The “Head-Butt” heard round the league

Tuesday night, Nick Johnson was given five minutes for fighting, a match penalty and a game misconduct or “head-butting” Jarome Iginla.

Now, I am a very large fan of Iginla’s. I think he’s one of the classiest players in the league and I’ve always been a fan of his. But, in my estimation, his actions on Tuesday were uncalled for.

First, the fight:

If you can see a blatant, head-butting motion, you’ve got better eyes than I. The only action I could see from Johnson that even resembled a head-butting motion was when he raised his head to try to look at Iginla (who, incidentally was fighting with a helmet and visor on against a guy whose helmet and visor he had knocked off during the fight).

What’s more, though, is that Iginla actually stops throwing punches in the middle of the fight, solely to point to Johnson, look at the ref and tell anyone who would listen that he was head-butted.

Now, I get lobbying the officials. That’s part of the captain’s job. But, for crying out loud, if you’re going to do it at least have enough respect for your opponent to wait until the fight is over.

Instead, Iginla made a mockery of the fight by essentially stopping his part in the fight for long enough to complain about it, then he complained about it the entire way to the penalty box, then threw a tantrum in the penalty box until he was given what he wanted.

Hey, it worked. The Flames got their five minute power play.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Mikko Koivu then got sworn at by an on-ice official who was talking with Mike Yeo (unfortunately, I can’t find a single clip of that). Not necessarily the picture of professionalism.

I’m not as bold as to claim that the refs had it out for the Wild. I don’t subscribe to any Red Wings literature and am not a member of the tinfoil hat club, but there were definitely some questionable calls on Tuesday night, as well as some fairly poor displays by the on-ice officials.

I highly doubt Nick Johnson will be suspended for his “actions” in the fight, but I really hope that the NHL takes a good look at the officiating of this game and has a nice chat with the on-ice officials involved.


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