In a well-written diatribe, The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont chastised London, Ontario fans for supposedly failing to blow the whistle on whoever threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds. He ended his mini-rant with some pointed words: “Speaking up won’t guarantee that it will stop. Remaining silent, though, guarantees that it will continue.”
As it turns out, someone spoke up after all – in fact, today’s news is that multiple witnesses provided the same name to authorities. QMI Agency reports that local police attained the name of the person who probably threw the banana peel at Simmonds as he scored a shootout goal against the Detroit Red Wings on Sept. 22. Officials admit that charges haven’t been made just yet, although investigations are ongoing.
Police didn’t provide a description of the suspect, which might disappoint Kevin Weekes. Weekes – a former NHL goalie who dealt with a similar incident during a 2002 playoff series in Montreal – said that the likeness of the guilty party* should be “plastered everywhere” to discourage similar behavior via well-deserved humiliation.
It’s probably not within peoples’ rights to do that to the banana-thrower, but that doesn’t mean he or she won’t suffer consequences for those ugly actions. This report reveals two reprimands that could come from this incident.
The banana-tosser could be subject to a charge of “engaging in a prohibited activity” under the Trespass to Property Act.
John Labatt Centre officials said people throwing things on the ice are generally ejected, but in this instance, a person could be banned from the facility for a year or longer.
Honestly, it wouldn’t be excessive to ban that person from attending hockey games, period.
* Or maybe guilty parties, considering the rumors that more than one banana was thrown, with an earlier attempt missing the ice.
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.