The National Hockey League is filled with players who regularly represent themselves and the game of hockey with complete humility and class off the ice. On Tuesday night, the NHL also had at least two examples of class and respect on the ice.
Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf watched from the bench as Ducks teammate Logan Shaw pounded New York Ranger Derek Stepan awkardly into the boards from behind. When a scrum ensued, the seasoned veteran reached over the boards and pulled Stepan to safety.
Video: Jack Myer
Meanwhile in Detroit, Columbus Blue Jacket Scott Hartnell dinged Wings defenceman Brendan Smith with a clean, hard check, knocking him to the ground. Detroit’s Anthony Mantha wanted to do something about it. With Hartnell working his legs free after the hit and taking a few seconds to regain his surroundings, it would have been easy for Mantha to jump him and get a few easy punches in before Hartnell would have a chance to react. Instead, the big rookie nobly made eye contact, issued the challenge, and then backed off, allowing Hartnell to accept and get himself ready.
That’s a far cry from the muggings that take place almost nightly as guys “defend the honour of a teammate”, even after clean hits such as this one.
If you’re going to defend honour, do it honourably, like Mantha and Getzlaf.