Before we start, let me clarify something right off the top. I actually thought the Helmet Pardy was a good idea. It was meant to be in fun. We all remember the incident back on November 6 at the United Centre. With the Winnipeg Jets trailing 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks late in the third period, Adam Pardy took a hard hit into the glass by Chicago’s Brandon Bollig that knocked out the plexiglass. A fan proceeded to take Pardy’s helmet and put it on his head while being in a drunken stupor. Meanwhile, his girlfriend poured beer over Pardy’s head. It was a wild scene.
Tomorrow night, the Blackhawks make their first visit to the MTS Centre since the Pardy incident. The fan base wanted to have some fun with the helmet lifting so a Helmet Pardy was in over. Twitter was in a fever over this and it even caught the attention of Puck Daddy and TSN.
Then Mark Chipman stepped in. In a statement released to the media, followed by a news conference at the MTS Centre, Chipman stated “I would like to let our fans know we in no way endorse this idea and in fact and wish to personally advise that we will not permit fans to wear such headgear at tomorrow’s game.” You can read the full statement here.
Even though as I stated earlier I liked the Helmet Pardy idea, I agree with Mr. Chipman’s decision. Why you may ask? The main reason is safety. If by some rare chance a Jets player scores a hat-trick, you’d see thousands of helmets flying all over the MTS Centre like enormous snow flakes that seem to fall in Manitoba this time of year. Here’s the problem, helmets are hard, (Well duh.) If a helmet is flung from the upper bowl from the MTS Centre, it most likely lands in the lower bowl. Potentially, it could strike a fan on the lower bowl. If that fan is a child or a senior, it could do serious damage.
Granted, no Jets player has recorded a three-goal game since the franchise relocated from Atlanta in 2011. And the chance of a Jets player hitting the three-spot against the Blackhawks is remote at best. And when I say remote, I mean more remote than seeing palm trees in Churchill, Manitoba. But strange things happen in hockey. Chipman and the rest of True North can’t risk even the slightest possibility of a lawsuit. Even without a three goal game by the home side, a fan who has had too much to drink, (which does happen in the MTS Centre on more than one occasion) might decide to hurl the headgear because the overpriced beer forced him into such an act. This is a more likely occurrence, so smart move by True North to squash the helmet pardy.
I personally think most fans would have behaved themselves and just wanted a little fun with the incident. No one was hurt in Chicago. Pardy kept his cool and was laughing about it after the game. The fan, Chicago car dealer Kevin Mize apologized to Pardy and the Jets organization. Mize also made a charitable donation to the True North foundation. I totally forgive Mr. Mize and will write it off as a humorous happening that got a tad carried away. No harm, no foul.
But I also understand Mr. Chipman’s position as well. His reputation is on the line and he protects it with great authority. He understands the Blackhawks were very gracious in their regrets over the incident and is also indebted to the Blackhawks organization, as they were in full support of True North landing an NHL franchise. Mr. Chipman is close with Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, so I can completely understand why Chipman did not want to offend a close business and personal ally.
- Jacob Trouba was cleared for contact by the doctors today. The rookie defenceman suffered torn ligaments in his neck after a nasty fall on October 18 against St. Louis. Trouba has missed the last 15 games, and will continue to sit out at least two more games as he is still on injured reserve. It is hoped that Trouba can make the upcoming 6 game road trip starting next week, but head coach Claude Noel is being cautious in his approach.
- Zach Bogosian was downgraded to week-to-week after suffering a groin strain last Friday night against Philadelphia. While Bogosian has gotten off to a slow start this season, his absence is being felt along the blue line. Bogosian will miss the next two games against division rivals Chicago and Minnesota. It is hoped that Bogosian will be ready to return sometime during the Jets 6 game road trip, but that is in doubt at this moment.
- Mark Stuart remains on IR while he recovers from a fractured rib. Stuart has been practising for a while though and some say he could be in the lineup Saturday afternoon against Minnesota. With all these injuries on the blue line, Zach Redmond was called up from St. John’s and saw his first game action last Sunday in St. Paul. Even though Redmond struggled, it was great to see him on the ice again after that horrific leg injury he suffered in practice last February. Here’s hoping that injury was only a speed bump, in Redmond’s promising career.
You can follow me on Twitter @jstar1973