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Mully: Timmins athletes heading to spring games

Mully also gives a shout out to the U13 team for winning an OHF championship and uncharacteristically defends referees
Special Olympics Timmins shared this photo on Facebook of some of the swimmers in April.

So in the second round of NHL playoffs most of the big dogs have shown up to play. Unfortunately, the Oilers are missing one big dog that has them down 2-1 to the Canucks. Stu Skinner has had a rough couple of games in net and they will need him to get his "A" game back if they hope to knock off Vancouver. Either that or win games 9-7.

If you know me you know I love the agitator-type guys in hockey. They can have a profound effect on the outcome of games. But sometimes those types of players step way too far over the line.

For some time now myself (and a lot of hockey people) feel Sam Bennett crosses that line a little too much. Watch the hit on Marchand from the right angle. The hit itself is a good hockey hit. It's the arm that comes up and delivers a significant punch to Marchand's head that is inexcusable.

I listened earlier this year to a very tough, physical retired NHL defenceman who is now a TV analyst in the NHL describe the amount of times Bennett has crossed the line with questionable hits. If a guy like that feels that way there could be truth in that assessment. Bennett is a very good and talented player who can be a physical force and is a key component in Florida's success. I just wish he would tone down some of the dirty shots. As an effective player, he doesn't need to play that way. At least not in my mind.

On the subject of league discipline, I had a very interesting discussion this weekend. I ran into a friend and long-time referee when we got on the topic of officiating. He could not believe how much officials were letting go in the NHL playoffs. And this guy was no whistle-happy referee in his day. He and I both agreed that the amount of contact between players and tenders in front of the net going unpenalized is pretty unbelievable. Should that be an area of heavy physical play? Of course. And it should be but not at the expense of restricting a goalie's ability to stop a puck or get to a rebound.

We also talked about replays and video reviews. It's become a little obsessive. You know what? Officiating is a part of the game. The good and the bad. It's part of the human element that has been part of the fabric of the games forever. When you spend 15 minutes reviewing an offside, what's the point? We agreed that review should be used for goals or determining if it was a major penalty over a minor.

A lot of you are thinking, "Mike has lost his mind." "He was one of the biggest critics of referees getting it wrong." True. But I also know that officials make mistakes just like players and coaches. I can live with that.

If particular officials make mistakes repeatedly, then bring it up with the league. They can look at their own videos and determine whether this guy should be doing games or needs a refresher. Here's another thing. I think the overuse of review makes officials look bad. Some of the angles that the video shows upon review is not available to or the same as what an official saw. Part of the game, man. Can't call what you couldn't see.

We are still getting arguments about interpretation after a lot of video reviews. I listen to the whole, "we want to get it right" argument and understand that. But apparently, it is still left to interpretation and stirs debate after review anyway. Let's look to improve the game not try to get it perfect. It's not going to happen. Goals and potential match or major penalties are where the video review's place should be. Let's look to improve officiating if we want with better training.

Right about now I have friends who have passed out from the aforementioned defence of officials by of all people ... me. Deal with it boys!

With the past few week's rocky ride for me and a few missed columns, I was unable to give out congratulations to Jason Brazeau (a Majors alum) and his Timmins U13 team on winning an OHF championship. Fine job. You made us proud.

Last week while heading down south myself and a friend saw something few people have ever seen.

While driving on Highway 11 I was in an area where southbound and northbound traffic have passing lanes ending in close proximity to each other. As I was getting ready to merge (with heavy traffic) something about 30 to 40 feet in the air caught our eyes. It was to the left of our vehicle. Two juvenile eagles were fighting in mid-air to see who was going to get lunch from a road kill at the highway's edge. Both birds were entangled with each other, talons locked and wings flapping as they rapidly descended toward the ground. One eagle was hanging upside down from the other. I had to stay focused on the road as they entered the area of my peripheral vision and I was concerned they would be hit by oncoming traffic. My passenger managed to keep their eyes on the birds and let me know that they untangled and narrowly avoided the traffic headed at them. It was certainly a sight to see even if it was brief.

Sandra Furletti Blomberg sent me a little update on some athletes competing later this month.

The Special Olympics Spring Games are taking place from May 23 to May 26 in Waterloo.

Timmins athletes Chase Budd, Andre Goulet, Eric Kaija, Jacob Dallaire and Nikolas Skirtic are representing northeastern Ontario in powerlifting. They will be demonstrating incredible strength and determination as they push their limits in the squat, bench press and deadlift events.

Brock Gvozdanovic and Logan Pelletier are representing NE Ontario in swimming. They will be competing in up to four events ranging from 25-metre sprints to a challenging 1,500-metre distance.

The Timmins coaches that have been selected to attend the Spring Games are Michel Goulet (head coach - powerlifting), Susan Holopainen (powerlifting) and Deb Weedon (swimming).

Later skater.

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