Kane’s Uncaptain-like Penalty Costs Bears
Photo courtesy Kyle Mace / SHoE
The captain of a hockey team has many responsibilities. Two of these are talking to the referee and sticking up for teammates. However, there is a line between fulfilling those responsibilities and going too far. It is a proverbial fine line, but it is one that cannot be crossed. Hershey Bears captain Boyd Kane crossed that line Sunday afternoon and it cost his team.
After playing a hard-fought three periods, the Bears and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were in overtime with the score tied 1-1. Kane put the Bears ahead with a power play goal for the Bears in the second period with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Steve MacIntyre in the box serving a double minor. The second minor for MacIntyre was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after he was penalized for charging Hershey’s Steve Olesky. The Bears had a lead because MacIntyre couldn’t control his emotions.
Kane would return the favor late in overtime. Bears goalie Dany Sabourin was playing an excellent game, making several big saves to keep the game tied. Then, Kane let his goalie and his entire team down with what can only be described as a dumb penalty. The captain would receive a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct with just 1:15 left in the extra session. It is bad enough when a player gets an unsportsmanlike penalty when they are on the ice. Kane got his for yelling from the bench. Thus, the Bears found themselves on the penalty kill for the remainder of overtime.
The Bears nearly killed the penalty off with solid penalty killing from Mike Carmen and Ryan Potulny. However, the Penguins’ Chad Kolarik scored with 10.8 seconds left to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-1 win. As a result, the Bears wasted Sabourin’s effort and lost a key point in a tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
It can be argued that referee Trevor Hanson should have had stronger skin and just let the Kane’s yelling considering the time of the game. However, the captain should not have given Hanson a reason to call a penalty. Kane told The Patriot-News that he was upset because a linesman impeded him when he was trying to receive a pass from Bears defenseman Julien Brouillette. It is easy to understand Kane’s frustration, but linesmen are part of the playing surface and sometimes they unintentionally get in the way. That is when the player has to keep his emotions in check and just move on. Kane did not do that and it cost the Bears the game.
This is not Kane’s first unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for yelling at a referee this season and with each penalty his reputation gets worse. Referees are not going to give him a lot of leeway in the exchanges and that will lead to more penalties for Kane. The Bears are in a fight to make the playoffs and cannot afford unnecessary unsportsmanlike conducts penalties.
What can the Bears do to head off this issue before it costs them more points? Kane has to change his demeanor on the ice. He has to be become more diplomatic when talking with the referees. He needs to be less angry in these exchanges. Otherwise, it could cost the Bears the playoffs. Another option is to scratch Kane as punishment for his outburst. That would send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated from anyone on the team. The final option is the most drastic one: strip Kane of his captaincy. It is rare to change captains during the season, unless a captain gets traded or injured. However, a captain needs to act like a captain and help his team win, not cost his team games with dumb penalties. Kane has captained two teams to Calder Cup Championships. He has been a good leader in the past. He needs to start acting like that again. Otherwise, he should be stripped of his captaincy. The Bears need leadership if they are going to make the Calder Cup Playoffs, not stupidity.