An important part of ice hockey fans has always been eager to witness hockey men’s inflated discussions on hockey-related topics being completely shattered by the smallest logic. It is the true enemy of most things that define the hockey ethos. A big thank you to Jennifer Botterill, who, during a Sportsnet coverage break last night, made Jamal Mayers and Sam Cosentino her personal talking points.
For some context: Last week’s discussion centered around two consecutive incidents in consecutive games between the Minnesota Wild and the Winnipeg Jets. It’s worth sticking around because the setup gets dizzying. In the first game in Winnipeg, Kirill Kaprizov from Minnesota and Brenden Dillon from the Jets had a bit of a back and forth altercation
on the ice.
Kaprizov hit Dillon in the corner „reversed“, meaning he used possession of the puck as an excuse to attack Dillon. In response, Dillon cross-checked Kaprizov twice and got him ejected from the game.
Okay, got that? Fairly simple, right? Well, it gets wild. Two nights later, in the rematch in St. Paul, Ryan Hartman sought payback by using a faceoff as an excuse to hit Cole Perfetti in the face with his stick.
Take a moment to process that. A player not involved in the initial incident felt it was justified to take a cheap shot at an unsuspecting player, who also wasn’t involved in the initial incident. It would have been just as fitting for Hartman to crawl over the boards and spike some jamoke with a beer in the fifth row. But in hockey, everything adds up.
Now that you have a grip on that, you can watch Mayers and Cosentino defend Hartman’s actions in different ways before Botterill makes them look like oversized children behaving, most likely, unlike themselves.
It’s not entirely Mayers‘ fault, as he has grown up in hockey culture and mindset, making a living from it. While Mayers‘ claim that the playoffs will reverse the game for five years is off, considering fights disappear when players care only about the next win—though Mayers wouldn’t have known, as he was a healthy scratch on the few playoff teams he belonged to.
Cosentino tries to be the voice of reason… well, not really since he’s only a few acres short, but he argues it would have been okay for Hartman to target one of the Jets‘ better players, given how Dillon labelled the Wild’s best players. Again, in hockey, it’s justified to blindside another unsuspecting player just because they happen to be really good at this sport, as long as your guy, who is also really good at the sport, was somehow harmed.
Botterill hails from the world of women’s hockey, where she had an outstanding career, winning three gold medals and a scoring title in the CWHL, none of which involved any of this nonsense. She’s not so deep in the woods that she can’t recognize how all of this adds up.
Rarely do we get to showcase the fallacy of „OLD TIMEY HOCKEY“ so vividly, and the sight of a woman piercing through the idiocy of two men talking like fools is worth more than just a smirk. Hopefully, Mayers and Cosentino will set up a few more curveballs for Botterill before the season ends.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky @Felsgate.bsky.social