Former Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon overpaid several of his old acquisitions to rejoin him in Florida this past offseason – from fan favorites like Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg to players whose departures stirred about as much interest as hockey itself does below the Mason-Dixon line, such as Tomas Kopecky and Jack Skille.
But having your names engraved on the Stanley Cup together is a strong bond, because what ensued Thursday night when the Blackhawks took ice against the Panthers was the friendliest game of hockey ever played. There were no penalties and very few hits at all until late in the second period, when Brent Seabrook tripped over an errant stick and fell into Brian Campbell. The two former teammates threw their gloves down, danced around for a few moments, eyes locked, and finally proceeded to tickle one-another.
“You don’t room with a guy for three years and not know that his weak spot is his belly,” said Brent Seabrook. “There’s another spot, too – but that one’s for the ladies.”
The “fight” ended in a heap on the ice, as most hockey fights do, except that this time several other players from both teams jumped in. Hawks forward Marion Hossa was even observed pulling the old “why do you keep hitting yourself?” gag on former linemate Tomas Kopecky.
“We weren’t quite sure how to penalize it,” said referee Rene Mitchell. “The War Room in Toronto confirmed that we don’t have the power to take away their PlayStations, so we just told the coaches on them.”
“I’ll allow it this time,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. “As long as it doesn’t happen when we play Burish. He was kind of a douche.”
By Dan Bradley