Avs have questions and want answers after what happened to Matt Calvert


  • Erik Johnson had something to say.
  • So did Nathan MacKinnon. As did Jared Bednar and everyone else who saw what happened to Matt Calvert.
  • The hockey world watched Calvert take a shot off the back of his head seconds before the Vancouver Canucks scored a goal.
  • But the Colorado Avalanche saw something else.
  • They watched another teammate laying on the ice, bleeding – again – after being hit in the head with the puck while play was allowed to continue.
  • They viewed what happened to Calvert as a player safety issue and one that should have resulted in the game immediately stopping so a player could receive immediate medical attention.
  • Escaping Rogers Arena with a 5-4 overtime win Saturday did not matter because all they could think about was Calvert.

“It’s a fucking joke man and I’ve talked about it already,” said Avalanche alternate captain and defenseman Erik Johnson, who was referencing a postgame radio interview he gave with the team’s flagship station that also needed to be censored on a seven-second tape delay. “Like, you want to protect a guy? The guy’s got a family at home. He’s laying there bleeding out of his head and they don’t blow the fucking whistle? It’s a complete joke. It’s an absolute joke and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

“I just can’t imagine another sport letting that happen,” MacKinnon said. “A guy’s bleeding out the side of his head laying there, not moving to not blow (the whistle). I know it’s a big-time (moment) in the game. It’s not the ref’s fault. It’s the league’s fault. If you see blood, if you see any contact to someone’s face or head, I think it’s dangerous and obviously, it’s just made it worse that they scored.

  • And when MacKinnon said he blames the league and not the officials, this is what he was also referencing.

Rule 8.1 of the NHL rulebook states, “When a player is injured so that he cannot continue to play or go to his bench, the play shall not be stopped until the injured player’s team has secured control of the puck. If the player’s team is in control of the puck at the time of injury, play shall be stopped immediately unless his team is in a scoring position.”

“I think it’s a discretionary call to blow it dead, right?” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “And for me, and we’re talking about head injuries and whatnot. That’s the second time now in two weeks for us that a guy takes a puck in the face and he’s bleeding all over the ice and we’re letting it go. I think he’s not moving there either. So, I just think they should just blow it dead but you know, sometimes, it’s a tough call to make because you’re trying to let the play go and seeing if he’s going to get up but I think you should actually just blow it dead.”

  • Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler scored the goal that made it 4-3 with Brock Boeser tying the game with a minute left before MacKinnon scored his second goal of the evening just 27 seconds into overtime.
  • But the win was not the priority for Johnson and MacKinnon.
  • Both of them did separate postgame interviews and spoke their minds about what happened to Calvert.
  • As earlier mentioned, Johnson did not hold back when speaking with Avalanche radio broadcaster Conor McGahey while MacKinnon’s statement was made on national television with Scott Oake at the end of “Hockey Night in Canada.”

  • Even after the cameras were off, there was still plenty Johnson and MacKinnon had to say.

“What if he laid there and died on the ice?” Johnson asked. “To let an offensive zone play continue? It’s a complete joke. It needs to change. If it was one of their guys, I’d expect the same thing.”

  • MacKinnon was asked if he felt there was anything players could do to lobby for the NHL changing the rule.

“I’m not sure what we can really do,” MacKinnon said. “I get it’s a tough situation. They could just stop the clock and they have an O-zone draw. I think you see blood, it’s a big red flag.”

  • Furthermore, how much does something like this resonate, considering what just happened to Zadorov a few weeks ago?

“I think it obviously hits home more when it’s your teammate but it’s like, ‘Come on!’” Johnson said. “This is twice now. It’s bigger than the game. This is your life. He got hit in the head and he’s bleeding out of his head. Let’s use some common sense here and blow the damn whistle.”

Sources & Credits: Ryan S. Clark, The Athletic
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