Saturday, January 28, 2017

A valid excuse

Remember a couple of years back, when Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks was suspended for a game by the worst commissioner in sports, Gary Bettman, because he was sick and skipped the NHL All-Star Game?

It violated the NHL's dopey rule that no All-Star can skip the All-Star Game for any reason without incurring a penalty. So even though Toews was apparently legitimately ill, he got suspended.

The Blob wondered aloud then if perhaps Toews should have produced a note from Epstein's mom, of "Welcome Back, Kotter" fame.

Or maybe he should have just brought a dog into it.

That's All-Star coach John Tortorella's excuse for giving this All-Star game a miss, and it's a darn good one. It seems his son, who's deployed overseas, has a 10-year-old dog, and the dog is ill. So Tortorella is staying home to care for it.

Whether Bettman will punish him -- or whether coaches are even subject to the same penalties, which they should be -- remains to be seen. But I can't imagine even Bettman would be so cotton-headed as to tick off two such powerful constituencies as dog-lovers and supporters of Our Troops.

Besides, if push came to shove, Tortorella could always bring a note from Epstein's mom, too. And what it would say is this:

Please excuse John. He had to stay home to care for his son's dog.

It got sick because it ate John's homework.

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