PHT presents: Great moments in “interference”


“Breaking the fourth wall” is a term in entertainment, but Ryane Clowe’s bizarre puck-touching incident plays like sports’ answer to such a break from the script. Whether it’s a coach, player or even fan, sometimes people “intervene” in events in a way that makes us gasp. Here are some of PHT’s choices for the most famous – and infamous – examples of such moments in sports.

Steve Bartman

How could the notorious Chicago Cubs fan-turned-scapegoat not make such a list? If you have even a vague interest in sports, you know the story. The Cubs were in Game 6 of the NLCS against the Florida Marlins when Bartman reflexively reached for a ball, Moises Alou lost his mind and then Bartman was blamed for the loss, the sagging US economy and Michael Jordan’s time with the Washington Wizards.* You know things are bad when ESPN makes a documentary about your shattered life:

One could say that Bartman is the bizarro Jeffrey Maier, even.

* – Just guessing.

Sal Alosi

From the “far more injurious” department, we have Sal Alosi, former strength and conditioning coach for the New York Jets. On Dec. 13, 2010, he tripped Miami Dolphins player Nolan Carroll and, well, you just have to see it to believe it:

Woody Hayes

Woody Hayes was a legendary college football with a legendarily short fuse. That temper truly boiled over during the 1978 Gator Bowl when he punched Clemson player Charlie Bauman in the throat as head coach at Ohio State.

Bobby Knight, Jim Playfair and other coaches throwing things

OK, this is a slight cheat as most of Bobby Knight’s epic meltdowns seemed to come after or before the whistles so to speak, but are you really going to complain about watching all of these great moments of object-throwing anger? Robbie Ftorek shows up in the video below while Jim Playfair might win the hockey division altogether.

Lenny Randle blows foul ball, A-Rod’s “slap”

Perhaps it’s the 162-game schedule that makes baseball so dominant in the break-from-script storylines. Jesse Spector pointed out two faux paus moments:

First, Lenny Randle attempted to “blow” a fair ball into foul territory (which Jerry Hairston also apparently attempted) in a moment that belonged in “Major League.”

The second example was less slapstick and more mean slap: you may remember Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez slapping a baseball away from Bronson Arroyo during “The Bloody Sock Game.”

Jeff Van Gundy holds on for dear life

The New York Knicks-Miami Heat feud might have been the closest basketball ever came to hockey and the quality of play was about on “Dead Puck Era” levels. (Translation: not good.) On the bright side, all the ugliness had at least a moment of comic relief when Jeff Van Gundy tried to stand up to Alonzo Mourning (who was fighting Larry Johnson) and instead went on the ride of his life.

(H/T to Ben Carroll)

Clowe’s place

So where does Ryane Clowe’s odd interference weigh in? It came during a big moment, yet not in a huge one like many of those events, which frequently happened during the postseason. Still, if you want to judge for yourself, read up on the reactions here and take another look at the video below:


Anyway, those are some of the greatest break-the-fourth-wall moments that come to mind. The beauty of a comments section is to fill in the blanks with “How didn’t we think of that?” type entries, so fire away with some of your favorite omissions.

The Buzzer: Shutouts for three, Dubnyk gets win No. 200

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Players of the Night:

Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils and Curtis McElhinney, Toronto Maple Leafs: Where do we begin on the night of the shutout? Rask didn’t have a particularly busy night making 23 saves, but when you’re facing names like Kucherov and Stamkos, it’s always dangerous. Still, Rask kept rolling along. He is 27-3-2 in his past 32 starts. That’s just silly. … Kinkaid, meanwhile stopped 38 — including 19 in the first period — in a 3-0 win against the Kings for his fourth career shutout. … No Frederik Andersen for Toronto? No problem. McElhinney stepped in and pitched a 33-save performance as the Leafs down the Montreal Canadiens 4-0.

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues: The Blues defenseman scored twice in regulation and then assisted on Brayden Schenn‘s overtime winner to cap off a three-point night.

Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild: While he didn’t get a shutout, Dubnyk did stop 30 of 31 en route to his 200th career NHL win. The win was also important for the Wild, who moved to within five points of the Winnipeg Jets for second place in the Central Division, and moved five points ahead of the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche for third place.

Highlights of the Night:

Filthy pass:

First-goal celebrations are always the best:

Voracek with a slick move in front:

Save of the year candidate:

Factoids of the Night:

Home is where the wins are:

A legend passes a legend:

Believe in McJesus:

Scary Scenes of the Night:


Sabres 5, Blackhawks 3

Oilers 4, Panthers 2

Devils 3, Kings 0

Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0

Bruins 3, Lightning 0

Flyers 4, Hurricanes 2

Blue Jackets 2, Senators 1

Blue 4, Rangers 3 (OT)

Wild 3, Coyotes 1

Sharks 5, Canucks 3

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Senators’ Ryan Dzingel drilled in the head with a puck (video)

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We already saw one lacerated leg, and now we have a one-timer drilling a player in the back of the helmet.

Saturday night hasn’t been so kind.

Ottawa Senators forward Ryan Dzingel was forced to leave the game after some friendly fire against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 2-1 loss.

Dzingel was drilled in the back of the head from teammate Mike Hoffman‘s one-timer of the back of his helmet around the mid-way point of the third period.

Dzingel remained down for a time but was able to skate off the ice with some assistance from Ottawa’s trainers.

He did not return to the game.

If you watch this closely, you will see Dzingel’s No. 8 on the back of his helmet fly off after contact with the puck.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Bruins’ David Backes suffers leg laceration in collision (video)


A scary scene unfolded in the first period between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the visiting Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

David Backes and Yanni Gourde came together in the Lightning crease, with Gourde’s skate appearing to cut Backes on the outside of his right leg.

Backes was able to make his way to the Bruins bench on his own, but he was clutching the back of his leg before getting some help down the tunnel.

Backes did not return to the game.

The Bruins said that Backes suffered a laceration above his right knee, which required several stitches to close.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Dundon, Hurricanes suspend search for new GM: report


The Carolina Hurricanes’ search for a general manager is on hiatus.

Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported Saturday that the process of replacing former GM Ron Francis is being put on hold for the time being, citing that owner Tom Dundon needs more time.

“Tom hasn’t had the time he needs to do face to face interviews and feels that waiting will pay off,” Shannon wrote in a tweet.

Francis was removed from his post as GM on March 7 and “promoted” to a new role as president of hockey operations. There was only one catch: whoever replaced Francis would bypass the Hurricanes’ legend and report directly to Dundon.

The search, thus far, hasn’t been going that well, with three potential targets already withdrawing any interest they were thought to have had.

Part of that problem could be how hands-on Dundon appears to want to be. Part of it could just be timing. Fenton, for instance, could be on his way to a Stanley Cup ring this year in Nashville.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman touched on the situation in a recent 31 Thoughts column.

“I think what I’m looking for, is we have to be comfortable with each other. That’s the most important thing,” Dundon told Friedman when asked what he wants in a new GM. “I actually like to disagree and argue. I don’t want someone to come in and just do what I say, and I don’t want to make decisions. Someone to create a structure of how something is a good idea, and now we are going to get it done.”

You can add Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin to the list:

I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that Dundon wanting his hands all over the team — including whatever the GM is doing — isn’t the best selling point.

There’s some good, young talent on the Hurricanes for a new GM to come in and build around, but there’s also some dead weight, including what’s turned into a bad contract with goalie Scott Darling.

No GM wants to play puppet for an owner.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said the Hurricanes will suspend their search until the summer when a larger crop of candidates reveals itself.

Still, you have to wonder who’ll be willing to take that plunge. Someone will, of course, but people haven’t exactly been lining up to fill the role.

UPDATE: On Headlines on Saturday, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported that the salary being offered to a prospective GM in Carolina is $400,000, to which he said he doesn’t see any GM taking as it’s too low. Friedman, meanwhile, believes the search for a new GM is not on a complete hiatus.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck