I wasn’t aware of it when it happened Friday night. The Boston Bruins and the local hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, were playing the fourth game in their best-of-seven quarterfinal playoff series to determine who moves on to the next round in the Stanley Cup. (I know the NHL has some fancy name for this round of the series – but it’s basically that, a round-of-eight series. The series before the series before the Stanley Cup series.)
With the game tied 2-2 a little more than midway through the second period, a robust hit on the boards on the upper part of the screen from the camera angle shown. This set off a normal series of skirmishes, with the common development of play having to be halted as one Bruin and one Lightning player squared off in some pushing and shoving. In one of the proceeding scrums, Brad Marchand of Boston gets in the face of Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan and licks him.
You read that right. One hockey player licked another hockey player.
Obviously, this was some rather unsportsmanlike conduct, but when you’ve seen players spit on each other, a boxer biting part of a foe’s ear off, and basketball players kicking cameramen in the groin – this is rather mild in comparison.
The Lightning wasn’t wholly fazed nor grossed out, they won the game 4-3 in overtime to take what was then a 3-1 series lead. The two squads played a fifth game yesterday, only needing one win in the next three games to take the series. They would only need one chance, as the “Bolts” won 3-1 to move to the next round of the playoffs against either Washington’s Capitals or the Penguins of Pittsburgh, winners of the last two Stanley Cups.
Going to be an exciting next few weeks around here, for sure.