NHL Network to air documentary 'Behind the Stripes: A Ref's Life' Monday

hockeyrefs.jpgProfessional sports feature plenty of glamorous jobs. In football, there’s quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. While even some of the best hockey players get their hands dirty, there’s no doubt that No. 1 centers are the Joe Montanas of the game. Meanwhile, the John Maddens (Chicago’s Madden, of course, not the boom-tacular football guy) of the world are the puck-based blue collar workers.

Still, those guys do get paid a lot of money too. (Need more proof that sandpaper guys get some green? Just look at the contract Dennis “Pain Sponge” Seidenberg’s signed yesterday.)

Instead, one of the true “thank-less” jobs in sports is that of a referee. They’re like hockey players who can never achieve a “plus” in a game; whenever they make a great call, they’re just doing their job. However, if they make a mistake or call the game to tightly or loosely, my goodness do those boo birds ascend.

NHL Network plans to air a 30-minute documentary that gives a brief glimpse into the life of those tragic zebras. Here’s more from the Network’s press release.

NHL Network will carry the broadcast premiere of Behind the Stripes: A Ref’s Life, the National Hockey League announced today. The 30-minute original documentary, produced by the NHL’s Officiating Department and NHL Network will debut on Monday, June 7 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Behind the Stripes: A Ref’s Life, documents the personal journey of two NHL referees with a behind the scenes look at their profession. It’s a story about one referee who has realized his dream and the other who is chasing his. Veteran referee Bill McCreary and rookie Ghislain Hebert share their on and off ice experiences, challenges and accomplishments during the 2009-10 season.

Will the documentary stop some hockey fans from howling at the next on-ice “injustice”? Probably not, but maybe it’ll make them hesitate to throw debris on the ice. If nothing else, it will be an interesting opportunity to peek behind the scenes of one of the under-appreciated roles in sports.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.