashamed of themselves."