Tag: pre-game chirping


R.J. Umberger is not a fan of indoor soccer, the Blues home arena, disrespect

If you were thinking that last night’s Blue Jackets blowout of the Blues in Columbus seemed a bit more feisty than usual, you might’ve chalked it up to the game being an embarrassing blowout for the Blues. If you were thinking that Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger seemed to be a bit more involved with post-whistle scrums than normal, perhaps there’s a very reasonable explanation for that. Andy Strickland of TrueHockey.com finds out that pre-game chirping isn’t just limited to what goes on during the pre-game skate.

Word is several Blues players took issue with Blue Jackets player R.J. Umberger who not once but twice ran through the Blues pre-game soccer warm-up.

Tension began to escalate between the Blues and Umberger once goaltender Ty Conklin spoke up and asked if he wouldn’t mind running somewhere else? That’s when Umberger told several Blues players they aren’t welcome to use this area to play soccer.

Things officially reached absurdity once Umberger went and fetched building security who tried to remove the Blues from playing soccer in this area. The Blues refused to leave as about a half dozen Columbus players were enjoying their own game of soccer just a few feet away.  Eventually NHL security was called over who told the Blues they were fine where they were and could carry on as normal.

During the game Umberger was a bit of a force of his own scoring a goal as well as earning a double-minor for high sticking and a 10-minute misconduct for jousting with St. Louis’ Brad Boyes.  It was during that scrum that Blues forward T.J. Oshie broke his ankle and has him out indefinitely from the Blues lineup. As for what might’ve help set off the Blues, Strickland throws in this piece of information.

One Blues player told Umberger next time Columbus comes to St. Louis he will make sure they are forced to go outside and play soccer in the snow.  That’s when Umberger apparently responded “your building sucks anyway”.

All right, points off for lack of creativity for Umberger there but it’s a good enough barb to at least light a fire under his already ticked off opponents. As for playing soccer outside in St. Louis in the winter… Big deal, at least it’s not Edmonton where that would actually be a punishment. As it turns out, Umberger’s gripe with the Blues had more to do with respect for the common man than anything else as he told Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy today.

“We felt in the past that they disrespected our area. They came right next to us and played soccer. It’s our home arena. It’s our area. We deserve some respect. The way they treated our off-ice officials, it wasn’t very good.”

Give it up for sticking up for the little guy, eh? With these two teams being divisional foes, consider the fuse lit for future games between the two. Umberger’s always been a guy willing to speak his mind about things, like when he said the Capitals weren’t a team built for the playoffs last year, something that didn’t sit well with Washington players at the time. Suffice to say, we’re anxious for the next time these two teams meet each other now. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until December 9th for that.

GM meetings next week to address replay challenges and pre-game chirping

Peter Chiarelli, Steve Tambellini

Yesterday we told you about Panthers GM Dale Tallon’s big ideas to implement an instant replay challenge system in the NHL and it’s getting some talk thanks to some recently iffy situations where replay wasn’t allowed. It’s also coming up because NHL general managers are set to meet up next week to discuss the hot-button issues going on right now in the league and replay is near the top of the list. Also getting looked at will be how the new blindside hit rule is being implemented as well.

TSN’s Darren Dreger breaks down what else they’ll be talking about on Tuesday.

Also expected to be a key agenda item: supplemental discipline, the process, the gamesmanship some GMs use to defend their player or encourage discipline against opposing players.

Confrontation in pre-game warmups is an issue that NHL Senior VP and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell loathes, and this topic will once again be tabled for discussion as the league considers options of how to better police the matter.

Currently, the NHL doesn’t have a game-by-game pre-game monitoring system, whereby either the assigned on-ice or off-ice officials strictly watch warm-up.

Having a referee on the ice during warm-ups never hurts, really, but if they’re going to try to put an end to just smack talking in warm-ups that’s a huge buzzkill. Save that kind of fun-killing nonsense for the NFL or college football. As long as you don’t have a 20-on-20 on-ice brawl in warm-ups like a scene out of “Slap Shot,” I think the NHL is doing just fine letting the yappers do their yapping before the game starts. It’s not as if they’re inciting a riot and as much as the NHL would like to pretend it doesn’t happen, talking crap at each other is definitely part of the game.

As for addressing the headshot and blindside hit rules, you have to expect that hits like Shane Doan’s big hit on Dan Sexton, Joe Thornton’s out of the penalty box hit on David Perron, and Dan Carcillo’s elbow-leading hit on Ruslan Fedotenko are going to get a lot of video play to discuss how well (or not) the new rule is working. It’s too early to tell what kind of effect the rule has, but checking in on progress is for the best.