Once upon a time, NHL Hall of Famer, former Director of Player Safety and moonlight philosopher Brendan Shanahan was asked whether or not he thought ice hockey was “hard”. His response was one for the history books:
I don’t know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner, and the concentraion of a brain surgeon. But we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us.
Oh yeah, did I mention that this whole time we’re standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick? Is ice hockey hard? I don’t know, you tell me.
In hindsight, I-nor anybody else, really-didn’t think that an article of equipment meant to protect a player from serious injury could be used as a blunt weapon, but hey, it was bound to happen eventually. Willie Mitchell-the intrepid, trailblazing leader of the Florida Panthers-discovered another use for the helmet on Saturday while doing battle against the Pittsburgh Penguins; much like man’s discovery of fire, his finding, shall we say, resulted in some sparks.
Your eyes aren’t deceiving you; in the greatest act of improvisational warfare since the Miami-FIU brawl of 2006, Willie Mitchell removes Penguins defenseman Kris Letang’s helmet and-like a Cuban mother’s trusty chancla-whips that sh!t at Letang’s face faster than you can say “OOOOOH KILL EM TERIO“.
While Mitchell escaped the donnybrook with little more than a five minute major for fighting, he isn’t out of the woods just yet; in light of the fact that he, for all intents and purposes, tried to floor another man with his own helmet, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety may very well come in and ruin all the fun, potentially handing out some supplemental discipline to the 16-year veteran. Which is a damn shame; I, for one, applaud Mitchell’s creativity in the heat of the moment. That, and it made my day. Don’t tell me that isn’t the most comical sh!t you’ve seen all week.