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PHT presents: Great moments in “interference”

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“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.

Video: Reimer, Allen shut down dangerous one-timers

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 09:  James Reimer #34 of the Florida Panthers makes a save during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at BB&T Center on February 9, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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In an ideal world, goalie equipment wouldn’t be such an issue. Teams would be able to “get goalies moving” with great passing and chances just about no one could stop.

Then again, there are also those saves that a select handful of humans can pull off. A big reason why there’s only been one goal between the Panthers and Blues tonight is the lateral movement shown by both James Reimer and Jake Allen.

First, watch as Reimer robs Jori Lehtera on what’s likely the save of the night:

Allen really hasn’t been that far behind Reimer, right down to making a similar stop:

Considering the two nearly identical one-timer goals scored by Arizona against Anaheim in finding seams for big passes through opposing defenses, tonight’s goalies might want to do some extra stretching during intermissions.

Dvorak, Coyotes put Ducks in early hole with slick goals (Video)

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 11:  Connor Murphy #5 (second from left) of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with Alexander Burmistrov #91, Shane Doan #19 and Christian Dvorak #18 after Murphy scored the game winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on February 11, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Penguins 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Arizona Coyotes’ happy thoughts are mostly centered on the future. Christian Dvorak possibly being more than a guy who put up nice junior numbers with Matthew Tkachuk and Mitch Marner could fuel some really nice thoughts.

He’s been red-hot in February, in particular, including a goal already tonight as the Coyotes raced off to an early 2-0 lead against the Anaheim Ducks.

Check out that smooth play for his 10th goal of 2016-17:

Again, he’s been on quite the roll lately.

February: nine points (and counting?) in nine games
Rest of the season: 13 points in 45 games

He only had one assist in 12 January contests, so this outburst is even more unexpected than the Coyotes racing off to this lead.

Interestingly, the Coyotes two goals looked awfully similar, at least in the finish:

Randy Carlyle’s mood? Probably not too chipper right now.

Brooks Laich wants another crack at NHL (with or without Leafs)

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 29:  Brooks Laich #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a puck drop against the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 29, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The Lightning defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Brooks Laich wants another shot at playing in the NHL. As he told The Atlantic TO (sub required), if that means being traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs, then so be it.

“You don’t win a Stanley Cup playing in the American Hockey League,” Laich said. “If the Leafs don’t have a plan for me with them, I would like to pursue a Stanley Cup somewhere else.”

Interesting.

Laich’s biased take: he has plenty more to give at the highest level.

Hmm, that … seems a little crazy. Few players see their best days at age 33 and beyond.

But what about his work with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies? Maybe he’s killing it there.

Well, if he is, his contributions aren’t showing in the simple counting stats. In 22 games this season, Laich has one goal and six points. He isn’t even firing a shot on goal per game (just 17 in those 22 contests).

Now, Laich wouldn’t sell you on his scoring skills. Face-offs might not be much of a calling card, either.

So … it’s easier to understand why he’s struggling to get a foothold in his career. Laich isn’t much of a scorer, isn’t dominant on the draw and isn’t someone who’s shown a history of dramatically tilting the ice in his team’s favor.

Does that mean he can’t be a fourth-line center, or failing that, at least a depth forward? Laich could conceivably be helpful to some team, even if it’s difficult to imagine anyone giving up anything but a minor asset for him.

And, yes, it’s crazy to imagine him exceeding anything he did with the Washington Capitals.

Avalanche say ankle injury ends Nikita Zadorov’s season

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche congratulates Matt Duchene #9 after his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pepsi Center on December 14, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As if the Colorado Avalanche needed another miserable element to 2016-17: Nikita Zadorov suffered a season-ending injury during the same practice that Erik Johnson returned.

Zadorov injured his ankle after being tangled up with Mikko Rantanen during a Monday practice, according to the Denver Post.

Update: The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reports that it’s a fractured ankle. Yikes.

Zadorov, 21, is a big defenseman with the pedigree that would inspire teams to imagine better things in the future (16th pick in 2013 by Buffalo). So far, that potential hasn’t really manifested itself in production, whether you judge a player by points, plus/minus or possession numbers.

He may be able to put it together at some point – again, he’s young – so perhaps he’ll remember this as a low point before he turns things around.

At the moment, it’s just another grim part of a bleak time for the Avs.