It was supposed to be a night to celebrate for the National Hockey League, the opening of the regular season and an opportunity for the sport to showcase the skill and speed of the game.
Instead, the ugly spectacle of fighting has stolen much of the thunder after George Parros was removed from the ice on a gurney after he fell chin first into the ice during a scrap with Colton Orr.
Parros and Orr have one thing in common; both carry the designated enforcer mantles for their respective teams – Parros with the Montreal Canadiens and Orr for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The two have tangled before and did once again in Montreal as the NHL’s most celebrated rivalry turned scary in the third period.
That’s when Parros was injured, immediately silencing the excited capacity crowd at the Bell Centre.
“Oh my goodness,” intoned CBC play-by-play announcer Jim Hughson, and those three words probably summed things up best.
After a lengthy delay, Parros was carted off, play resumed, and the Maple Leafs would go on to skate to a 4-3 victory.
So instead of soaking in the moment with the Chicago Blackhawks as they hoisted the championship banner to the rafters at the United Centre, or cheering the Winnipeg Jets as they orchestrated a stirring comeback against the Edmonton Oilers, hockey fans this morning are instead left talking about Parros and what transpired at the Bell Centre.
As Sean Gordon writes in The Globe and Mail the George Parros incident is certain to rekindle the debate over fighting in the game.
Jonathan Willis writes in the Bleacher Report that the injury to Parros once again illustrates that the costs of being a designated enforcer far outweigh the benefits.
It would appear that Parros, who suffered a concussion, will be okay, but who knows how long he will be out of the Montreal lineup.
“Thanks for all the well wishes everyone,“ Parros tweeted from from the hospital.
In Chicago, the Blackhawks overcame a three-goal performance by former Leaf Mikail Grabovski, now playing in Washington, to usher in the new season with a 6-4 victory over the Capitals.
Before the game, Chicago celebrated with their fans their Stanley Cup win from a season ago and, as Steve Lundy writes in the Daily Herald, nobody raises a banner better than the Blackhawks.
Rick Telander writes in the Chicago Sun-Times that Chicago’s cup victories in 2010 and last season prove that hockey will never be taken for granted again in the city.
In Edmonton, the Oilers coughed up a 4-2 lead in the second period to lose their season home opener against the Jets.
“I don’t like sending them a fruit basket or flowers,” Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun quotes Oilers coach Dallas Eakins, grousing about a couple of soft goals his team surrendered.
Noisy fans in Pittsburgh help to silence the Reds
Post-season baseball returned to Pittsburgh for the first time in 21 years and Pirates fans were certainly up to the task.
The largest crowd in the history of PNC Park were roaring like a jumbo jet from the opening pitch and helped lay the groundwork for a 6-2 Pittsburgh victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the National League wild card contest.
Cincinnati starting pitcher Johnny Cueto appeared to unravel in the face of the deafening din, dropping the ball as he prepared to pitch to Russell Martin in the second inning.
Cueto picked up the ball and then served up a home run pitch to the Canadian, one of two he recorded in the game, that provided Pittsburgh with a 2-0 lead.
Bill Brink writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Pirates fans channeled its inner college football persona to help sink the Red.
As for the Reds, their downfall was summed up in typical colorful fashion by second baseman Brandon Phillips writes David Brown on Yahoo.com.
“We deserve everything,” Phillips said, wearing sunglasses in the Reds clubhouse. “We choked."